“Evaroyi Veeru Evaroyi” – Raja Guruvu (1954) – Telugu Feature Film

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Faded Into Oblivion Series (11)

Raja Guruvuరాజ గురువు (1954) – “Evaroyi Veeru Evaroyi” (ఎవరొయీవీరు ఎవరొయీ) – Composed by K N Dandayudhapani Pillai (కె.ఎన్.దండాయుధపాణి పిళ్ళై) – Voice: P Susheela & V J Varma (పులపాక సుశీల & వర్మ) – Lyrics: Devulapalli Venkata Krishna Sastry (దేవులపల్లి వెంకట కృష్ణ శాస్త్రి)
Cast: S.V.Rangarao, Mukkamala Krishnamurthy, K.R.Ramaswamy, Sivaji Ganesan, D.V.Narayanaswami, T.V.Radhakrishna, T.Krishnakumari, P.K.Saraswati, S.D.Subbalakshmi, T.P.Muttulakshmi, Jayasri, Lakshmi, Sriram, Anilkumar, Ganapathibhat, Kanchinarasimham
రాజ గురువు (1954) : యస్.వి.రంగారావు, ముక్కమాల కృష్ణమూర్తి, కె.ఆర్.రామస్వామి, శివాజీగణేశన్, డి.వి.నారాయణస్వామి, టి.వి.రాధాకృష్ణ, టి.కృష్ణకుమారి, పి.కె.సరస్వతి, యన్.డి.సుబ్బలక్ష్మి, టి.పి.ముత్తులక్ష్మి, జయశ్రీ, లక్ష్మీ, శ్రీరామ్, అనిల్కుమార్, గణపతిభట్, కంచినరసింహం – సంగీత దర్శకులు: కె.ఎన్.దండాయుధపాణి పిళ్ళై- Director : A.S.A.Swami దర్శకుడు : ఎ.యస్.ఎ.స్వామి

The Film Crew: Raja Guruvu (1954), a Telugu feature film produced by V L Narasu under the Narasu Studios (నరసు స్టూడియోస్a) banner, was a box office success directed by the veteran A S A Sami (అ స అ సామీ).  T Krishnakumari, Sivaji Ganesan, S.V. Rangarao, Mukamala, P K Sraswathi played the lead roles ably supported by K R Ramaswamy, D.V.Narayanaswami, T.V.Radhakrishna, S.D.Subbalakshmi, T.P.Muttulakshmi, Jayasri, Lakshmi, Sriram, Anilkumar, Ganapathibhat, Kanchinarasimham. The movie was adapted from the original story written by the noted Tamil novelist “Sandilyan”. Devulapalli Venkatakrishna Sastry penned the lyrics & screenplay. Acclaimed cinematographer M Mastan did an impressive job while R Ramamurthi (later became a successful Kannada movie producer) was in charge of editing. The musical score was composed by the renowned choreographer (Nattuvanar) K N Dandayudhapani Pillai (కె. ఎన్. దండాయుధపాణి పిళ్ళై). The movie is a dubbed version of the Tamil Feature Film “Thuli Visham” (1954).  Sivaji Ganesan played the ‘baddie” or anti-hero in quite a few films such as “Thirumbi Paar”, “Andha Naal”, “Rangoon Radha” and “Goondukili” and in this one too he played the reprobate.

Plot: Based a short novel titled “Thuli Visham” (historical genre) by well known Tamil writer Sandilyan, the film was a story of a conniving spiritual adviser (Rajaguru). A covetous king (S V Ranga Rao) usurps the throne of a neighboring kingdom (Mukamala Krishnamurthi), who manages to escape. But before fleeing, he leaves his queen (S D Subbulakshmi) and son in the custody of the good-natured rajaguru (D V Narayanasami) who raises the prince (K R Ramaswami) without anybody’s knowledge. Wanting to get back his kingdom, the wandering king assembles a secret army. With the assistance of the Rajaguru, the young man secures a job of army commander with the avaricious king. The princess (T Krishnakumari) falls in love with him. The king sends the commander on a mission to assassinate the deposed king, completely unaware that he is on his father’s trail. Another king (Sivaji Ganesan) seeks the princess’ love but is rejected. A court dancer ( P K Saraswathi) also falls in love with the hero. After many twists and turns, the baddie’s plans are foiled. Meanwhile, the two women consume a small dose of venom given by the Rajaguru. The  deposed king gets back his throne. The two women wake up, as the poison was only a subterfuge by the Rajaguru yearning for an happy ending. The dance sequences were choreographed by K N Dandayudhapani Pillai.

