Annamayya (Excellent Quality)
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Annamayya (Excellent Quality)
Annamayya (Excellent Quality)
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Starring: Nagarjuna, Mohan Babu, Ramya Krishna, Kasturi
Annamayya DVD Features: Dolby® Digital(2-channel), Subtitles, Non-Anamorphic Format
Director: K Raghavendra Rao
Producer: V. Doraswamy Raju
Music Director: Keeravani

Whenever the earth is permeated with sins, Lord Vishnu takes it upon Himself to cleanse it by some means - the stick and carrot policy of punishment or appeasement. This time He chose to win over people through Bhakti and music. He sends His sword (Nandaka) into the womb of the childless Akkamamba, who has been imploring Lord Venkateswara to bless her with children.

Thus born Annamayya, with his photographic memory, masters the Vedas at a very tender age and spends time playfully with his two beautiful cousins (Ramya Krishna and Kasturi). Lord Vishnu comes in the guise of a sanyasi (mendicant) to divert him to spiritualism to fulfill the purpose for which he was born. Telling Annamayya that he will show him more beautiful things than he has ever seen before, the sanyasi takes him to a temple and shows him the idol of Chennakesavaswamy. Instantly charmed by the divine beauty of the idol, Annamayya forgets himself and is transfixed. His parents, in their effort to get him back to his normal life, send him to cut grass. On the way, he meets a group of devotees going to Tirumala and goes along with them. He remains there, writing and singing praises of Lord Venkateswara.

Not knowing his whereabouts, his parents are in deep grief. Lord Vishnu comes in the guise of a Koya (tribal) and tells them that he is in Tirumala. Joyous at the news, they go there with Ramya Krishna and Kasturi and press him to marry them. Annamayya refuses to get pulled back into mundane world by marital strings. Again, Lord Vishnu comes down in the disguise of a Brahmin and convinces him saying that even the Lord whom he is worshipping has two wives. With such a strong case, Annamayya has no choice but to marry both his cousins and continues to serve God.

One day, Saluva Narasimha Raya, the ruler of Penugonda, comes to Tirumala to worship Lord Venkateswara. Enchanted by Annamayya's devotional keertanas (poems), the king invites him to his court. Though he is unwilling to go to Penugonda, his wives persuade him saying that his songs could become more popular under the king's patronage.

After a year of uneventful stay in the king's court, matters take a bad turn with Annamayya refusing the king's bidding to sing in praise of his queen. Angered by his refusal, the king gets him chained and lashed. Suddenly fire breaks out and the chains melt away, when Annamayya sings a deeply devotional song on Narasimhaswamy, the fiery lion-god (yet another incarnation of Vishnu). Shaken by the turn of events, the king begs him for pardon. Annamayya's wives take the blame upon themselves, since he had come there at their insistance. They give away all their belongings gifted by the king to the poor and end their lives, singing praises of Lord Venkateswara.

Annamayya wanders about places singing ballads and stimulating devotion in the people. Inspired by the songs, even untouchables demand entry into temples. Blaming Annamayya and his songs for all the problems, the brahmins burn the palm leaves containing his songs.

Frustrated and dejected at the sight of his life-time works being consigned to flames, Annamayya too jumps into them. Appreciating his selflessness and single minded devotion, Lord Venkateswara quells the flames. With this, the king and the people realise the depth of his devotion. Desirous of etching a permanent place for Annamayya's keerthanas, the king gets them all engraved on copper plates. Annamayya consecrates them to his beloved deity, Lord Venkateswara and enters the sanctum sanctorum to become one with Him. Accompanied by His two consorts, God appears and requests him to continue his mission of enthralling people with his devotional songs for some more time. But Annamayya refuses to concede and God takes him into Himself.

The movie, supposed to be the life history of the universally acclaimed lyricist, Tallapaka Annamacharya, is more a flight of fantasy of the director, Raghavendra Rao. Looking at it from the point of view of history, one comes across many an anachronism.

Noticing that there is no one to eugolise Lord Venkateswara, on wife Padmavati Devi's request, the Lord uses His sword to cause Annamayya's birth! Not stopping at that, He comes down to earth on and off to guide him and his parents - is yet another fallacy promoted in the movie.

According to his life history, Annamayya visited Tirupati at the age of 8 and became the Lord's devotee. In the life history written by Annamacharya's grandson, he was referred to as `sisuvu'(child). Later he acquires the knowledge of the scriptures, and the erudite Annamayya pens 32,000 lyrics praising the Lord. Annamayya wrote the lyrics and rendered them poetically. The musical composition of his lyrics is a later day development of this Century.

Another point of anachronism is the mustache sported by Annamayya in the movie. According to history, Annamayya's ancestors were Shaivites or followers of Lord Shiva. Annamayya became a Vaishnavite, follower of Lord Vishnu, later in life. This sect do not wear mustache. He has been initiated into it by a guru. The picturisation of this event was done with ill taste in the movie. Lord Vishnu in pink make up is a major blunder in the movie apart from the picturisation of the romance between the Lord and the Deveri which is more of a cinematic indulgence.

That the movie is made for the masses rather than for its historical authenticity is obvious. The movie is full of cinematic gimmicks - Lord Himself singing Annamayya's songs and asking Annamayya to sing - which are very appealing to viewers. So is Annamayya's romance with Ramya and Kasturi, which is introduced to attract the audience. By portraying a saintly character with cheap romantic dialogues and scenes, the movie makers hurt many a true devotee of Annamacharya.

Historically known to be a dignified king, Saluva Narasimha Raya's character in the movie is watered down to one of flippancy.

Many who attribute Nagarjuna's popularity to his dancing prowess and consider him better suited to lighter roles, may have to change their view. The movie proves Nagarjuna as an actor par excellence. Suman as Lord Venkateswara and Bhanupriya as Padmavati have proved their talents once again.

Though many of those who know Annamayya's life history criticise the historical discripancies in the movie, by and large, the picture is being very well received.


Annamayya DVD Soundtrack
  • Nigama Nigamantara
  • Adivo Alladivo
  • Antaryami Alasiti
  • Asmadiya Magatini
  • Bramha Kadigina
  • Ele Ele Maradhala
  • Govindashrita
  • Jagadapu
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