Posted by harino1 on May 31, 2008
Director Raghavendra Rao, who is known for bringing out excellent commercial films, changed his way and started bringing out devotional and periodical films. His films like ‘Manjunatha’, ‘Annamayya’ and ‘Sri Ramadasu’ were proved runaway hits.
The audiences had kept lot of expectations on ‘Pandurangadu’ coming from the same director in the same technical combination. However, this time, Raghavendra Rao chose Balakrishna as hero for the film, which was prepared with an inspiration from the earlier classic ‘Panduranga Mahatmyam’. However, the film could not stand on par with the earlier classic and remained just an okay film.
Pundareeka (Balakrishna) comes from a family full of Lord Krishna devotees. But he grows up as a wayward and irresponsible youth, who whiles away his time by enjoying the girls. Being handsome, all the girls are naturally after him. Lakshmi (Sneha) is an orphan and was brought up by a priest (Balayya). Being from an orthodox family, Lakshmi also preaches Lord Krishna. Pundareeka gets fascinated to a prostitute called Amritha (Tabu) and keeps spending nights with her always. Once, Lord Krishna appears in a dream to Lakshmi and tells her that Pundareeka would be her husband. Lakshmi impresses the entire family of Pundareeka, but fails to win his heart.
After a few days, with the intervention of Lord Krishna, she could manage to marry Pundareeka. But, he disappoints Lakshmi and goes to Amritha even after tying the nuptial knot. Again, it was Lord Krishna who comes to Lakshmi’s rescue and unites Pundareeka with Lakshmi. When they were leading a joyous life, Amritha’s mother (Y Vijaya) hatches a plan and swindles his entire property. Due to the impact of medication by Amritha’s mother, Pundareeka throws out the entire family out of house, while he too gets vacated by the former. Did Pundareeka realise his mistake? Did he meet his parents again? What happened to the marital life of Pundareeka? Did Lord Krishna gives salvation to Pundareeka? Answers to all these questions form part of the climax.
Balakrishna was at his best as far as performance. However, he could not appear young and the close up shots picturised on him showed that he was quite older. More so, he played dual roles in the film, not only as the devotee Pundareeka, but also as Lord Krishna. The second role was not etched properly by the director.
Tabu was romantic in all the scenes and she appeared half-naked in almost all the scenes without saree or half-saree. But the audiences had to understand that she needed to remain like that because her character in the film was a prostitute.
Sneha continued her family girl image again in this movie.
The director did not leave her too and projected her in a romantic way in one of the songs. Viswanath, Balayya, Prasadbabu, Sivaparvati and Sana did justice to their respective roles.
Comedy track picturised on Sunil, Brahmanandam failed to click in any manner.
Mohanbabu made a special appearance in the film and appears only in two scenes. He proved that he was the best and right choice for the character.
Behind the screen, writer JK Bharavi did complete injustice to the subject. He spoiled the entire spirit of the film which is devotional in nature. Instead of filling devotion, most part of the film was devoted to romance and romantic scenes. The dialogues in the film was also not properly written. They were neither colloquial (vaaduka bhasha) nor literary (grandhika bhasha). Use of words like ‘anta sannivesam ledu’ in dialogues, ‘willu’ (a Telugised English word for ‘will’) in songs spoiled the spirit of the film.
Camera work by Jayaram is just okay, while editing by Srikara Prasad is fine.
Music by MM Keeravani is worth listening.
Screenplay by seasoned director like Raghavendra failed to maintain the tempo. The director rendered the entire episode with Lord Krishna and his eight wives in a dramatised version and the audiences would get a feel of watching a stage play and not as a regular film.
As a whole the film was very poorly narrated with a changed version of the entire story. In the original, the hero renders the all-time favourite song ‘Hey Krishna Mukunda Murari’ like a lullaby to his father, in this film it was used in another situation. The prolonged climax, after the death of heroine also tested the patience of audiences. LB Sriram as Narada was horrendous and he failed to please any section of audiences. But for a 20-minute film (30 minutes after the interval and 30 minutes before the climax), the entire film was boring. Especially, the glow in the face of the hero (of the late NT Rama Rao in Panduranga Mahatmyam) was completely missing in this hero (of Pandurangadu)
Cast: Balakrishna, Sneha, Tabu, K Viswanath, Mohanbabu (special appearance), Balayya, Prasad Babu, Sameer, Sunil, Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam, Ali, Anant, LB Sriram, Jr Relangi, Brahmanandam, Jenny, Siva Parvati, Sana, Archana (Veda), Suhasini, Meghana Naidu, Y Vijaya, Apoorva, Sireesha, Bhargavi, Neethu, Baby Kavya and others
Credits: Story and dialogues – JK Bharavi, Camera – Jayaram, Editing – Srikara Prasad, Music – MM Keevarani, Producer – K Krishnamohana Rao, Screenplay and direction – K Raghavendra Rao.