classic movies

National film archive adds Telugu classics ‘Patala Bhairavi’, ‘Shavukaru’ to its treasure chest

Twenty-three Telugu films have been donated to the archive for preservation and possible restoration.

The National Film Archive of India has added 23 Telugu classics to its collection. The films include LV Prasad’s Shavukaru (1950), Pelli Chesi Choodu (1952) and Missamma (1955) as well as Vijaya Vauhini Studios productions Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Maya Bazar (1957) and Satya Harishchandra (1965).

In a press note, NFAI director Prakash Magdum said, “On the occasion of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, I appeal to film lovers to come forward and donate any rare and old film footage and non-filmic items like wall posters, still photographs and song booklets, so that it can be preserved for future generations”.

The Telugu films follow the recent acquisition of Bilwamangal. Made in 1919, Bilwamangal is the second oldest title in the NFAI’s vault after DG Phalke’s silent movie Raja Harishchandra (1917). Apart from fragmented bits of silent films such as Raja Harishchandra and Kaliya Mardan (1919), the archive in Pune also boasts of the complete version of The Light of Asia (1925) and Shiraz (1929).

Among the Telugu titles is Kadiri Venkata Reddy’s Pathala Bhairavi (1951), starring Telugu superstar NT Rama Rao. The fantasy adventure features kings and queens, the hunt for a wish-fulfilling statue, sorcery, and a soundtrack by renowned music composer Ghantasala.

‘Pathala Bhairavi’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.
‘Pathala Bhairavi’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.

LV Prasad’s family drama Shavukaru stars NTR and Sowcar Janaki as star-crossed lovers who unite after overcoming familial opposition.

‘Shavukaru’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.
‘Shavukaru’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.

Rao’s Chandraharam (1954), starring NTR and Sriranjani, is a fantasy adventure about a king’s efforts to find the woman of his dreams.

‘Chandraharam’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.
‘Chandraharam’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.

Kamalakara Kameswara Rao’s Gundamma Katha (1962) is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and stars NTR and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Savitri and Jamuna.

‘Gundamma Katha’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.
‘Gundamma Katha’. Courtesy National Film Archive of India.
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