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1989 142’ col Telugu d/s Mani Rathnam pc Bhagyalakshmi Ents dial Rajashri lyr Veturi Sundara Ramamurthy c P.C. Sriram m Ilaiyaraja lp Nagarjuna, Girija, Vijayakumar, Vijayachander, Sumitra, Velu, Disco Shanthi, Chandramohan, Sowcar Janaki, Smita

Rathnam’s first Telugu film was the biggest hit of the year in Telugu as well as in Tamil (in a dubbed version, Idhayathe Thirudathe). It tells an unusual love story about a young collegiate gangster (Nagarjuna) who meets the wild Geetanjali (Girija). Both are terminally ill, he with leukaemia and she with heart disease. These afflictions appear to liberate the duo from social constraints. Most of the film is shot in exotic, fog-bound locations and includes several rock numbers (e.g. Om Namaha which uses an amplified heartbeat as background rhythm). The critic Tejaswini Niranjana (1991) points out that the heroine is the ‘new woman, the strong heroine, the inheritor of a refracted modernity in a context where feminity is once again being redefined [placing on her] the burden of saviour and teacher [w]ho has to be the one to provide support, when the hero in a similar situation [sings] sad songs. However, [s]he is allowed to take the initiative in the relationship because in spite of her shoulderlength hair she is ‘Indian’ and a signifier of the good modernity.’