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1951 194’ b&w Telugu d B.N. Reddi pc Vauhini st From Rayalvari Karunakritiyamu, a play by Buchi Babu s/lyr Devulapalli Krishna Sastry c Adi M. Irani, B.N. Konda Reddy m Saluri Rajeshwara Rao, Addepalli Rama Rao lp P. Bhanumathi, N.T. Rama Rao, Kumari, T.G. Kamaladevi, Srivastava, Rushyendramani, Baby Mallika, Doraiswamy, Master Venkatramana

Reddi’s big-budget fantasy set in the reign of Krishnadeva Raya, king of the Vijayanagara Empire with its capital at Hampi. The beautiful Malleeshwari (Bhanumathi) loves the sculptor Nagaraja (NTR) but class differences keep them apart. The king (Srivatsava) secretly observes her dancing in the rain for her lover. When Nagaraja leaves to seek his fortune so that he may claim Malleeshwari’s hand, the king summons her to become a court entertainer. The lovers meet again when the hero is hired to build a dancing hall for the queen (Kamaladevi) but they infringe the queen’s rule forbidding companions to fall in love and they are sentenced to death. At the last minute, the king forgives them. Apparently one of Reddi’s favourite films, it benefits from A.K. Sekhar’s sets. The songs by Bhanumathi and Ghantasala (singing the playback for NTR) were hits.