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1953 174’[Te]/175’[Ta] b&w Telugu/Tamil? d K. Kameshwara Rao pc Vijaya st Chakrapani dial/lyr Pingali Nagendra Rao c Marcus Bartley m Ghantasala Venkateshwara Rao lp N.T. Rama Rao, Savitri, Sriranjani Jr., S.V. Ranga Rao, Relangi Venkatramaiah, Joga Rao

Kameshwara Rao’s debut is an elaborate costume drama merging Gemini’s adventure film genre (Chandralekha, 1948) with Vijaya’s own type of folk fantasy (cf. Patala Bhairavi, 1951). Villain Dhoomketu wants to become the crown prince of Chandanadesam, but his ambition is thwarted by the birth of Chandan (NTR). However, Chandan’s life depends on his wearing a magic necklace. He dreams of his unknown beloved, Gauri (Sriranjani), and paints her portrait to show his teacher Mali (Ranga Rao), who then finds the woman. Unfortunately, the search brings the celestial nymph Chanchala (Savitri) into the story. Chanchala promises to lift Chandan’s curse of death if he marries her; when he refuses, she removes the necklace and Chandan dies. Dhoomketu’s ambitions are thus revived but then Chanchala returns Chandan to life for a brief period. Eventually another goddess, taking pity on the hero, unites Chandan and Gauri. There are many opulent court scenes, dance sequences featuring Apsaras in heaven, scenes of gods and goddesses who lift the hero’s curse, and comedy interludes featuring the luckless Dhoomketu and his politician teacher Niksheparayudu.