Mayabazar: Behind the Scenes of a Memorable Scene
***** Reposting this 2-year old piece for more light *****
Mayabazar, the movie: No introduction needed. The color version of Mayabazar, in theaters now and you can get a lot of info on various websites. I want to do something different for TeluGlobe.
Mayabazar has so many delightful scenes we all remember. But what is the scene that sticks out the most in your memory? On the Jan 29, 2010 Mohana Murali GaanaLahari, Srinivas – a listener from Ohio – talked about Mayabazar. I asked Srinivas, “If you saw Mayabazar as a kid, what is the most memorable scene in the movie?”
Srinivas replied, “It is the vivaaha bhojanambu song, and the delightful after the song scene in which Ghatotgaja swallows a lot of laddus and other food.”
Exactly! This is my memory as a child. Like Srinivas, I fantasized sitting upright and swallowing food as it magically defied gravity and found its way into my mouth.
Do you know this scene was not in the original script of the movie?
Director K.V. Reddy changed his attitude with Mayabazar. For Paataala Bhairavi and Pedda Manushulu, he never showed rushes [raw film footage] to anyone – including the producers. He didn’t want to be bothered by unsolicited comments by people who have no idea why he filmed a particular shot or scene, nor did he like being confused by those comments.
However, while filming Mayabazar, he felt that his attitude is giving him notoriety. After nearly completing all shooting and the rough edited copy arrived, he invited producers to see the footage. Both Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani saw the footage and felt that it was good.
Four days later, producer Nagi Reddy’s uncle Ranga Reddy from Nellore paid a visit. Ranga Reddy owned Shesh Mahal and Ranga Mahal in Nellore. Accompanying Ranga Reddy was Anjaneya Reddy, the manager of those theaters. They both saw the Mayabazar rushes at Nagi Reddy’s request. They did not like the movie.
Ranga Reddy saw the 1930s Mayabazar, in which Rami Reddy acted as Ghatotgaja. Obviously, Ranga Reddy would compare both movies. “In the old movie, Ghatotgaja pulled out two palm trees. He plucked nothing in this movie! And then there are laddus. In that movie, Ghatotgaja easily swallowed heaps of laddus. In this movie, what did he eat?”
Thus, both Ranga Reddy and Anjaneya Reddy gave a failing grade to the greatest movie ever made in Telugu. Nagireddy was a bit disappointed. For, he could not take the opinion of an experienced exhibitor like Ranga Reddy lightly.
The next day in Vahini studios, Nagi Reddy asked director KV Reddy, who was a hypertension patient, “How is your health?” Nagi Reddy didn’t want to disclose his uncle’s opinion when KV Reddy’s blood pressure was high. He was concerned about KV Reddy’s reaction.
Nagi Reddy broke the news smoothly, “My uncle Ranga Reddy saw Mayabazar rushes.”
An anxious KV Reddy asked, “How did he like it, brother?”
In a dismissive voice, Nagi Reddy said, “He said something. But don’t you worry about it brother.”
KV Reddy wanted to know, “Please brother, what did he say about the movie?”
Again in a dismissive voice, Nagi Reddy quoted a maxim and said, “A lot of people say a lot of things. We shouldn’t worry about them.”
KV Reddy got even more anxious. “Tell me what he said.”
Nagi Reddy then disclosed the news. “In the old Mayabazar, apparently Ghatotgaja pulled out two palm trees and ate heaps and heaps of laddus. Don’t bother about these comments.”
KV Reddy was silent for a couple of minutes. “Picture is not yet complete. Let us do the same – let him pluck a few trees. It is not difficult for me. I will pluck them too. Even laddus. We will make him eat as many laddus as we can. It is not difficult for me. We will make laddus and let the cameraman (Marcus) Bartley worry about it. Trick work. He (Bartley) will take care of it. I don’t even have to supervise him.”
“Brother, don’t you worry about what they said. You do what you think is necessary for the movie.” One more time Nagi Reddy expressed his vote of confidence in KV Reddy.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Another tidbit: It was KV Reddy’s habit to call everybody “brother.” NTR picked it from KV Reddy.
[This article is based on a chapter in the book: Thera Venuka Kathalu, by Sri DV Narasa Raju.]