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Some movies during the 1980s have really showcased the society of the times. It was a period when India was into a generational shift and the older generation which was active from the before independence era has handed over its baton to the next generation which was settling after the emergency days. And it was the time when the younger generation was having its ideological battles with its elder generation. The very structure of Indian society was changing. To cut a long story short the composition of India was changing and the joint families were breaking up. Few movies have showcased this reality in a very practical and engaging manner and among those, "Samsaram Oka Chadarangam" happens to be etched in memories forever.
The story written by Visu who specialized in weaving stories around the middle-class people has so much in common with the families of the day. Appala Narasaiah (Gollapudi Maruthi Rao) is a patriarch presiding over a joint family. He works as a supervisor in factory. His family consists of wife Godavari (Annapurna), elder son, Prakash (Sarath Babu) and daughter-in-law Uma (Suhasini), second son Raghava (Rajendra Prasad) and 2nd daughter-in-law Vasanta (Aruna), third son Kalidasu and daughter, Saroja (Kalpana). They have a loyal maid-servant in the form of Chilakamma (Sowcar Janaki) who is their servant and adviser.
The story which centers around these characters really showcases the trials and tribulations of middle-class India. The way the elder son shirks his responsibilities for the fear of incurring additional expenditure is well-known. In the same way the loyal son in the form of Raghava who puts family in front of his own familial pressures is also well-known. The third son who cannot study properly is also common and the rebellious daughter who prefers an inter-caste marriage was also quite common. Above all of these characters, the ever suffering wives who struggle hard to keep the family glued together are also quite true to the life. The frictions between the family members over the issues which center around money and propriety are the issues which the society fought over.
Samsaram Oka Chadarangam happens to be a great chronicle over the reasons of why the joint family system which once was the pride of India is becoming extinct. It showcases to us that with growing differences, it is better to be away and be together rather than staying together and fighting all the time. The film is a poignant reminder to the largely nuclear society of today of why it is evolving like this.
The performances of Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and Sarath Babu are really praise-worthy and the interval episode in which the frictions develop in the family are very well captured. Also the performance of Suhasini as the suffering daughter-in-law should be the best in her prime. Rajendra Prasad as the loyal son too lives his part whereas Kalpana as the fiery daughter just behaves the part. Nutan Prasad just shines in his guest appearance.
The music by Chakravarthy is apt whereas the direction of SP Muthuraman just showcases the times very effectively. The production values of AVM which produced the original Samsaram Adhu Minasaram are just apt.
The film was remade into Hindi as "Sansar" with Anupam Kher, Raj Babbar and Rekha in the main roles. The movie was a smashing success in all the languages.
The success of the film in all the languages it was made could be attributed to its universal story and earthy characters which are just found everywhere and every household. May be the film has so many lesson which today's film makers and story writers should focus on.
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