Friday, February 17, 2012

Mirroring Music, Culture and Time

Very few movies give that essence of satisfaction and fulfillment after the watch. Shankarabharanam is one such movie which provides a delight along with new perspective and new reading each time.

The whole movie is connotative on the essence of music, the cultural significance and the temporality of all these values and the heritage.

It has a rustic imagery of a beautiful village of those olden days. A village filled with rooted cultural legacy and predominantly dominated by traditional values and customs. Like

those maharaja stories say, every village will have a doresani/prostitutes. This village also will have a prostitute who is aged but is with a beautiful daughter named ‘Tulasi’ (Note the chastity behind the name).

Tulasi is a good dancer and her mother wants her to continue the inheritance but she is strong opponent of that. She will have a silent devotional love towards a great musician of that period known as ‘Shankarashastri’. He is widower and a startling artist who was able to capture the audience attention just by his name.

Tulasi will be prompted to sleep with a wealthy person of the village but she refuses and eventually she will be raped by him. Tulasi murders him in rage and elopes to the refuge of Shankarashastri.

The profound knowledge and experience of this musician allows him to give shelter to that lady though she was from an ‘infamous’ family. At this point of time the entire village wraths against this musician and shows non-cooperation to him. Tulasi, noticing this, will leave the village thinking, she must not become the cause for that great personality’s spoilt image. Tulasi as a result of that bad incident, will conceive and give birth to a baby boy whom she names as Shankara.

After many years, she returns to the village with her son on purpose to edify her son by the maestro Shankarashastri. By this time, the village had changed completely by the stepping of modern, western ideologies including music. Shankarashastri will be in a very bad condition socially and economically. Because of this and also the age he will be weak physically too. Tulasi makes her son his disciple without his knowledge and he will train him and pass on the great music heritage to her son and she will be blessed by this.

Shankarashastri will have his daughter married and in a concert secretly arranged by Tulasi herself, takes his last breath and Tulasi too, will see the end of her life at the same moment. The movie ends by showing their sacred bondage.

Significant Characterization:

Shankarabharanam Shankarashastrigaaru” a magical characterization that epitomizes a grandeur, a strength of knowledge and culture. I believe its Mr.Somayajulu

who has added value to that great characterization with his chivalrous and incredible performance. His core values towards tradition and cultural heritage does not affect in anyway by the blind believes and customs which was in practice. He was absolutely practical, soft cornered, knowledgeable and a good matured man as a person. Interesting to note that Music becomes his biggest strength and weakness too! He utters a line which keeps lingering in ears for long, which is “Music is divine whether it is Indian or Western!”. The sublimity, the divinity of Music was attainable by him is the aspect which makes us, as audience too start res
pecting “Shankarashastrigaaru”.

Tulasi’s persona throughout the movie has been characterized as a pure, soft and silent lady who is completely with love and devotion. She hardly talks in the entire movie but her personality is portrayed as a soft yet strong lady who is packed with overflowing energy and love for music and passion for dance. Feminism is brushed through her character who protests against the rooted custom. Her silent love for Shankarashastri is noteworthy and exquisitely shown.

Shankara a lively character of Tulasi’s son, has shown extraordinary performance as a dedicated son of Mother who was ready to do anything for his mother’s happiness. For him, more than the music, making his mother happy was the major goal behind being the student of Shankarashastri. This shows the pure, innocent personality of a boy whose life, world will be his mother alone.

Shankarashastri’s Friend Allu Ramlingaiah’s humorous and vivacious characterization adds a wink of hilarity and lightness to a much serious plot. His performance is so natural and active that one cannot help burst out laughing even for a small casual statement of his.

There are other major characters which exceeds pages if I start talking about. Each and every character in the movie is with a cause and K Vishwanath, the director has pared excellence in projecting each characters to its best.

Theatrical Representation:

There is an answer to the craze of western music leading to negligence of Indian music. There is a response to blind customs and believes which was practiced (and still is mostly!). There is a substantiation to the spirit and the divinity of music.

It is a blend of traditional and radical thoughts spread across logically and sensibly. Overall, there is a beautiful imagery of the landscape, the interiors, the spirit of life and the enigma of the enchanting music which is unfortunately lost in transition….of time and of life!


sunaath said...

Thanks a lot for telling about this movie. I have not seen this movie but your article induces me to do so.

kanasu said...

I am glad that you felt so! Watch it Kaka its really worth it!