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End of a colossus

End of a colossus
Highlights

A colossus passed away. A legend went into the oblivion. A legacy that decorated the annals of contemporary Telugu film history now remains a bygone era, yet, continues to inspire the generations of film artists, lovers and critics alike. 

A colossus passed away. A legend went into the oblivion. A legacy that decorated the annals of contemporary Telugu film history now remains a bygone era, yet, continues to inspire the generations of film artists, lovers and critics alike.

For Dasari Narayana Rao, film, even if it is commercial, has a message for the society. His films portrayed the myriad manifestations of love. The celebration of motherhood and the assertion of the nobility of girl child are poetry on celluloid.

The dissenting voice in him questioned the caste stratification and its inhuman forms. Inequalities got an artistic repudiation in his films. His powerful critique of feudal oppression proved to be ammunition for all those who want this archaic social order to crumble.

Film is certainly a reflection of contemporary social discourse. Rightly so, Dasari Narayana Rao through his innumerable films strongly resented the erosion of universal human values at the altar of newly acquired affluence or filthy luxuries.

Through his films, Dasari even articulated the unhindered rights of the disempowered and disenfranchised in the natural habitat they lived in. Even if the filmic depiction of concepts like social justice, rebellion, dissent, human rights is for commercial purposes, they still hold relevance as the popular cinema has an indelible impact on people.

Dasari is a complete film artist. He is the 'director'ate of film industry. He has not only directed a record number of films, but also produced noted directors for the Tollywood. If the director is also a script writer, actor and lyricist, the frame can exactly reflect the idea. The remarkable combination of all these in Dasari could mould him into a celebrated director and a multi-faceted film celebrity.

His forthright comments might have incurred the wrath of many in the industry. But, this did not deter him from saying what he firmly believed in, thus winning the admiration of even critics. His films were steeled in the fiery furnace of commoner's struggle for survival.

The morality of the middle class, the exploitation of the impoverished, the stateliness of the toiler etc., got an artistic expression giving the producers box office hits, while sensitising the society on such vital concerns. Making heroes out of mundane characters made him a trend-setter in the Telugu film industry. The creative talent in him could make him work with stars and small time artists with equal felicity.

Not just for Tollywood, through his contribution to Tamil, Kannada and Hindi film industries, he could earn a place for himself in the Indian film history. But, his innovation, commitment, indefatigable artistic spirit and, more than everything else, his unique ability to ensure a fine combination of commercial elements and social concerns helped him to carve out a niche for himself in the galaxy of film personalities.

As Mary Elizabeth Frye wrote, "Do not stand at my grave and weep/I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow/I am the diamond glints on snow..." is perhaps the message from Dasari to the film world that is deeply mired in sorrow at this great loss.

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