First Indian Children's Talkies Sati Anusuya, Dhruva Vijayam Was Made In Telugu- Check Trivia

Trivia: First  Indian Children's Talkies Sati Anusuya, Dhruva Vijayam Was  Made In Telugu - Sakshi Post

Original Telugu article by Rentala Jayadeva

Translated by P Charitha

Children’s Day 2021 Special:  The first Children’s film in India was made in the year 1936 and the notable fact was that it was two Telugu films titled   'Sati Anusuya' and 'Dhruva Vijayam' which heralded the era of Children's films in the country.

During the initial days after the silent era of movies ended in our country and the talkies had hit the silver screen, the first full Telugu talkie 'Bhakta Prahlada' (February 6, 1932 and where the lead was a child) was released. Producers in Bombay and Calcutta studios were mostly making films in Telugu. The Calcutta-based East India Film Company had already made two Telugu talkies, 'Sati Savitri' (February 5, 1933) and 'Lava Kusha' (December 22, 1934), where both were directed by Chittajallu Pullayya (Pullaih were super hits and made huge profits. Ramayana-based story 'Lava-Kusha' is the first box office hit in Telugu. The lead child artists (Master Bhimarao, Master Malleshwara Rao) who acted as Lava and Kusa - both became stars overnight thus paving way for the children’s film in India. Even here the lead actors were children, with the other roles essayed by adults,  but the seeds of a full-blown children’s film were laid with ‘Sati Anusuya’

Directed by C Pullayya again, he was considered a genius with his experience in the fields of film presentation, production, and directing since the silent era. Pullayya who hailed from Kakinada has the credit of being the first director to make a film with children which was considered a revolution in those days.

Anusuya and Dhruva Vijayam Film Trivia

Pullayya was not just the director but became the de facto father of the children, whom he and his wife Rangamma looked after like their own during the shoot of Anusuya. He took up a three-story bungalow in Calcutta and housed the children there during the shooting. He would personally feed them and would take care of their welfare. To ensure that their studies were not disrupted because they couldn’t go to school during the shoot which went on for months, he arranged for special classes and established a mini-school for them there.

All the characters in Sati Anusuya were played by children and in Dhruva Vijayam, apart from the child artists, there were also adults in the movie.

Recalling her association and memories with the movie, actress, and producer C Krishnaveni (90) who played the lead role in Anusuya said,” We would act and sing our own songs and notes with a live orchestra following us in sync,”.

Telugu comedian Relangi as production manager and other roles

Telugu comedian Relangi Venkatramaiah started his acting career with Dhruva Vijayam where he played the role of Indra. This apart he was also the production manager, casting agent, and pitched in as an assistant director for the film. When there was no shooting, Relangi would apparently take all the children to the zoo and the cinemas to regale them.

The first art director in Telugu films -Adivi Bapiraju

Leading painter playwright and author Adavi Bapiraju worked as the art director for these films. It also marked the beginning of a person working as a full-fledged art director for Telugu films. Thus, he made history as becoming the 'first Telugu art director'. Bapiraju was working as the Principal of Andhra National College in Machilipatnam at that time and had also rendered his beautiful illustrations for these two movies. The Mount Kailasa set in the Anusuya movie, where chalk powder was used for the snow and ice effect, is still considered unique to date as there were no graphic effects in those days.

Annamacharya composition first rendered on screen

In another interesting aspect, the children's film Sati Anusuya is also the first film where a song by the Telugu poet-saint of Tirupati -Tallapaka Annamacharya's song was rendered on the Telugu screen. Annamayya's composition 'Jo Achuthanandha Jojo Mukunda’ was used albeit with minor changes made by the lyricist Balijepalli Lakshmikanth while keeping the rest of the popular Annamayya keertana intact.

Two movies screened together on one ticket

Both the films 'Sati Anusuya' and 'Dhruva Vijayam' are two very different pictures. However, the two films were combined and screened in the halls as a single programme. In this programme, one film -Sati Anusuya was shown till the interval and in the second film half- Dhruva Vijayam was was screened after the interval. Together they had 2 hour-40 minutes of run time and were cited as a cinematic wonder in those days of the black and white talkies era!

The other interesting fact was that a topical film reel with Telugu commentary on Kashi and Haridwar pilgrimage sites was also screened before the film.

Also Read: Celebrate Children's Day With These National Award Winning Films That Pack in Innocence and a Punch

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