The term Rayalaseema evokes vivid imagery in the eyes of the viewer; one of blood-thirsty men clad in white on the lookout for revenge. Telugu films too have aided such visuals, until recently when newer aspects of the region began to appear on screen. With Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava still running in theatres, here are a few films that explored new topics in its portrayal of Rayalaseema.
Krishna Vamsi tells us the story of Bhanumathi (Soundarya), a single mother who gets trapped with her in-laws after her husband’s death. The feminist tale talks about her survival in a place that’s steeped in toxic masculinity and misogyny. Jagapathi Babu’s role of a petty thief remains one his career best. The film also deserves to be remembered for its take on women empowerment and the importance of living independently.
Preminchukundam Raa (1997)
This superhit, starring Venkatesh and Anjala Jhaveri, is one of those rare love stories to be set in the backdrop of Rayalaseema. The film’s a treat for its beautiful picturisation of Kurnool, aided by great songs. It also brought a lot of fame to Jayaprakash Reddy for his trademark Rayalaseema diction.
Rayalaseema Ramanna Chowdary (2000)
Though it might not look like an obvious choice in such a list, the entertainer is interesting in the manner in which it dealt with the idea of atheism. The title role played by Mohan Babu, questions the existence of God, and is the perfect counter to Napolean, who plays a fierce aghora. The debate between Mohan Babu and Chandramohan continues to be discussed.
Mahesh Babu reinvented himself as the cool young hero of Hyderabad with this blockbuster. It’s where the urban hero takes on Obul Reddy (Prakash Raj) who hails from Kurnool in Rayalaseema. It showed the vulnerabilities of people from the region, highlighting what they lose in their fights for power. Mani Sharma’s refreshing background score and Gunasekhar’s slick direction gave violence a new dimension.
Maryada Ramanna (2010)
A timid and comical protagonist (played by Sunil) is hardly the staple of Rayalaseema films. What if we take such a character and trap him inside a Rayalaseema house and a family that’s obsessed with hospitality? That’s what SS Rajamouli’s Maryada Ramanna’s all about. The film showcases the warmth and friendliness of the people, while comically showing us the thin line that separates them from reaching for a weapon. MM Keeravani’s music played a bug part in keeping the film thoroughly delightful. The climax song chase sequence, ‘Parugulu Teeyi’, is another highlight.
Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha (2016)
Set in the rustic Chitoor, Nani is extremely entertaining in his portrayal of a die-hard Balakrishna fan. This film shows us how every Rayalaseema-born man needn’t become the valiant hero that is expected of him. The original locales, breezy music and excellent narration made the film an enjoyable journey.