Every time I meet someone who is talking about Telugu cinema. In my mind, I am judging the person. Somewhere in the discussion, I slip in a Jandhyala reference, and wait to gauge his reaction. If the person talks highly of Jandhyala, the discussion proceeds further. Else, it’s Game Over.
Having acquired the cult title of Hasya Brahma, Jandhyala created a new cult of comedy. His films contained rip-roaringly hilarious plots, that were brilliantly written and expertly executed. Jandhyala’s films converted everyday, mundane talks into classic, witty one-liners. The comedy was healthy and superbly written. He really meant ‘navvu aarogyakaram’. 😉
A Jandhyala film can be recognised from a mile away. Like Bapu and Vamsy, Jandhyala adopted and perfected a classic, unique styles. You could recognize his film from a single shot, there was a certain honesty in his films. He wasn’t attempting to take you to Switzerland with the blink of an eye. His films were grounded in the everyday, in simple, day-to-day problems.
Starting as a playwright, Jandhyala made the transition to the silver screen in style. He achieved recognition first with scripts he wrote for Adivi Ramudu, Shankarabharanam and Sagara Sangamam.
These three films are still talked about in hushed whispers, such is the aura around them. It was only a matter of time before Jandhyala would make his directorial debut, and he opened his account with Mudda Mandaram.
It was hardly surprising that he met with success. Over the next few years, Jandhyala churned out his trademark genius plots, tackling unorthodox issues. Ananda Bhairavi and Padamati Sandhya Raagam are two of his remarkable films.
No Irrelevant Characters or Content
Jandhyala never etched irrelevant characters. His characters had so much characters, that they are permanently etched in cinema lovers’ memories. Classic examples are his characters of Lakshmipathy in Aha Naa Pellanta and as Brahmi sweetly calls ‘Mahaprabhu’, who bugs with his stories in Vivaha Bojanambu. They will always stand out frame to frame.
By the early 90s, Jandhyala was an institution in himself, choosing writing assignments that suited him. He worked as writer, director, dialogue writer – within a span of a few years, Jandhyala could cherry-pick the work he wanted to do.
The story however, had a cruel twist at the end. At the age of 50, having spent 25 years in the film industry, Jandhyala Subramanya Sastry breathed his last due to a cardiac arrest. His influence reverberates across decades and era, from EVV to Trivikram. Passing away at 50 was really too early for a person who was contributing so much to field of art.
Jandhyala has lit up so many faces with his writing, filled joy in so many hearts. And yet, greedy as we are, there is one lingering regret – had he been alive today, we would have been blessed with at least two more gems in the library of Telugu cinema.