Maya Bazaar (1957)
Maya Bazaar is an all time favourite. Generations of movie goers loved it. S.V. Ranga Rao gobbling the laddoos around the sequence ' Kalayana Samayal Sadham ' continues to get rave reviews. Maya Bazaar literally translates into ' Market of Illusions ' and this super-duper hit was produced by B. Nagi Reddy and Aluri Chakrapani under their banner Vijaya Vauhini Studios. The movie was directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy and was simultaneously shot in Tamil and Telugu. The movie had cost a few lakhs of Rupees and hundreds of people had worked on the sets those days.
The hit was an adaptation of the folk tale Sasirekha Parinayam. It is basically a story from the Mahabharata. This story moves around Ghatotkacha ( Ranga Rao ) and Krishna ( N.T.Rama Rao ). NTR became famous as Lord Krishna due to his role in the film. The lead characters unite Abhimanyu ( son of Arjuna & Subadhra ) with Sasirkha ( Vatsala in Tamil ) who happens to be the daughter of Balarama and Revathi.
Revathi wants her daughter to marry Lakshmana Kumara, the son of Duryodhana. The Pandavas had lost their kindgom in the game of dice through Shakuni to the Kauravas. Therefore Revathi feels that her daughter should marry the Kaurava Prince. Meanwhile Vatsala (Savithri has done this role in the movie) likes Abhimanyu (Gemini Ganesan does it in Tamil and Nageswara Rao is cast in the Telugu version). Ghatotkacha (Ranga Rao) replaces Vatsala at Dwaraka and it results in a lot of fun. Eventually Abhimanyu and Vatsala get married to each other. This story occurs before the great Kurukshethra war. Duryodhana and Shakuni try to use this occasion to wean away the powerful Yadavas under Balarama to their side. However their plot fails. The real intentions come out when Satyaki places Shakuni on a pedestal which will ensure that one does not lie.
Ghatotkacha and his assistants Chinnamaya, Lambu, Jambhu create havoc. The movie is thoroughly enjoyable. Thangavelu does a marvelous job as Lakshmana Kumara and it is absolutely hilarious. Sandhya , the mother of J. Jayalalithaa comes as Rukmini. Venkata Reddy had written and directed the movie and was assisted by Singeetam Srinivasa rao. A year was spent on the pre production and the cast. Ghantasala composed the film's score and Marcus Bartley was the cinematographer. Kumari Sachu played the role as junior Vatsala. About 400 members of the crew including light men, carpenters , painters worked on the movie sets. They created 300 miniature houses in an area which was just 50 by 60 feet. They took four days to do the laddoo gobbling scene by Ghatotkacha (S. V. Ranga Rao). The movie had 12 songs (Telugu - Pingali Nagendra Rao & Tamil Thanjai N. Ramiah). Editing was done by C. P. Jambulingam and G. Kalyanasundaram. The Telugu and Tamil versions were released in 1957. The 19318 long film was a commercial success. It had a run of 100 days in 24 theatres and went on to be a silver jubilee film. 40,000 colour calendars of N. T. Rama Rao as Lord Krishna were distributed after the release to the public.
Maya Bazaar was colourised by a team of 165 people over 8 months. Mohan used the best available technology to do so. The song ' Aha Inbha Nilavinile ' was a big hit. The boat rowing scene became memorable. A full reception township was established in order to welcome the Kauravas. M. N. Nambiar donned the mantle as Shakuni quite well. Nageswara Rao described S. V. Ranga Rao as the lead actor in his interviews to Telugu magazines. The real world couple Gemini Ganesan and Savithri played the reel world roles as Abhimanyu and Vatsala. Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima and Hidimbi gets Abhimanyu married to Vatsala and it is Subhamangalam.
Maya Bazaar was 184 minutes in Telugu and 10 minutes shorter in Tamil. The portrayal of N. T. Rama Rao as Lord Krishna won him acclaim. NTR had been reluctant to play the role as Lord Krishna.The song by Savithri in the palace is fantabulous (Dum Dum en Kalyanamam). S. Rajeswara Rao had composed four songs prior to his leaving the project. Maya Bazaar was considered to be a landmark movie despite the limitations in terms of technology prevalent those days. However , one has to remember that Vijaya Vauhini Productions was always known for its meticulousness and grandeur.
Movies based of mythology add to the cultural heritage of the country and its people. Maya Bazaar had done that in the right spirit. It was a welcome formula. The song 'Kalayana Samayal Sadham' continues to enthrall generations of people. What a lovely movie!
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