Mohana Krishna Indraganti deserved the National Award for best debut film. For, his Grahanam is indeed a thought-provoking film. Despite being an adaptation of decades-old controversial novel Doshagunam by Chalam, it is a gripping film adorned with a racy screenplay, crisp dialogues, clean cinematography and, above all, realistic performances from all and sundry.
Indraganti upholds Chalam's tirade against chauvinists who accuse a noble lady (actress Jayalalitha) of infidelity, ignoring her denials with contempt.
Chalam probably had no idea that the theme would be relevant even after decades primarily because the society's attitude towards women hasn't changed much.
The director should be lauded for venturing into filmmaking with such a bold theme. The film's narrative strength comes as a whiff of fresh air amid clichéd love stories and family drama. We need such trailblazers more regularly to the state of Telugu cinema stand on its head.
Indraganti draws on his erudition as he grants Chalam's work its due. In the film, he resists melodrama yet effectively narrates the protoganists' agony.
No doubt Grahanam has heralded the entry of a trendsetter.
The story goes like this: Jayalalitha is a beautiful wife of a feudal lord (Bharani). Theirs is a happy household. A poor student (Mehneesh) arrives at her house for weekly lunch and receives support for his studies. Jayalalitha dotes on him. Soon, Mehneesh's parents suspect Jayalalitha of seducing the boy. Rush to the cinema if you are curious to know what happens in the end.
Veteran actor Bharani impresses as suspecting feudal lord who throws his wife out of his house bitten by the suspicion bug. Character actress Jayalalitha, who has wasted her talent in umpteen commercial films earlier, delivers a riveting performance in Grahanam. Young guy Mehaneesh impresses as an innocent poor boy, who is suspected of having an affair with an elderly woman. Other actors, Surya, Ramana and Sivanarayana, seem adequate for their roles.
One can't help admiring cinematographer Vinda's excellent use of light. While Vijay's background score sets the right tone for the film, editing by Lokesh could not have been better.
Kudos to producers Subba Rao and Anji Reddy for indulging in such an off-beat film. They have already received critical acclaim and a National Award. It remains to be seen if they can earn some money.