Creating Pouranick movies is the speciality of Telugu filmmakers. There was a period from the early 1950s to the early 1970s when the genre was at its peak and the likes of N. T. Rama Rao and S. V. Ranga Rao and later Kaikala Sathyanarayana ruled the roost. But slowly with the advent of fully mass commercial films the genre lost its sheen. Even if the makers want to make such films, the budgetary issues, lack of proper acting talents specifically suited to the mythological roles, we haven’t seen a proper mythological film in Telugu in a long time.
The first proper mythological that comes to our minds in recent times is the ill fated Narthanasala directed by Nandamuri Balakrishna. Starring Balakrishna, Soundarya, Srihari, Sarath Babu, et al the film was shelved after the unfortunate death of Soundarya.
But after all these years, we get to see a glimpse of the footage shot by Balakrishna in the form of NBK’s Narthanasala released on Shreya’s ET. Available for Rs. 50 ticket price it gives one last glimpse of the beloved actress Soundarya, proves Balakrishna’s might as a knowledge bank for such films, and how much we’re still missing Srihari.
As the footage is very less, Balakrishna edited it in a surprising way using content from other films including the original (watch out for Anna gari cameo) and an unexpected twist from Balayya as Brihannala.
1. Balakrishna as Arjuna was good. His dialogue delivery is an asset is a known fact but the dialogue delivery in the scene where he highlights the greatness of Yudhishthira is one to be watched multiple times for its glorious execution. His direction is adequate and gives glimpses of the ability to handle such subjects.
2. This generation will get a small glimpse of why Soundarya is so highly rated as an actress despite lack of female oriented films in her filmography. She’s a great loss. As it is many times reiterated, after Savitri, she’s the only actress who’s capable of essaying a complex character like Draupadi.
3. Srihari has a goosebumps moment and don’t miss it. But his dubbing could have been handled well. His performance in a few minutes is top-notch.
4. Sarath Babu as Dharmaraja or Yudhishthira is well cast. But he doesn’t get much to show his acting range.
5. The taking is good if we consider the time - 2004. Balakrishna would have won Best director award for sure had this film been released in complete form in those days.
If you want to get one last glimpse of Soundarya and Srihari, the rest will come as a bonus. As the ticket price is intended for charitable purpose, we don’t want to comment if it’s worthy of the footage we will get to witness. But if you watch it, you won’t be too disappointed.