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aka The Saviour 1992 173’ col Telugu d/s K. Vishwanath pc Poornodaya Movie Creations p Edida Nageshwara Rao dial Jandhyala lyr C. Narayana Reddy, ‘Sirivennela’ Seetharama Sastry c A. Vincent, Ajayan Vincent m M.M. Keeravani lp Chiranjeevi, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Sarath Babu, Geetha, Allu Ramalingaiah, Nirmala, Brahmanandam, Satyanarayana, Jandhyala

Madhava (Chiranjeevi), a member of the ‘backward’ Yadava caste, is raised by a benevolent Brahmin school teacher (Telugu scenarist/filmmaker Jandhyala) and dedicates his life to the support of the teacher’s family. He raises the money for the marriage of Lalitha (Geeta), the man’s eldest daughter. The second daughter, Hema (Sheshadri), falls for him, although she is to marry her cousin Sripathi (Babu). Lalitha’s husband tries to rape Hema and kills his own wife. Hema goes mad and is admitted to an asylum, which Madhava also enters pleading insanity, and he rescues her. The two eventually marry, transcending caste differences with the support of Sripathi and his father (Ramalingaiah). As with other Vishwanath protagonists, the hero is a model of selfless virtue (cf. Swayamkrushi, 1987) and Chiranjeevi’s performance won much critical acclaim. The film’s unusually explicit references to caste (cf. Rudraveena, 1988) can be read as upper caste unease within the context of major backward-caste mobilisation in the wake of the anti-Mandal Commission agitations. This is seen especially in the space occupied by the lead character, whose withdrawal from the public arena and dedication to his mentor’s family consciously evacuates all questions of his political rights, an issue made explicit by the Dalit movements of the time.