Passion is one aspect that drives an individual to perform upto his capabilities. The preferences might vary from person to person but firm determination is the essential criterion that separates the winners from the rest. While a common man blames the situation for his present status, legends overcome every barrier and challenges posted in front of them to emerge champions. If talent opens their first door to success, their work ethics help them unveil the other doors on the long run. Their dire desire to do justice to the field they’ve chosen scores more than the fame they are offered with. But, the character test for such success begins rightly there. Their ability to sustain the respect provided to them takes them to the next stage. Inspiration is one significant reason that helps to continue the consummate legacy in life that the master’s were adored for. There isn’t a better situation for a master if his disciple outshines himself. But what if insecurities turn catastrophic for the master ? Does self denial of talent result in consumption of jealousy? Swatikiranam is a film that explores this sensitive subject with astute clarity. K. Vishwanath chooses music as a backdrop to convey his compelling story that boasts of sincere performances amplified with a resounding music score by K.V.Mahadevan to mark an end of the 90’s era where films essentially suffered without being able to cope up to the challenges presented by the growing prominence of television.
Anantarama Sharma is a larger than life classical singer who is flowered with praises from every corner. He commands an authority such that there’s not a single event in the town that proceeds without the singing stint of the same. His respect surmounts to such a level that there’s not a single musician who could challenge his credentials. Sarada is the better half and a humbler counterpart helping her husband tower high peaks in life, both on the musical and the mental count. Gangadhar is a child prodigy who literally grows with music amidst a poor family background. His enchanting voice propels him to great heights at a young age. Quite a while before,the child is playful,happy and satisfied with his life crooning melodies with his pals dancing around the lakes with the chilly breeze teasing him. His parents however motivate him to contemplate high regarding his interest towards music. Life changes for the child from being a random street boy to a reverent singer whose achievements go way beyond in describing the capabilities for his age. The conflict begins when Anantarama Sharma feels small in comparision with the chap. He can’t digest the fame the young lad has acquired in such a small timeframe. His finesse in the same field has taken him such a long while to seal such honour. He feels let down that his expertise in the craft couldn’t match the much acclaimed flair of the newbie. The story from now confronts with the realities that the experienced campaigner had to face in his career. Will his heart melt with time or will his insecurities get the better of him? How will the child accept such a devastating feeling from his established master? Your senses are drawn in for a stimulating drama that distinctively appalls you for its natural and a simple portrayal of the extremities that human emotions can reach.
K.Vishwanath’s fascination with themes surrounding art began since the classic Shankarabharanam. His films such as Sagarasangamam, Swarnakamalam help him complete an uncompromising trilogy that beautified and amplified the portrayal of dance and music to another level. This film unlike the others is more out of emotion rather than any art form. I say this despite acknowledging the fact that the film’s biggest strength is its music. Its basically for the reason that the film could have set itself in any backdrop for its depiction of the story. But it turns out that for the director had felt the music is the best possible platform for exploiting the content to its best. His repertoire is visible with his ease in un-complicating his characters that never let the film touch exaggeration. The gentle strokes of humour that we experience in our daily life is skillfully woven into the narrative. Childhood depiction which has nowadays become so hackneyed is such a treat to relish with ,if imbibed with maturity.
If such minute details aren’t enough to describe the charm of the film, one definitely needs to have a word on the performances. Mammooty as the master commands respect for the very basic fact of him dubbing for this role. Another credible aspect that he needs to be appreciated for is that the actor could have easily done 2 or 3 Malayalam films at the same time instead of opting for a character driven plot. His performance has every attribute that we would ascribe for the word ‘dignity’. Radhika is subtle in her character much contrasting and distinct to her ‘manly’ roles in her earlier works. She is magnificent and Vishwanath deserves credit for extracting such a gentle side of the actress for this film much similar to her earlier venture with the director, Swatimutyam. Master Manjunath who packed a punch with his wit and innocence in televised version of Malgudi Days pulls in a heartening performance that undoubtedly uplifts the film at crucial junctures. Jayanti, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam, Sakshi Ranga Rao, Janaki and Ananth form an ensemble cast who also play their part with great composure. Jandhyala’s dialogues are once again impeccable that sets the standards high for such quality lines that are soul stirring. Vani Jayram passes her acid test as a singer with a flamboyant yet a sweet voice that aptly suits the child which went on to see the former winning a National Award for the song ‘Anathi Neeyara’.
The film projects the quality of Telugu cinema at its best. As a an avid film watcher, I can’t do much but crib over the fact of today’s filmmakers in Telugu of hardly matching the class the ones of the yesteryears. I just hope that filmmakers such as Sekhar Kammula, Gautam Menon,Trivikram who’ve exuded hope do the needful for a bright future of Telugu Cinema.
My Take: 4/5