Bhakta Kannappa (1976) - Retrospective

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 00:15
Film: Bhakta Kannappa (1976)
Banner: Gopikrishna Movies
Cast :
Krishnam Raju  as Arjunudu, Kannappa ; Vanisree.. Neela; Sridhar ... Mallanna; M.Balayya ... Sivudu ;
Dr.M Prabhakara Reddi; Rao Gopala Rao .... Kailasanatha sastry; Saradhi .... Kasinatha Sastry (Kailasanatha sastry son) ; Mukkamala Krishna Murthy ,, pedavema Reddy ; Jayamalini ... RanajanaM
Jhansi ;P.R.Varalaxmi.. Parvathi; Baby Varalaxmi, Baby Rohini, Jhansi
Lyrics: Arudra, Dr.C.Narayana Reddy, Veturi Sundara Ramamurthy Verses : Veturi Sundaramamurthy
Art: Vaali, Bhaskara Raju
Music : Satyam
Playback : S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, P.Suseela, S.Janaki, V.Ramakrishna
Operative Cameraman : S.Gopal Reddy.
Assistant Cameramen: Sharath, M.V.Raghu
Production Executive : Jayakrishna
Editing : Mandapati Ramachandraya
Camera: V.S.R.Swamy
Dialogues : Mullapudi Venkatrama
Producer : U.V.Suryanaryana Raju
Director : Bapu
Technical Details : 35 MM; Eastaman Color; Reels: 17 Runtime: 2 hr 27 mintues
Censor Date: 26 May 1976


Song Singers Lyrics
Om Namashivayya.. takiTa taka taka takiTa (Sivaarjuna samvaadam)
Cast: M.Balayya, P.S.Varalaxmi, Krishnam Raju
S.P.Balasubramanyam and Chorus Veturi
aakaaSam dinchaala nelavanka tunchaala
Cast Krishnam Raju, Vanisree
V Ramakrishna ,P.Suseela Arudra
enniyallo enniyallo caMndamaama hoy
Cast :Vanisree,Krishnam Raju
V Ramakrishna, P.Suseela (chorus) Arudra
kaMDa geliciMdi kanne dorikiMdi
Cast :Krishnam Raju, Vanishri
V.Ramakrishna, P.Susheela (chorus) Arudra
dhim dhim tarana dhina na
Cast: Jayamalini
Siva Siva ananelaara..kaugilil
Cast: Rao Gopala Rao,Jayamalini
S.Janaki C Narayana Reddy
tallee tanDri neevEnamma challani tallee gauramma
Cast: Vanisri
P Susheela Veturi
Siva Siva Sankara bhaktava Sankara
Cast: Krishnam Raju
V. Ramakrishna Veturi
tinavayya tinavayya maa kanna taMDri
Cast: Krishanam Raju
 V. Ramakrishna Veturi
Om namaSSivaaya..sriikaanta lOkESa sriikaLa
Cast: Krishnam Raju
V. Ramakrishna Veturi
Srikalahastishwara hara hara devara
Cast: Krishnam raju
V Ramakrishna and Chorus Veturi
akalotoda nee kaDupu araDi accaTa
Cast: Krishnam Raju
V Ramakrishna and Chorus Veturi


Arjuna (Krishnam Raju) is reborn as Thinnadu, an atheist, in his next birth. Thinnadu is brought up by a tribal lord (M. Prabhakar Reddy) whose daughter Neela (Vanisree) loves Thinna. But Mallanna (Sridhar) also loves her. Thinna wins Mallanna in the duel fight and wins Neela. But, being an atheist, he disagrees to bow in front of the village goddess and takes Neela and leaves the village. How Thinna became a devotee of Lord Siva, and what happens next is interesting and forms the rest of the story.

About the film:

The film was completely shot in outdoors like Pattiseema, Gutala, Buttayagudem, mainly in and around the forest of Buttayapalem. Shooting was started in November 1975 and the movie was released in May 1976. Initially, the film's director was V. Madhusudana Rao who earlier directed Gopikrishna Films' Krishnaveni (1974). Being a communist, V. Madhusudhana Rao liked the Kannada hit film Bedara Kannappa of Rajkumar, which was later dubbed into Telugu and was also a huge hit. The film has issues of societal inequalities of rich and poor and the dialogues thus are majorly communist in nature. Bheemeswara Rao wrote the screenplay for that film. A couple of songs were also recorded for the film under the music direction of Adinarayana Rao. But, due to some reasons, the film director opted out of the project.

Mutyaala muggu was a hit that year. So, Jayakrishna, the personal makeup man of Krishnam Raju, along with Suryanarayana Raju, approached Bapu-Ramana duo for the film. Ramana gaaru did not like the script and suggested several changes, and the producers agreed with the modifications.

Two songs that were recorded earlier didn't fit into the new script. And there was a communication gap between Bapu and Adinarayana Rao, and so the latter opted out of the project. Satyam who was assisting Adinarayana Rao stepped into the modified project. All the songs were done in madhyamaavati raaga. This is the only film for which Satyam worked with Bapu and Ramana. Krishnam Raju who liked Gemini's Chandralekha longed to keep a similar drums song in his film. In order to accommodate that, Ramana gaaru made subtle and suitable changes to the script. The film is also a major plus point to the singer Ramakrishna who sang huge hit songs like enniyallO, kanDa gelichindi, and aakaSam dinchaalaa in the movie.

M.V. Raghu joined the team in the last minute. Bapu gaaru spotted M.V. Raghu and asked him to join the team. Noted Cameraman S. Gopal Reddy assisted V.S.R. Swamy in the film while Sharat and M.V. Raghu are assistants to him. The song enniyallO enniyallO that appears to be shot on a full moon night was shot in the middle of the day! This song won many laurels to V.S.R. Swamy.

The artwork is typical Bapu style and gives an authentic look for the film. Dialogues by Mullapudi give life to the characters and make one feel them as real life characters. The hero says "kanTi guri kanDa guri unnavaaDini, naaku eduru lEdu". What happens when he realizes the truth is the main plot for the film. Basically, the story in the books is very small; making it into a two plus hours' film without losing grip is not an easy task.

Vanisree used to tease Krishnam Raju in the shooting. She used to call him turraaju. She worked with the unit earlier too for the film Krishnaveni (1974), which won her a very good name. This is the first time she worked with Bapu-Ramana. The film gave Sarathi a much-needed recognition. Sarathi, who worked more than 50 films before then, shot to fame with this film. His dialogue kOkopaa (kOyapillaki kotta paaTalu) was a good hit among the masses. Jayamalini has a good dance number Siva Siva ananElaraa... Sridhar, who worked earlier with Bapu in mutyaala muggu, got a good role as Mallanna and he did complete justice to the role. P.S. Varalakshmi in the role of Parvathi looked very glamorous. Rao Gopal Rao, who got a lot of fame with mutyaala muggu, did a wonderful job again as the temple priest in the film.

The film had some financial problems towards the end of the shooting, and Ramana gaaru adjusted one lakh rupees to complete the film, which was repaid after six days since the film's release. This was the first film to be processed in Prasad Film Labs in Madras. (The second film that was processed there was sirisirimuvva.) Everyone wondered when Bapu agreed to do the film as Bapu usually makes the film related to Lord Rama, and this film is related to Lord Shiva. But the results of the film gave answers to them.

Written by: Sri Atluri