40 years later, while portions of #shankarabharanam may seem melodramatic, what can't be denied is its director K Vishwanath's cinematic genius and the music. Telugu cinema was giving way to mayhem and mindless when this simple tale about classical music teacher who's seeped into his music and considered rigid by those around him struck a chord with moviegoers. #ManjuBhargavi plays the dancer coming from a family of ill repute. She is devoted to his music but stays away from him all her life. Instead sends her son to become his pupil and imbibe everything classical. The moving climax has the ailing shankar Shastri giving his last performance and passing on the baton to his young pupil.
The musical score by KV Mahadevan has amazing gems like #omkaranadanu #samajavaragamana #manasasanchare sung by singers like the redoubtable SP Balasubramniam, S Janaki, Vani Jayram
Released in just one theatre in hyderabad, #shankarabharanam opened to empty houses. But picked up through word of mouth and ran straight for a year. It was later dubbed in Malayalam.
The acting by the lead JV Somayajulu is top class and features one of the finest performance by a lead actor in the history of Indian cinema. The big built Manju Bhargavi is terrific too. Shekhar Kapoor had once told me it was among his top 10 Indian films.
Superbly effective is the scene where the musicians daughter on the day her prospective suitor and his family come to see her sings a song. She sings a note wrong and is reprimanded by her father in front of the guests.
Also the clash of mindless western culture and pure tradition is exemplified in the #brochevarevarura song.
When the director attempted the same film In Hindi as #sursangam, with girish Karnad and Jaya pradha it was huge bomb. Sur sangam had some lovely music by LP but not a patch on the purity of the original’s music.
If you are patient and can sit through some of the mawkishness, #shankarabharanam is a truly beautiful and rewarding experience. As is Balu mahendra's cinematography. #retrorocks #movieswelove #shankarabharanam #kvishwanath #kvmahadevan