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70 Years for a Tollywood Classic

Bala Nagamma is a true Tollywood classic that is now 70 Years old. As classics go, this is a story that has survived through the ages. It is a tale of 7 Princesses marrying 7 Princes. And an evil sorcerer who kidnaps the youngest princess, Bala Nagamma. The core is about how the princesses’ son kills the sorcerer by finding his life hidden in a bird in a tree. It is a tale that references episodes in Ramayana and Mahabharata and has therefore retained a timeless appeal.

The illustrious cast includes Kanchana Mala (as Bala Nagamma), Pushpavalli (as Sangu) and Raelangi. But the true magician of the time was the camera man M. Irani. He experimented with and introduced the frame-by-frame concept for the fist ever time to Indian cinema. The movie by all standards was a blockbuster. It paved the way for the many “Jaana Padha” movies to follow. Great directors like K V Reddy (Maya Bazaar) acknowledged that they were influenced by Bala Nagamma and its director Pullayya.

The movie turned into a goldmine for Gemini Films and there has been no looking back ever since for them. Bala Nagamma was also remade in Hindi with Madhu Bala as the heroine. In the Hindi version, Savitri played the role of Sangu.

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