The Director: Born in Colombo-Sri Lanka, Arul Susai Anthony Sami – ASA Sami (b.1915) grew up as the son of a theater operator. He gave up his duties as a university lecturer in Colombo and moved to Madras in search of film opportunities. In his formative years, he wrote the script for “Bilhana” – a Tamil drama effectively essayed by M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar produced by TKS Bros Theatre Group. Not satisfied, Sami pursued opportunities with the famed Jupiter Pictures in Coimbatore and wrote dialogues among others – Sundar Rao Nadkarni’s “Valmiki” (1946) and together with M. Karunanidhi for A. Kasilingams “Abhimanyu” (1948). Based on the theatrical success of “Bilhana”, TKS Bros hired Sami to write screenplay independently when it was made as a movie in 1948. His directorial debut was in 1947 – “Rajakumari”, (MG Ramachandran had his first major role as a movie hero) followed by his “watershed” film “Velaikkari” (1949) from a screenplay by C N Annadurai – marked the beginning of the politicization Dravidian ideals. Sami’s filmography includes: “Rajakumari” (1947), “Velaikkari” (1949), “Vijayakumari” (1950), “Sudarshan” (1951), “Ponni” (1953), “Thuli Visham” (1954), “Neethipathi” (1955), “Dingiri Menaka” (1956), “Karpurakarasi” (1957), “Kalyanikku Kalyanam” (1958), “Thangapathumai” (1959), “Kaidhi Kanniyiram”(1959), “Arasilankumari”(1961), “Meri Bahen” (1962), “Muthu Mandapam” (1962), “Ananda Jyoti” “Asai Alaigal”, “Kaduvulai Kandan” (1963), “Vazhi Piranthadu” (1964), “Maya Sundari” (1967), “Thirumagal” (1971). Later ASA Sami headed the Tamil Nadu Film & Television Institute in Madras.

Composer & Choreographer: KND aka K N Dandayudhapani Pillai (b.1921) was a “Guru of Eminence” – known for his “laya” intricacies the legendary Choreographer/Bharathnatyam exponent, he wove difficult & complicated patterns into the “jathis” which were replete with significant “kaaravis”(Dandayudhapillai Bani). “Bharatanatyam is a generic term used to describe the classical dances that conform to certain conventions of movement, symbolic gesture, posture and choreography” (Gaston Pg.140). Over the years it has been handled by many different practitioners but it still maintains its original roots. As a result of being handled by many different dancers, the art form has developed many different styles, called Banis, or the various interpretations of Bharatanatyam. Anne-Marie Gaston’s book “Bharatanatyam from Temple to Theatre” document(s) eighteen different Banis (practical components or hereditary lineage). But the most prominent ones are “Vazhuvoor”, “Pandanallur”, “Kalakshetra” & “Dandayudhapani Pillai”.

His “jathis” (kaalapramanams) were quite different from his contemporaries. He played around adroitly with intricate nuances of rhythm leaving the viewer astounded. His “sollus” (dingu jathis) were like poetry. There would be strong flow of swaras or syllables without him ever faltering. He was a rich storehouse of compositions (a “varnam” “annayai” in Raga Abhogi for children). His mastery over music resulted in a plethora of ‘varnams”, “jathiswarams”, “tillanas” & “padams” which were timeless in their appeal. His celebrated deisciples were Chaamundeswari, actress(s) Manjula, Lata, Srividya & Jayalalitha. He was a brilliant vocalist (his nattuvangam had natural fluidity)and adept at playing the mridangam. His “opus” – “Aadal Isai Amudham” is a treasure trove for dancers. KND was renowned for his dance dramas. His “Sivakamiyin Sabadham” was created for Jayalalitha. He spent a few years in Kalakshetra (1944-48) and composed “jathis” for the famous “Todi” varnam “Rupamu Joochi”.

KND has left behind a rich legacy of brilliant compositions (31) some of which are: “Thim Tanana Udhanathom” (Hindolam), “En Indha Varmam (Todi), “Ma Moham Thane” (Nattakurinji), “Sakhiye Indha” (Sankarabharanam), “Velanai Vara Solladi (Bhairavi) & “Moham Aghinen” (Karaharapriya).  K N Dhandayudhapani Pillai choreographed the dance (by his disciple Radha Burnier) in the famous Hollywood film “The River” directed by Jean Renoir, he also featured and sang in it (a varnam in Raga Khambodhi). The movie shot in Calcutta was screened in 1951.

Some of his celluloid assignments as a choreographer include – “Ladki”, “Sangham” (1953), “Sri Kalahasthiswara Mahathmyam”, “Raja Guruvu”, “Thuli Visham”, “Pehli Jhalak” (1954), “Chori Chori”, “Bhai Bhai” (1956), “Miss Mary”, “Missamma” (1955), Hum Panchi Ek Dhal Ke” (1957), “Bhookailas” (1958), “Barkha” (1959), “Bindiya” (1960), “Chaya” (1961), “Man-Mauji” (1962).

