Rustic is never out of vogue

While Sukumar’s Rangasthalam is being applauded by critics and audiences, one cannot help but notice how the ‘quintessential village’ is making a strong statement. Shot in rural locales around Rajahmundry, Rangasthalam, which is set in the 80s, brings back the charm of goli soda carts, earthenware and roadside stalls akin to the lush green and laidback villages around the Godavari delta.

It is not surprising that a movie entirely rooted in a rural story is doing so well; the fascination of movie-goers with the ‘rustic’ has been demonstrated time and again over the last decade, which has seen some phenomenally successful movies woven around such stories. Each of them conjures the same idyllic charms of the verdant countryside, the simplicity of a village life, the innocence of the rustic populace and the values that even the urban crowds swear by. Several other movies feature villages as a predominant part of the story.

Satish Vegesna’s Sathamanam Bhavati (2017), winner of the Golden Lotus National Award as the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, was a great advert for the charming life of a ‘konaseema’ village. The story is centred around a landlord in Atreyapuram village who announces to his grown-up NRI children and their families his intention to divorce his wife. An interesting premise is further stoked beautifully thanks to the festivities of Makara Sankranti in a traditional village. The coconut plantations, fishing ponds, paddy fields and unending greenery make every scene in the movie a visual treat. What more, the plot provides a powerful argument in favour of families giving up a few cosmetic comforts to enjoy the domestic bliss of a joint family in a serene setting.

Srikanth Addala’s penchant for big families and rustic countryside is evident in every story of his, but none do more justice to his adoration for rusticity than Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu. From the prominent Godavari slang and accent of the main characters to a wedding in a coconut plantation, the movie’s sets mimicked life in the East and West Godavari districts inch-perfectly.

In fact, coconut trees were brought from Kadiyam Village near Rajahmundry for certain scenes. The movie, which narrates a simple story of two brothers — one stubbornly introverted and another, a charming extrovert — and their tales of love was shot in some wonderful locations like Ahobilam, Bhadrachalam, Relangi near Tanuku, and Kuttralam in Tamil Nadu, which is known as the spa of South India, several rivers originating from here. Some scenes of the blockbuster, Mirchi, were also shot here.

Kalyan Krishna’s Soggade Chinni Nayana, scripted by Ram Mohan, which gave Nagarjuna, one of the biggest hits of his career, was another movie that took audiences on a trip to the bucolic backyards of Mysore and Rajahmundry. With the ghost of a flirtatious zamindar being the principal character of the story, the movie had ample opportunity to explore the countryside, the highlight being several scenes shot at a 1500-year old Vishnu temple in Mysore. The movie even benefited from Nagarjuna’s styling that included a 1959 watch and a dhoti.

Koratala Siva’s Srimanthudu, was not just about the beauty of a village life. It implored, through its story, the influential people to adopt villages and turn them into prosperous treasurers of our culture and traditional lifestyle. Starring Mahesh Babu, the movie is centred around a billionaire heir, who is driven by the thirst to transform the face of his ancestral village for good. The movie was shot in Pollachi, in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, one of the most popular movie shooting hubs because of its proximity to Anaimalai Hills. Pollachi features in several other popular films like Mr. Perfect and Attarintiki Daaredi. Parts of the movie were also shot in Karaikudi.

Another movie that brings a collage of beautiful rustic images to mind is Vamsi Paidipally’s Brindavanam, starring NTR. The movie, which used a three-acre set of a villa, which is still one of the best village-homes portrayed on the silver screen, benefited from shooting in picturesque locations in Pollachi and around Athirappilly Falls in Thrissur district of Kerala. The song Suride Suride particularly stands out for the lush green locales that stay fresh in your memory long after you have finished watching the movie.

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