Stars: 5 / 5
Happy Sriramanavami!! The auspicious day celebrating the birth of Lord Rama falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra per the Hindu Calendar. Sri Rama is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu who had taken human form to overcome the evil spreading on Earth. This year the festival had come on this day April 15th - the day of this post.
To honor this day I chose the 1963 hit Telugu and Tamil classic mythological movie Lava Kusa. The story is based on Uttara Kanda from Ramayana by Sage Valmiki - the final chapters in the life of Rama, Sita, his brothers along with the birth of Lava and Kusa, sons of Rama and Sita. I picked this movie mainly because my mom loves it and also one of my uncle. This post is for them too.
The story begins after Sri Rama had defeated and killed Ravana, got back Sita from his clutches and successfully returned back to Ayodhya to rule the country. His coronation completed, and with the vow he takes up as a king to be a just one, he rules the country with peace and prosperity along-side his wife Sita. Sita becomes pregnant and everyone is happy that the line of Rama will proceed further. However, one day a washerman blames Rama that he had brought back Sita even though she had spent time in someone else's. And he may have accepted Sita but he cannot accept his wife who had spent time elsewhere. Word reaches to Rama through his spies. He is baffled that despite the peace and prosperity he had been hearing and seeing, there is still rumors about Sita's purity despite her going through Agni Pariksha. Conceding to the public's opinion, reluctantly Rama banishes Sita to the forest, to keep his vow to his people. Sita is rescued by Sage Valmiki where she lives and gives birth to twins Lava and Kusa. The movie continues with the life of Lava and Kusa, how they grow up admiring Rama but not knowing that he is their father, the confusion they face when they know that Sita was banished, the fight they have with Rama and eventually the truth comes out.
The movie was made simultaneously in both Tamil and Telugu languages. It was made completely in Gevacolor making it the first Telugu movie in color. A classic and considered as one of the movies that impacts society. The movie featured 27 songs composed by legendry singer Ghantasala. Politics have changed so much since the time Sri Rama had ruled the country. I don’t think anyone would have sacrificed so much for the sake of the country in the current era. I believe that is why the epic is so well-liked and learned by everyone.
N.T. Rama Rao reprised the role of Sri Rama that he had done so many times in his two-decades of career by that time. He lived the role again as always. Kantharao as Lakshmana, Kaikala Satyanarayana as Bharata and the very young Shobhan Babu as Shatrughna suited perfect for the roles. Anjali Devi as Sita could not have been suited more than anyone else for that role. The three and a half hour musical story of the final chapters of Sri Rama, Sita, his sons Lava and Kusa and his brothers excellently directed by C. Pullaiah and C. S. Rao. It was really refreshing to see Suryakantham as one of the Valmiki's disciples wife even though her sharp tongue and short-temperedness has not been toned down even in this role. Along-side Ramana Reddy, she became part of the comic-relief in the movie. Wonder what happened to the two kids who portraued as Lava and Kusa. Of course they would be old now, but always wondered about their fate in film industry after this movie.
Every scene in the story has so much moral behind it, so much depth and insight if only one want to learn from it and make their lives better. To that fact the director, lyricist and music composer have also spun the songs, communicating the essence just like how Valmiki had done with his verses on the story of Ramayana. One of the song that always rattles me is this one titled "Yeh Nimishaaniki Emi Jaruguno Evaru Oohinchedaru" ( = No one guesses what happens the next minute) - one line that can define everything around you. What the song yourself here and hopefully you will get what I mean.
I had posted more songs from this movie as part of my songs theme blogging last year. Here is the link in case you want to check them out. Some of the key moments from the movie:
The washerman who blamed Rama
Lakshmana taking leave of Sita after leaving her in the forest
Sita getting refuge in Sage Valmiki's ashram, living under assumed name of Lokapavani
Introduction of Lava and Kusa
First time Lava and Kusa meet Sri Rama but don’t know yet that he is their father.
A classic movie based on one of the greatest epics of Indian mythology is worth watching even if it has to be on youtube. Ofcourse there are arguments on the other side of the coin as well that challenges the epic that how can a pious person as Rama be so cruel to Sita, what is the difference between him and Ravana, at least Ravana had made sure to give the right accommodation for Sita even in capture. However, my intention is not to bring the pros and cons of the epic story with this post. Just to enjoy the story through the eyes of these great artistes. A classic that cannot be missed. Go for it and relive the epic.