Today's audience will scornfully look down upon anyone who sees such black and white classics. This is mostly because of ignorance and widespread conceit that such movies will not offer what one would expect them to. "How can I enjoy what my grandparents enjoyed in their teens?" is the first thing that comes to their mind while contemplating about such movies. For once put all your conceit and ignorance on the back burner and enter into a 3 hour drama which is devoid of actors. The only people you will see are characters who shun the role of actors. When the movie ends, you will be talking about Anji or Gundamma but not about NTR or Suryakantham. This movie will open your world into the classic past of black and white from a colorful present.
Gundamma is a rich widow who has a daughter Saroja, and son Prabhakar and a Cinderella like step daughter Lakshmi. Both the girls are beautiful and intelligent but the similarity ends there. Saroja is a teen spoiled by her mother's pampering where as Lakshmi is treated as a servant in her own house. Ramabhadraiah, who has two sons of marriageable age is searching for suitable brides. It so happens that he used to be a good friend of Gundamma's late husband. He now sends a letter to Gundamma that he is interested in her daughter for his son's alliance. Gundamma is interested in the alliance but for her own daughter Saroja. She wants to overcome the obstacle of her elder step daughter by getting her married to some good for nothing person so that the world does not censure Gundamma of neglecting her step daughter. Enter Kanchu Gantaiah, Gundamma's Gumastha(manager) somehow wants Saroja to marry his own son who he insists is pursuing higher education abroad which happens to be the well known Andhra prison.
Meanwhile, Ramabhadraiah and his sons know about Gundamma's miserliness, avarice and her treatment of her children and decide to play a game to teach her a lesson. After deciding that Lakshmi will make a suitable match for his first son and Saroja for his second , Ramabhadraiah, asks his sons to commence the drama. The first son enters Gundamma's house as Anji, a street worthy servant and wins her heart instantly and even a place in her house as a helping hand. The second son Raja, with the aid of his cousin Padma, who happens to be Saroja's friend, enters as Ramabhadraiah's son woos her, and ends up winning her heart. The servant son, with his humility and wit, wins Lakshmi's heart and asks Gundamma for Lakshmi's hand in marriage. After taking Gantaiah's advice, she obliges under the impression that she will never find a more obliging and humble fool who would ever do her command. Anji marries Lakshmi.
Meanwhile, Gundamma is impressed by the second son for Saroja and is making plans for the wedding. However, she receives a letter from Ramabhadraiah that he is no longer interested in the alliance doubting rumors that Gundamma poisoned her husband, his friend. Saroja wants to marry Raja at all costs and creates a tantrum that she will die if refused her demand. Gundamma obliges again after taking advise from her trustworthy manager convinced that a son in law in her own house will not raise a voice and that she can relish the company of her beloved daughter even after her marriage. All along, Prabhakar is in love with Padma, and marries her against Gundamma's wish without taking dowry.
Anji fights with Gundamma and leaves the house with his beloved Lakshmi. Raja shows his true colors by acting as a drunkard and discloses that he is not Ramabhadraiah's real son and is a vagabond and wanted thief. As Gundamma's problems are starting, enters Padma's paternal aunt, a terror to even Gundamma. The cat fights which ensue between Gundamma' and Padma's aunt go out of control after a while. Raja absconds leaving Saroja in distress and then writes a letter to her asking her to accompany him in his flight. Saroja being a good wife, obliges and leaves Gundamma's house very much against her wishes. Gundamma is shattered with all these problems and at such a time, Gantaiah's son, freshly released from prison, torments her even more. Thus Gundamma, in the absence of Prabhakar is confined to the out house of her own house by Padma's boisterous aunt and Gantaiah's prison educated son.
Life twists for Lakshmi when Anji places her in the bungalow of Ramabhadraiah proclaiming her to be the mistress of the house and the daughter in law of Ramabhadraiah. She forgets her life long misery but still holds concern for her mother Gundamma and Saroja her sister. Saroja is introduced as a gardener in the same bungalow by Raja and is humiliated by Ramabhadraiah as a servant. Saroja's conceit and arrogance break thus making her a well behaved wife..Meanwhile even Gundamma is transformed into a humble woman following all of life's tortures in a short span. Lakshmi is re-united with Saroja and both of them go to Gundamma to reveal the facts about their futures. Gundamma is happy to see that both of them are married into a good family and continues to be good to everyone from then on.
The numerous mild comedy scenes that are present throughout the story are noteworthy and so are the songs. NTR as Anji is excellent and so is Suryakantham as Gundamma. Every other character shares importance in the story line which is GUNDAMMA KATHA.
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