Telugu Film History – Filmfare August 23, 1963

A kind reader with excellent research skills sent these photographs of a Filmfare article from 1963. If you click on the pictures below you should be able to see the full sized version and zoom in to read about the early years of this wonderful industry. If you’re observant you will spot a hand that may belong to our film historian/spy. The story starts in 1931 with ‘Bhakta Prahlada’, made by H.M Reddi and a troupe of Telugu stage artists who travelled to Bombay as there were no studios in the South. It also covers Vauhini Pictures and Vijaya Productions who made classics including Mayabazar and Missamma and provides some detail of the classical and mythological inspiration behind many successful films. I loved reading about the early cinemas and the ingenuity of film makers in an era before fancy technology. If you still need persuasion to see some vintage Telugu cinema, this may do the trick: “Telugu film has not only emerged as a powerful medium of entertainment and instruction, but has also scaled new heights of artistic and technical excellence.” Or you can just enjoy some lovely stills of favourites NTR, Savitri, ANR, Jamuna, SV Ranga Rao and L Vijayalakshmi, among others.

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Thank you anonymous benefactor!

18 thoughts on “Telugu Film History – Filmfare August 23, 1963

  1. LOL, no reaction to the multiple stills from the much reviled (by you, not me!) Gundamma Katha?

    In any case, this article was written during the “golden period” of Telugu films, which lasted until the 1970’s, and declined from there.

    I know if you make the images bigger you can see the captions for the stills, and thus know which films they are from. They are all excellent films.


    • Not all old is gold mm 🙂 Some films just don’t age well, and that goes for Hollywood and every other industry too. But there are so many listed in this article, I’m sure people could find lots of inspiration. Cheers, Temple


      • I wasn’t assuming that all old is gold, just that the films mentioned here in the stills are all ones that I have seen and found to be excellent. YMMV.


  2. This is great, and I’m going to read it all at another time, when it isn’t 2 hours past my bedtime. When I was looking at the captions, it took me a minute to figure out that “Rama Rao” and “Nageswara Rao” names were referring to NTR and ANR.

    I’m guessing that the author, a “VVSR Hanumantha Rao” probably had a better sense of how to shorten Telugu names, but the caption writer probably didn’t.


    • NTR = Nanadamuri Taraka Rama Rao, commonly known as “Rama Rao” during his career

      ANR = Akkineni Nageswara Rao, again known as Nageswara Rao during his career and now

      The “NTR” and “ANR” are a much more recent phenomena. ANR, especially, wasn’t used at all except to compare “NTR” and “ANR”, where it made for a nice symmetry. Since the article was written in 1963, it is perfectly correct to use the names of the actors, since that’s how they were, in fact, known to audiences.


  3. I recognize
    Maya bazaar (currently indoctrinating my 2yr old with color version :D)
    Missamma (one of my fav scenes)
    Pelli chesi chodu?
    Jagadeka veeruni katha (2, first one “jalakaalatalo..” song)
    Raktha sambandam
    Gundamma katha

    I would call them ‘classic’ except for ‘Raktha sambandam’. Never liked all that weeping and sorrow. Same goes for ‘Eka veera’ (not shown there) considered ‘classic’.


    • I totally approve of the colour version of Mayabazar and think it is an excellent indoctrination tool 🙂 I have only been able to find Missamma without subtitles, but really enjoyed it. Cheers, Temple


    • Aww, what do you dislike about Eka Veera? It *is* a classic. It even flopped at the box office — what more proof do you need? 🙂 But seriously, it is based on a classic novel by an extremely respected writer, a winner of the Jnanapeeth award (highest literary award in India), its dialogues and songs were written by another highly respected poet who went on to win the Jnanapeeth award some years later. In fact that was its downfall — people said it was too “literary”, and the story, while an intense “love quadrangle” doesn’t have the kind of ending that people are used to in films. I like it because of the “literary” dialogues, the acting, and the beautiful lyrics to the songs, and the beautiful music. Obviously, YMMV.


      • I am not disputing the ‘classic’ status of Eka Veera :). It has some finer feelings and great songs. Just my preference not see that much sorrow and that kind of emotion on-screen. There is enough of it in real life IMO.
        I am mostly fluff fan.


  4. Wowww.. the only word I can say about this article….cos as an Indian Film admirer and especially Telugu movies fan I couldnt get all these info….kudos to Temple…


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