Saturday, July 18, 2009

Plight of Telugu Movie Fans of Malaysia

An open letter on the plight of Telugu Movie Fans in Malaysia

I would like to direct this piece of my writing to all the well-known personalities of Telugu Film Industry, which includes the directors, producers, actors, actresses, technicians etc.
Here in Malaysia we have been deprived of all the thrills and chills, which we get while watching our favorite actors and actresses movies. All over the world i.e. USA, UK, DUBAI, SINGAPORE etc. Telugu movies are being screened but not in MALAYSIA. Why is this apathy towards Malaysia? Here we are in big number. I am talking about Telugus from Andhra Pradesh. Surely any producer can screen his movie for at least 3 days and make handsome profit. Here we are around 4000(approx). Another plus point of screening a Telugu movie is there are nearly 3 lakh local Malaysian Telugus. Among them at least 50% are still following our Andhra tradition and customs, which is very much evident when we go for UGADI or any other festival celebrations here. They do follow all the happenings in our state Andhra Pradesh and do feel very proud talking in Telugu even though it's not at the purest form.
Till yesterday somehow we used to get the newly released Telugu VCD's (pirated one's) in the 2nd week of the movie release in ANDHRA PRADESH. But now that too has dried out because of serious action taken by our film industry. There seems to be a sudden lull among the telugu movie lovers here as none of the new movies are being released through VCD's and if we get those pirated versions (they are just awful) we just cannot watch them because the prints are too bad to even watch for 10-15 minutes. So what to do? Where to watch the movies? Previously two movies namely "VASU" and "SANTOSHAM" were screened using a projector and DVD simulation, which was sort of OK. But the thing over here was we somehow watched the movie on a bigger screen rather than watching in our television sets. It was ok but once the organizer got summons from the Telugu film industry there has not been a single movie till date. Let me tell you one of the bad experiences, which I had very recently.
The date was announced i.e Aug 31,2002. It was a weekend. The expectations were high. A CHIRANJEEVI movie, "INDRA", for the first time in Malaysia. For weeks, I had been following the updates on the latest buzz on "INDRA". Here almost all the tickets were sold. We all have really planned everything for that day. Neither a crashed server (as most of the guys here are in to software industry) nor a severe thunderstorm could stop us from being at the theater on that day.
All of us were very anxious, rife with expectations, enlightening the ones who didn't have too much knowledge about the movie "INDRA" as it has already released in Andhra Pradesh and USA, creating havoc among the public, along with Chiru's sagas and lore. As the day was nearing the anticipation levels had soared sky high. But I wished that anticipation was fulfilled. Just the day before, the writing was on the wall. The show was cancelled because the organizer got a call from MR.ASHWINI DUTT's office in Hyderabad. The expression on the enthusiastic fans faces was akin to a situation if batsmen Sachin Tendulkar were to get out on a low score at a key cricket match. At the cancellation of the movie, I had seen people who were very much seesawed between the ecstasy of expectations and agony of the cancellation of the movie.
As I already wrote about two movies being screened earlier, both the movies went fulls with the ticket rate at RM10/- & RM13/-. Nearly 500 people watched the movie. Screening of "INDRA" was also planned in the same way but one call from the producer's office has jeopardized the so-called screening of the movie "INDRA". Till date we couldn't see the movie. What do the producers expect us to do? Go to India and see the movie, which is like asking too much from us. And when we read articles on the movie celebrations around the world we feel very happy and at the same time get frustrated beyond control. Somebody from the industry has to understand our plight and do the needful. Even we want to enjoy the movies like the Telugites in USA, UK, DUBAI, SINGAPORE.
So my sincere wish to all the well known personalities of our blossoming and evergreen Telugu Film Industry is either let the VCD's be released by the 2nd week (obviously I am referring to the pirated one's) or else please do the necessary arrangements to screen the telugu movies her also in Malaysia and do let us also enjoy the telugu movies like everyone elsewhere in the world.
I Hope my letter reaches all the concerned people of the film industry and I very much strongly hope that my favorite film website which is none other than "" would lend a helping hand in making the Telugu movies reach thousands of hungry Telugu movie fans here in Malaysia.
shyam akkisetti

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Great Telugu Emperor Sri Krishnadevarayalu

