Bhakta Kuchela (1961)
Kuchela, the Devoted
Release date : 9 November 1961
The first ‘big’ mythological production from Merryland, Kuchela, the familiar tale of the deep friendship between Krishna & his childhood friend Kuchela, and all the ingredients to make it a box-office success. Interestingly, M Kunchacko’s similar production with the same story, Krishna Kuchela could make it only a week later to the cinemas, by which time its fate was sealed. Miss Kumari’s Suseela ( the wife of Kuchela) was a powerful counterpoint aainst the almost-legendary screen status of CSR (C. S. R. Anjaneyulu) as Kuchela, effortlessly moving the audience to tears with her on-screen chops. This was the only Malayalam film of the Singing Superstar of the South.
C. S. R. Anjaneyulu as Kuchela
More about the Movie
|CSR Anjaneyulu||Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair|
|Kantha Rao||Miss Kumari|
|TK Balachandran||Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair|
|Kusala Kumari||Aranmula Ponnamma|
|KV Shanthi||SP Pillai|
|Screenplay||Nagavally RS Kurup|
|Dialogues||Nagavally RS Kurup|
|Distribution||Kumaraswamy & Co|
|Art Direction||MV Kochappu|
|Cinematography||NS Mani, GK Ramu|
|Lyrics||Thirunainarkurichy Madhavan Nair|
|Playback Singers||Kamukara Purushothaman Nair, AP Komala, P Leela, Jikky, P Susheela, CS Radhadevi|
Copyrights & Courtesy : The Hindu (B Vijayakumar’s MetroPlus Kochi Column)
This was the first big mythological by director P. Subramaniam. Subramaniam’s film told, apart from the main story of the friendship between Krishna and Kuchela, a few sequences from the Bhagavatha. It tells about sage Sandipani’s hermitage where Krishna and Kuchela are students and close friends.
The difference in social status, caste or creed does not come in the way of their friendship. After leaving the hermitage they lose contact with each other. Krishna becomes the king of Dwaraka, while Kuchela struggles to make ends meet with a huge family. His worship of Krishna causes enmity with the king Sisupala. As requested by his wife Suseela, Kuchela decides to visit his old friend. For him it was a chance to renew their friendship than asking for assistance. Kuchela gets a warm welcome at Dwaraka but forgets to ask what he actually wanted. To his astonishment Krishna sends him back empty handed. But when Kuchela returns home he finds that his modest hut has miraculously been turned into a palace. The Lord had showered prosperity on his family even without asking for it.
The film included some sequences which one may not find in versions of the Bhagavatha. For example, when Krishna leaves the hermitage after studies the grief-stricken Kuchela runs after Krishna and falls down a mountain peak but is saved by his friend. This song sequence, ‘Karuna aarna deva Gopala…’ (A. P. Komala) was an added attraction.
Another attraction of the film was the brilliant performance of the Telugu singing star C. S. R. Anjaneyalu as Kuchela. CSR, as he was affectionately known, was noted for his mythological roles. His performance in the film has been compared to that of Papanasam Sivan, as Kuchela, in the Tamil hit ‘Kuchela’ (1936).
Miss Kumari as Kuchela’s wife Suseela virtually made the audience weep. Other Telugu stars, Kantha Rao as Krishna and Kusalakumari as Devaki also did well. Thikkurissi as Kamsa, Kottarakkara as Sisupala, T. K. Balachandran as Narada, Aranmula Ponnamma as Yashoda, and Baby Vinodini as the child Krishna were also impressive. Ambika and Shanthi as the consorts of Krishna added star value to the film.
Songs from the Movie
The spectacular success of “Bhakta Kuchela” was mainly due to the team spirit behind it, and a strong desire to make it a superior film, when compared to another similar film release in the same time by another production house.