- In Theaters
- Mar 6, 2020
- 2hrs, 24 mins
విప్లవం పుట్టేది ఎక్కడనుంచి?
Who wouldn’t be excited when there is a film announced on the backdrop of your hometown/native village? I’m a no exception and was super excited when I heard about “Palasa 1978”. The first time I saw a poster of this film on Raghu Kunche’s twitter handle, I thought they were making a short film. Later I came to know, it is actually a mainstream feature film with almost new star cast except Raghu Kunche. My parents also told that the film was shot in Palasa for around 3-4 weeks it seems. So, I was even more excited about the film because as I would get to see my hometown on the big screen.
The story is set in Palasa, a town in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh & its nearby villages. The plot is about the circumstances that arise due to caste discrimination and rifts between the cashew factory owners & laborers. Director Karuna Kumar said that he took inspiration from the true incidents that happened during the 1970s. But I did a fact check with my parents and friends in Palasa, and understood that he has added a great amount of fiction for some, – probably a little reality. Caste discrimination was there back then and unfortunately now also it is there, but the violence shown in the film doesn’t seem to be true to the extent it is shown. In the past, I heard about a couple of murders that happened in Palasa but, they weren’t cruel killings based on casteism rather, were gang wars (ఆధిపత్యం కోసం జరిగే ముఠా హత్యలు). Also, somewhere the plot feels much closer to Sukumar’s “Rangasthalam” – the period backdrop, story of two brothers, rural politics and vengeance.
I felt nostalgic because the film is shot in Ambusoli, Goppili, Udayapuram, Purshottapuram, Ulasraopeta, Kasibugga (Annapurna theatre), etc, a few places in & around Palasa. Director took a lot of inspiration from all these areas in terms of screenplay and writing the dialogues. Authenticity in slang & culture of Srikakulam/Palasa/In & around villages is shown very well in the film. Since I was born & brought up there, I could easily relate to the slang. Lives of Cashew laborers are shown well too. But the film’s screenplay isn’t so engaging, and climax is not strong enough. These kinds of films need the aid of a great background score and the director seemed to have not taken enough care there.
The lead actor Rakshit (Mohan Rao) – a newcomer has done a good job but, there is a scope for improvement, Raghu Kunche has done justice to his role. Thiru Veer, the guy who played Rakshit’s elder brother’s role has done a splendid job. I was quite impressed by actor Vijay Ram’s (Sebastian in the movie) performance. Usually a common man can react in different ways when discriminated against, basis a factor that is beyond their choice (at least by birth). Some choose to ignore and get along, blaming fate/destiny, some become rebels taking the law into their hands and become the supposedly anti-social and there are those few who “believe in raising above all these discriminating factors to a position that they become inspirational”. The last option is tough, yet the most efficient, long-term benefiting one and that is exactly what our Sebastian chooses. Do watch out for Sebastian as there is a lot to take away from him. Do give it a thought as to why there is a difference in how Sebastian vs Mohan Rao gets treated by the same people. – There’s quite a lot.
This is one of the first Telugu movies that has characters speaking in Srikakulam/Uttarandhra slang for the run time. Earlier we have seen films making fun of Srikakulam Slang but in this film, you will appreciate the writer’s efforts with the perfect slang of Srikakulam on the silver screen. Karuna Kumar is a big winner in terms of getting that slang right from every character in the film. There are certain downside elements as it fails to connect the emotional points despite the theme, casteism. In fact, it runs on predictable lines. A couple of songs are “ఉత్తరాంధ్ర జానపదాలు” and needless to say they are utmost beautiful. It feels so happy to have listened to them and it is important to preserve them as a precious treasures. The “ఏ ఊరు, ఏ ఊరే …” song is a bliss to the ears written by Bhaskar Bhatla garu and is so native that you feel greatly connected especially, if you are from Palasa 🙂
Production values are decent. Dialogues are a little harsh yet realistic, and swearwords/cuss words have been used liberally throughout the film. Palasa 1978 is told in a raw & rustic manner by Karuna Kumar. Though it looks like a regular revenge drama, it is an honest attempt with many positive aspects such as the name, culture, slang of Palasa with good dialogues and a riveting screenplay would have added glory to it. People who are born/brought up in Palasa or Srikakulam, will feel nostalgic for the slang
One dialogue in particular, in the film gets us choking – “మేము యూనివర్సిటీల్లో ఆత్మ హత్యలు సేస్కోకుండా సదువుకోగలిగినపుడు , ఆల్ల పిల్లల్ని పెళ్లి సేస్కున్నందుకు మా పిల్లల్ని నరికేయకుండా ఒగ్గేసినపుడు , వినాయకుడి తల అతికించడానికి దేవుడున్నాడని రాసిన పుస్తకాల్లో , ఏకలవ్యుని వేలు అతికించడానికి దేవుడిని ఎందుకు సృష్టించలేదో మీకు అర్థమైనపుడు, ఆ సమానత్వం మళ్ళీ వచ్చినపుడు …………” This scene litreally moved me into tears.
ఒక్కటి మాత్రం నిజం. కడుపు నిండిన వాడి కథకీ, కడుపు మండిన వాడి కథకీ చాల తేడా ఉంటుంది. చదువుకుంటే శక్తి వస్తుంది, ఒక చేతిలో పుస్తకం పట్టుకుని, ఇంకో చేత్తో ఎక్కడికి వెళ్ళాలో చూపించే స్థాయికి ఎదగగలిగినోడికి ఆ శక్తి, కులం వల్లో , బలం వల్లో వచ్చింది కాదు – చదువు వల్ల వచ్చింది. ప్రతి గొంతు స్వేచ్ఛగా పలకాలి, ప్రతి మనిషీ గౌరవం గా బ్రతకాలి – అలాంటి సమ సమాజం మనం నిర్మించుకోగలిగినపుడు – వేశ్యలు, నక్సలైట్లు , తిరుగుబాటుదారులు ఉండరు. అప్పుడే, భిన్నత్వం లో ఏకత్వాన్ని ప్రపంచానికి ఎలుగెత్తి చాటి చెప్పే వసుధైక కుటుంబం, మన భారత దేశం అవుతుంది. Watch it without any expectations. It could be better but, there are definitely things you’ll like 🙂