Soundtrack: K N Dandayudhapani Pillai musical score for the film included ten songs – “Aa Daivamu Karunanidhi”, “Evaroyee Veeru Evaroyee”, “Maanavadharmam”, “E Paapamerugani”, “Malayaanvaya Manideepa”, “Premavinaa Varamemi”, “Andaala Mana Desamu”, “Enduku Janma Ettitivo”, “Kondapai Jaabili Kona”, “Mani Leni Makutaaniki”, “Tadayaka Vachchaaraa” rendered by M L Vasanthakumari, P Leela, P Susheela, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, A Ratnamala, Ghantasala & V J Varma

The featured song (one of P Susheela’s vintage renditions) is pictured on the ebullient & perky dancer (P K Saraswathi) with Sivaji Ganesan’s facial masquerades (that geologic eye blink) sprightly rendered by P Susheela joined by V J Varma at the “coda’. The gibberish libretto (Telugu) is as follows:

ఎవరొయీ
వీరు ఎవరొయీ
వీరు ఎవరొయీ
వీరు ఎవరొయీ
హోహో ఎవరొయీ
ఎలగానో వేల మనస్సిల్ల
ఎలగానో మనస్సిల్ల అరిన్చినరెవరో
వీరు ఎవరొయీ హోహో ఎవరొయీ
చమక్ చమక్క చలించే హూహ చూపుల
హహహహహహహహః
చమక్ చమక్క చలించే హూహ చూపుల
గమక్గామక్క కలిన్గాచుపే తూపుల
సొగసు ఈ వయసు ఈ వలపుల వరినేవారు
సొగసు ఈ వయసు ఈ వలపుల వరినేవారు
వీరు ఎవరొయీ వీరు ఎవరొయీ
వీరు ఎవరొయీ వీరు ఎవరొయీ
పూవల తేనల్లో నవ్వుల వంనల్లో
వసంత వేల లతంక డోల ఊపిరేమిరెవరో
హాహహహహలలలలలలలలల
పూవల తేనల్లో నవ్వుల వంనల్లో
వసంత వేల లతంక డోల ఊపిరేమిరెవరో
సరిగె కౌగిలిలో మరిఘే లొఉగిలిలొ
సరిగె కౌగిలిలో మరిఘే లొఉగిలిలొ
సొగసు ఈ వయసు ఈ వలపుల వరినేవారు
సొగసు ఈ వయసు ఈ వలపుల వరినేవారు
వీరు ఎవరోహో వీరు ఎవరోహో
లలలలలలలలలలల
ఎలాగానో వేల మసిల్ల అరిచినారవరో
ఎలాగానో మసిల్ల అరిచినారవరో
వీరు ఎవరోహో వీరు ఎవరోహో
లలలలలల లలలలలల

The Soprano’s Taunting Vocals: “Plaudits” to K N Danadayudhapani for pounding out a brisk “peppy” tune and it was a foreordination (sort of moirai) for the songstress- a breakneck turbo charged rendition. A bongos-horn based orchestration adds to the hurried flavor of the composition moving at a steady pace – this piece is definitely a front-runner of the soundtrack. The soprano infuses the needed freshness into the song. The dancer’s (in the songstress’s voice) romantic declaration for the hero makes him swooning – you’ll still tap your foot. Her voice is raw, engaging (“sogasu ee vayasu ee valapula varinevaro”) & informal, yet evoking emotions of yearning, desire and all the subtle nuances of love (“yelagano vela manasila”).

The composition may come across as a bit elementary, rudimentary, or simplistic but for the ingenious rhyming and the intonation of the diva, Susheela (“evoroyi veeru evaroyi” becomes the watch phrase or locution). The horns, the lyrical ramblings (“chamakchamakka chalinchahuge choopula – gamakgamakka kalinchathuge thoopula”), the taunting voice and the narrative structure makes it substantial.

A musical anthropology of sorts, it can be termed as more of a modern club mix, but the vocals stand out for being less dramatic and more durable. Susheela’s fresh voice, almost psychedelic and creamy in nature stands out in particular because of her ability to match rhythmic up-tempo with her coloratura extensions (“poovula thennallo navvulla vaannallo vasanath vela lathanka dola upiremirevaro”) – heightens the overall sound, a bold twist and the needed attitude indeed.

A melismatic and free style composition with its micro-tones and lengthy improvisations, hear it once & it will make you addictive!


One thought on ““Evaroyi Veeru Evaroyi” – Raja Guruvu (1954) – Telugu Feature Film

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