Sunday, November 23, 2014
In his career spanning over 40 years, Vittalacharya made movies that brought every kind of fantasy to the cinema screen. Whether it was a story from some by-lane of mythology, or a tale of queens and kingdoms, Vittalacharya's films would bring in all those delectable horrors of poltergeists, talking animals, supernatural beings - every kind of 'special effect' that you could not think of - to the hall and all one had to do was to sit entranced.
Though he was born in Udupi and his films were mainly in Kannada and Telugu, Vittalacharya was based in Madras for most of his life. He did make a few Tamizh films as well, but I don't remember any of them performing better than Jaganmohini. It was originally made in 1951 in Kannada by one of Vittalacharya's partners in their venture 'Mahatma Pictures'. The Telugu version, also dubbed in Tamizh was made by Vittalacharya in 1978 and was a huge hit, running for nearly a year in the theatres.
This block of flats stand where Jaganmohini's release would have been plotted. Vittalacharya lived and worked out of his house on Saravana Perumal Street in Purasaiwalkam. After his death in 1999, the house was sold and made way for these modern residences to come up. The curved balconies and decorated sunshades have surely been influenced by the touch of the master, who was once known as Mayajaala Mannan!