I was always fascinated by history. Apart from giving insights into our heritage and the key reasons for the rise and fall of all those great empires and kings – lessons that can be applied to our benefit now – history helped my imagination run wild. In my childhood I used to try imagining the lifestyle, the dressing style and the pattern of human emotions at various points in time, going back to vedic times. For example, I tried to imagine what my great-great-grand-father was doing in mid-19th century, and what his reaction might have been to the major national and local events in his time. Of course, I could not figure out what his reaction was to, say, Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 J But the very mental exercise used to give me a high JJ
Given that the human civilization is changing at very fast pace in the past few decades – even India’s maiden cricket world cup triumph n 1983 is a major historical event now – history lovers like me have a lot to ponder over. The most routine study in history for most of us now is wondering at how the cities and towns are changing, more so in post-liberalization India. For example, one of the most common remarks heard in Hyderabad these days is how Kukatpally, Miyapur, Madhapur, and Gachibowli areas have developed into major residential and commercial hubs in a matter of 4-5 years. That’s what people of my generation talk about, whereas my father can’t stop wondering about how desolate the areas beyond Panjagutta (i.e. Ameerpet, Srinagar Colony, etc.) used to be even in 1980’s.
Carrying on in the same vein, I get nostalgic when I see movies of 1970’s and 1980’s shot in the cities/towns that I am associated with. In the past 2-3 days I watched a few Telugu movies that took me back to my memories of Vizag, Vijayawada and Amaravathi in those good old days – which is not too far, considering that I am only in mid-30’s J
The first movie was Rendu Jella Seetha, directed by Jandhyala in early 1980’s. It was shot almost entirely in an old bungalow on Vizag beach road. You can recognize some of the buildings on the beach road, incl. this bungalow, that have withstood the onslaught of apartment clusters on beach road. And, it makes you feel sorry for the buildings and trees, some of them 100+ years old, that have bitten dust. I get the same feeling when I watch Chantabbai or Babai-Abbai or scores of other movies that were shot at Vizag in early 1980’s, after K.Balachander popularized Vizag as a beautiful location for movie making.
The next film was Appula Apparao directed by EVV in early 1990’s. The movie was shot in Vijayawada, a city I used to visit regularly to meet my class mates from REC, Warangal. Vijayawada formed the back drop of a handful of movies in 80’s and 90’s, but was lying low since then, till it was showcased again this year in Krishna-the power of Indrakeeladri featuring Raviteja. This movie earned accolades, of course from Vijayawada folks, for capturing some of the beautiful locales in Vijayawada. But after the repeat watch of Appula Apparao recently, I could n’t help but appreciate director EVV for showcasing many hitherto unknown – some beautiful, some weird – locations of Vijayawada.
The crown jewel for me was Sapthapadi, directed by K.Viswanath in early 1980’s. Strangely enough, I watched this film for the first time last evening. Apart from a great theme and mind-blowing songs, I was mesmerized by the way Amaravathi was depicted in this film as a quintessential coastal village. Many of the songs captured the beauties of a village such as the early morning dips in river Krishna, cows grazing in the fields, temple on a hillock, and the famous Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple and the pushkar ghat next to it. Amaravathi was featured in many other Telugu films such as Shankarabharanam, Develayam, etc., but Sapthapadi should take the cake for showcasing it so beautifully.
Talking of Telugu movies and Andhra cities/towns, other than Hyderabad, Tirupathi is another town that featured in many films, that showcased the Seshachalam hill range.
Picture Courtesy: travel.sunyaprajna.com/India/