Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (No Subtitles)
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Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (No Subtitles)
Sri Venkateswara Mahatyam (No Subtitles)
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Cast: NT Rama Rao, Savitri, S Vara Lakshmi, Gummadi venkateswara Rao, Chittoor Nagaiah, Shantakumari, Suribabu, S Janaki, Sandhya, Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, Rajanala Nageswara Rao & Relangi Venkatramaiah
Subtitles: NOT Avaialble
Banner: Padmasri Pictures
Music: Pendyala Nageswara Rao
Screenplay - direction: P Pullaiah


Pullaiah's remake of his 1939 biographical of the Tirupathi temple deity is a milestone in NTR's acting career. Balaji (NTR) descends to earth following a celestial problem caused by Narada. On earth, as a common man who is nevertheless recognized by all the 'good folk' as the god, he falls for Padmavathi (Savitri). In the end, as two earthly women, the 'heavenly' Lakshmi and Padmavathy, battle over him, he turns into a statue. The film then turns into a documentary on the Tirupathy temple, before the populist ending restores the god to his true devotees as against the Brahmin clergy.

In spite of the shift from celestial grandeur to semi documentary earthliness, the film seeks to induce a childish religiosity, e.g. in the sequence where Balaji is fed milk by a cow, the udder and his mouth being framed, in close up, by a rock.

The film's marketing suggested that viewing the film was a substitute for visiting India's richest shrine, and papier mache replicas of the icon were placed outside the movie theaters soliciting donations in the name of god. Apparently the temple authorities later sued the film's producer.

According to Rama Rao's biographer S Venkatnarayan (1983), the star's politicizations stems from the period when thousands of pilgrims from Tirupathi also visited his Madras house. NTR later produced and directed another Venkateswara version, Sri Tirupathi Venkateswara Kalyaam (1979).

 

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