Golden Era of Telugu LiteratureSrikrishnadevarayalu (Krishnarayalu) (1509-1529) of Tuluva dynasty was the greatest emperor of Telugu people in the history of South India.
He ascended to the throne of Vijayanagara Empire in May 1509. The present Rayalaseema (The land of Krishnarayalu) of Andhra Pradesh forms the core of Krishnarayalu’s Empire. Emperor Krishnarayalu and his Prime Minister Timmarusu firmly established the authority of Vijanagara Empire all over South India by crushing Gajapati kings of Orissa , and the combined Muslim forces of Golconda (Hyderabad) and Bijapur that were waging Jihad on Telugus. He defeated Gajapatis of Orissa and liberated Andhra in five campaigns, Udayagiri, Kondavidu, Vijayawada, Rajamundry and finally Cuttack, the capital of Orissa. He defeated the Golconda army and captured its commander Madurul-Mulk, crushed Bijapur by defeating Ismail Adil Shah and restored Bahmani kingdom to Muhammad Shah. He established friendly relations with Portuguese, who set up a Portuguese Dominion of India in Goa in 1510. The Emperor obtained guns and Arabian horses from the Portuguese merchants. He also utilized the Portuguese expertise in improving water supply to Vijayanagaram City.
Emperor Krishnarayalu was not only a great warrior and administrator, but also an accomplished poet. As a patron of art and Telugu literature he was unsurpassed in the history of Telugus. He wrote Amuktamalyada, a ‘prabandhamu.’ Prabandhamu is a variety of Telugu poetry which is mainly a narrative or a continued discourse. Often sensuality (sringaramu) dominates in Prabandhas. In Amuktamalyada, Emperor Krishnaraya beautifully describes the pangs of separation suffered by Godadevi (the human incarnation of mother Earth, the wife of Lord Vishnu) for her lover Lord Vishnu. He describes Godadevi’s physical beauty in thirty verses. Even the descriptions of spring and monsoon seasons add to the strength of sensuality. The sensual pleasure of union extends beyond the physical level and becomes a path to the spirituality and ultimate union with the lord Vishnu leading to Moksha, a state of being unity with God. Here Godadevi represents the humanity and her longing for Lord Vishnu (the Ultimate Supreme God) is the humanity’s search for Moksha and divinity. One of the main characters in this ‘prabandhamu’ is Vishnuchittudu, the father of Godadevi. Lord Vishnu commands Vishnuchittudu to teach King of Pandya Dynasty the path of knowledge to Moksha. There are several short tales described in Amuktamalyada in the course of the main story of Godadevi, e.g., narration of Khandikhya-Kesidvaja, Maladasari, Yamunacharya, Chandala-Brahmarakshasa Vivadamu-the argument between chandala (outcaste) and brahmarakshasa (spirit of a Brahmin), etc. The main purpose of this prabandhamu is to spread the Vaishnavite religion and the path of knowledge. Emperor Krishnarayalu was also well-versed in Sanskrit and Kannada languages. “Jambavati Kalyanamu” is his Sanskrit work.
Krishnarayalu’s reign was the golden age of Telugu literature, and is comparable to the Pariclean age of Greece and Elizabethan age of England. Eight poets known as ‘Astadiggajalu’ (eight elephants in the eight cardinal points such as North, South etc.) decorated his court known as ‘Bhuvanavijayamu.’ According to the Vaishnavite religion there are eight elephants in eight corners in space and hold the earth in its place. Similarly these eight poets were eight pillars of his literary assembly. These Astadiggajas were: Allasani Peddana, Nandi Timmana, Madayyagari Mallana, Dhurjati, Ayyalaraju Ramambhadrudu, Pingali Surana, Ramarajabhushanudu, and Tenali Ramakrishnudu.
Among these eight poets Allasani Peddana is considered to be the greatest and is given the title of ‘Andhra Kavita Pitamaha’ (the father of Telugu poetry). Manucharitramu is his popular prabandha work. Paddana dedicated this prabandha to Emperor Krishnarayalu. Nandi Timmana wrote ‘parijataapaharanamu’ and dedicated it to the Emperor. Madayyagari Mallana wrote ‘Rajasekhara Charitramu.’ Dhurjati wrote Kalahasti Mahatyamu and Ayyalraju Ramabhadrudu wrote ‘Ramaabhyudayamu.’ Pingali Surana wrote “Raghavapandaveeyamu,’ a dual work with double meaning, a novel experiment in Telugu literature. This work describes both Ramayanamu (story of Lord Rama) and Bharatamu (story of Pandavas). Battumurty alias Ramarajabhushanudu wrote “Kavyalankarasangrahamu,” “Vasucharitramu,” and “Harischandranalopakhyanamu.” Among these works the last one is a dual work which tells simultaneously the story of King Harischandra and King Nala. Tenali Ramakrishnudu (he changed his family name from Garlapati based on his family residency in Tenali City) first wrote ‘Udbhataradhya Charitramu,’ a Shaivite work. However, he converted to Vaishnavism later and wrote Vaishnava devotional texts “Panduranga Mahatmyamu,” and “Ghatikachala Mahatmyamu.”
The period of Vijayanagra Empire is known as “Prabandha Period,” because of the prabandha literature produced during this time. Among the various Telugu rulers of this period, Emperor Krishnarayalu’s rule is outstanding and is known as the Golden Age of Telugu Literature. Vijayanagara Empire was founded in 1336. The fall of the empire began in 1565 with the war of Tallikota (or Rakshasi Tangadi). The period from 1336 through 1565 is considered to be one of the best periods in the Andhra history. The fall of the empire started during the period of Aliya (Araveeti) Ramarayalu, son-in-law of Emperor Tuluva Krishnarayalu. Ramarayalu removed many Brahmin governors who were faithful to Tuluva family. He also recruited thousands of Muslims into his army. During the war of Tallikota, in which Ramarayalu was fighting the combined Muslim forces of Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Bidar, he was stabbed in the back and killed by his Muslim generals and troops. However, Araveeti dynasty continued for another hundred years from Penugonda as capital. The Vijayanagara dynasty slowly died as the smaller kingdoms declared independence and Telugu people remained divided and ruled by Muslims and British until the present state of Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956, beginning the modern history of Telugus as part of the Indian Union.
Domingos Paes, a Portuguese merchant who lived in Vijayanagaram City (1520-22) described Emperor Krishnarayalu: “… He is the most feared and perfect king that could possibly be, cheerful of disposition and very merry, he is one that seeks to honor foreigners, receives them kindly…. He is a great ruler and man of much justice….”
Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, May 7, 2000

