Mayabazar Review – The Magic Endures

(by SI blog reader Asha Tampa)

It is amazing how, after a period of more than 50 years a movie can continue to enthrall audiences of all ages – perhaps now more so than ever, considering it’s just been released in color.

Having seen Mayabazar umpteen times since my childhood, it was pure pleasure to watch it on the big screen with more life thrown into the characters, if it was possible.

Of course, they could’ve done well without all the make-up that was glaringly obvious in the color version – I liked Ghatotkacha better without lipstick on, and when Lord Krishna was not painted blue.

Larger-than-Life Acting

Perhaps the success of the movie must fully be attributed to the larger-than-life acting; each and every one of the actors is par excellence. Relangi as Lakshmana Kumara demands special mention – his immortal role induces laughter in every frame he is in – whether it’s primping before his mirror, acting the spoilt brat, or singing for the pseudo-Sasirekha.

I watched this movie last night, and I am still humming – Aaha na pelli anta, Vivaha bhojanambu, Neevena nanu pilichinadi, Sundari oho sundari are my favorites from the plethora of songs.

Ghatotkacha’s magical powers induced scenes are also a treat to watch; unlike really crude graphics and primitive special effects that we see in other movies of that age, the cinematic effects look completely natural.

To sum it up, the movie is based on a fictional story famously known to the Telugu population as Sasirekha Parinayam.

Sasirekha is the daughter of Baladeva, elder brother of Lord Krishna; she has been promised in marriage to Abhimanyu, Subhadra’s son even when they were both kids.

In a spurt of generousness Baladeva agrees to get her married off to Duryodhana’s son, Lakshmana Kumara. Enter Ghatotkacha, Bhima’s son, who has been assigned the job of getting the right people married to the right people.

What follows is pure chaos, reminiscent of a Wodehouse tale.

SV Ranga Rao, NTR, Gummadi, Savitri, Akkineni, Ramana Reddy, Chhaya Devi, Suryakantham – it is as if the crème de la crème of the Telugu film industry came together to make this movie, hell bent on creating a masterpiece.

And create it, they did.

10 Responses to "Mayabazar Review – The Magic Endures"

  1. vjcool   February 9, 2010 at 4:22 am

    I rented ‘Mayabazaar’ a few years back, for nostalgia and to watch kalyana samayal sadham. The Special effects did surprise me.. it was really good. and so was the acting. It was in B/W. I don’t know why we expect bad effects in B/W movies.. they were good (still we expect bad effects and get pleasantly surprised!) the 80s effects were bad.. now its uber bad with heroes having hands like Kali, or getting split up into dashavatars to hit a guy..

    back to BW movies.. I enjoyed “1000 talai vangiya apoorva sintamani”.. watched it with my grandma.. 20 yrs back.. and was quite surprised by the effects and story telling. The film was too old to be any good..but like many old things it was a sincere effort at something new.

    Recently I saw ‘Maltese Falcon’ , didn’t know anything about it except it was a must see and ‘Bogart’ was in the film. was I surprised.. I was expecting to see a movie so slow and beautifully B/W and full of dialogues that it had a zen quality to it.. weren’t films made in 1941 supposed to be like that .. Yes they were and I did get a lot of dialogues.. but it was a fast paced action thriller.. that only had dialogues and a few sets. ‘It’s the stuff dreams are made of’

    Think I’ll catch ‘Casablanca’ on TV sometime.. they are running it this month on ‘world movies’.. missed it like 4 times last week. Responds:

    You write above: Think I’ll catch ‘Casablanca’ on TV sometime.. they are running it this month on ‘world movies’.. missed it like 4 times last

    You must remember this
    A kiss is just a kiss
    A sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply
    As time goes by
    And when two lovers woo
    They still say, “I love you”

  2. joeantony   February 9, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Have watched the tamil version, ‘Kalyaana Samayal Saatham ….’ wow.. when you watch this song you can smell the dishes. There are very few movies which tie you down to the screen, this is one of them. Responds:

    We’ve watched the Tamil version too but can barely remember the details except the song you referred to above.

  3. Twig   February 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Maya Bazaar is a Masterpiece indeed.

    There is no other movie in Telugu which could come close to this movie.

    OTOH, seeing this movie always depresses me. When in 1950’s Telugus made such awesome movies with excellent acting, story writing, charming actresses – what happened to them now, I don’t understand. May be they were eating from behind those days 😉

    Few people like Vishwanath with his movies such as fantabulous Shankarabharanam tried to set the standard but seeing the recent movies in Telugu one would doubt whether the Telugus have literally gone mad these days.

    At least Tamizhs, though they make horrendous, unbearable movies most of the time, one can see experimentation going on with rural, neo-realistic themes. Responds:

    You write: When in 1950’s Telugus made such awesome movies with excellent acting, story writing, charming actresses – what happened to them now, I don’t understand. May be they were eating from behind those days

    The above is the hands-down winner of the Comment of the Day award. 😉

    The few Telugu movies we’ve seen are hideous, make the crappy Tamil movies look like classics.

  4. ravihyd84   February 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Your all time favorite Telugu star and movie (for bashing) 😉 Responds:

    Just read the piece in your link.

    Ha ha ha.

    We don’t believe a single word of it.

  5. boopalanj   February 10, 2010 at 7:27 am

    seems SI started outsourcing these days! Responds:

    In both cases, the initiative came from readers and given our inordinate ‘love’ for our readers we consented.

    Convincing reason? No?

    OK, how about this one? 😉

    Seriously, it was the snowstorm that made roads impassable and the ban on driving except for emergency and rescue personnel (no kidding) vis-a-vis Asal. As for Mayabazar, Asha had asked us about 10 months back if she could write here.

    BTW, Tamil Padam had not released in the U.S. when the review was done here.

  6. Aswin_Kini   February 10, 2010 at 9:36 am

    SV Ranga Rao was one of my favorite actors in Tollywood, even though he did much earlier before I was born.
    I grew up watching old Telugu movies with my mom (My birthplace happens to be Andhra Pradesh). Incidentally, the Kalyana Samayal Satham (Tamil version of the song Vivaha Bojanam) is one of my most favorite songs.

    When it comes to good acting, SV Ranga Rao was one of the very best in India. The other great actors, I loved in Telugu were Somayajalu (In Sankarabharanam) and Raghuvaran (As villain in the film SHIVA). Responds:

    You write above: The other great actors, I loved in Telugu were Somayajalu…..and Raghuvaran….

    What about the Marlon Brandos of Tollywood Allu Arjun and Nagarjuna 😉

    Sankarabharanam is on our list…will watch it soon. We like song Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi….

    • sganeshkumar1989   March 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

      Waiting for Sankarabharanam’s review from you. 😉 Responds:

      Will get to it one of these days. We promise. 🙂

  7. Asha Tampa   February 11, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Yeah, you could say it was a dream come true 😉

    However, I guess the review lacks your usual flair; I was nervous when writing it 😐 Responds:

    It was fine. Thanks.

    BTW, there were some comments to the Mayabazar Review. Have you seen them? You can respond to them wherever necessary.

  8. joeantony   February 11, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Off topic : Is ‘Tamil Padam’ movie released there? Its a spoof of all ‘formula’ tamil movies, people go bananas here, I bet you will love it. Responds:

    Tamil Padam has released in some parts of the U.S. but not in the main NJ area.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login