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Telugu Religion


The vast majority of Telugus are Hindus. There are also some Telugus who are Christians or Islam. Each village has its main temple—often dedicated to a great Hindu god, usually Rama or Siva—as well as small shrines to numerous village deities, most of which are female.
Preeminent among the regional shrines in the Telugu country is the temple of Sri Venkateswara in the town of Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh , a major pilgrimage centre.

Religious Beliefs. Hinduism lacks a centralized ecclesiastical hierarchy or unified authority officially defining doctrine. The specifics of religious customs vary widely from one locality to another and even between different castes in the same village. Among the major types of ritual are family Ceremonies, caste ceremonies, and village ceremonies. In addition the range of deities worshiped varies between localities. Many deities are associated with particular places or specialized powers or seasons. But a unifying theme is a system of worship called puja in which offerings are presented to a deity in return for protection and help. The offerings imply a subordination by the worshipers and include the receiving back of part of the items offered—after their spiritual essence has been partaken of by the deity. Overarching the host of specific deities is a transcendent divinity, bhagavan or devudu, responsible for cosmic order. People conceive of this deity in personified forms such as Vishnu and his associated circle of gods—including his ten incarnations, among whom are Rama and Krishna, and their various female consorts, such as Lakshmi, Sita, and Rukmini. Shiva and gods associated with him include his sons Ganapati and Subrahmaniam and his wife Parvati. Settlements, villages or towns, have a tradition of female "village deities" (grama devatas) who protect their localities as long as they are properly propitiated but cause illnesses if they are not. Ghosts of deceased humans, especially those of people who died untimely deaths, can hover about and interfere with people, as can other malevolent forces such as inauspicious stars and evil spirits. These thwart people's plans or render their children ill.
Religious Practitioners. A person acting as the officiant in a temple, conducting or assisting the worship, is known as a pujan, or priest. Brahmans serve as priests in temples to deities associated with the scriptural deities known throughout India, such as Rama, Shiva, or Krishna. But members of many other castes, some of quite low social rank, act as priests for a wide range of lesser deities.
Ceremonies. There is little uniformity in the celebration of festivals across the Telugu country. Each region presents a kaleidoscopic variation of interpretations and emphases on common themes. In the northeast, Makara Sankranti is the principal harvest festival. It features castes worshiping the tools of their trades and a period of fairs featuring elaborate night-long operatic drama performances. In the northwest, Dasara and Chauti are the festivals during which castes worship their implements. Farther south, near the Krishna River, Ugadi is a time when artisans worship their tools. All regions have festivals that honor Rama, Krishna, Shiva, and Ganapati.
Village goddess festivals, celebrated on dates unique to individual settlements, are also among the most elaborate celebrations of the year. These rituals—entailing the offering of chickens, goats, or sheep—mobilize extensive intercaste cooperation to ensure the health of the whole community. Also important in the worship of village goddesses is the practice of making vows to achieve specific personal benefits, such as the curing of ailments or finding of lost objects. Periodically when emergencies arise—in the form of epidemics, a spate of fires, or sudden deaths—these goddesses are believed to require propitiation.
Life-cycle rituals vary greatly between castes and regions. All serve to define social statuses, marking the transitions Between immaturity and adult (married) status, as well as Between life and death. They also serve to define circles of interdependent relatives and castes. Weddings stand out as the most elaborate and significant life-cycle rites. They are highly complex, involve huge expenditures, last several days, and entail the invitation and feeding of large numbers of guests. Funerary rites are also highly significant, defining the lineal relatives who share ritual pollution caused by the death of a member. In addition, they mark social statuses by treating the body of a man differently from that of a woman (cremating it face up or face down, respectively) and by disposing of the body of an immature child differently from that of a married adult (by burial or cremation, respectively).

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