Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Absorbing Account Of The Vibrant Town MACHILIPATNAM

The Origin
Saint Parasurama
 It is the town where Saint Parasurama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu treaded. It is the place where melodious symphonies melted the hard rocks, where the nuances of mellifluous musical instruments reverberated, where the poets and playwrights harvested rich literature, where the English, the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese fought for supremacy. It was the town, the splendour of which made the European travelers jealous. The Italian adventurer Marcopolo gaped in wonder at the riches of the town where the people lived in exquisitely carved wooden houses.

 But now, it is a different scenario with the town. Though the town is still vibrant recalling its past glory, it is gradually crumbling due to apathy of the Government to develop it. Yet it is vibrant. This vibrancy is the undying hope of the future of the town, that is Machilipatnam. Since half a centrury the town has been the naked portrait of the squalor  with pigs roaming the narrow, dusty lanes and sewerage water over flowing the drain on either side of the lanes during rainy season. The reason is - the municipality is starved of sufficient funds to make it a clean and beautiful town and restore its original glory. Yet the town vibrates day in and day out with political, social and cultural activities.

 How old is she? Hundred years? Two hundred years? No, even more. Then is it thousand years old? No, not even nearer  the truth. The fact is - gods knew about this town that dates back to times immemorial and it finds mention in Hindu mythologies. According to one Purana (Mythology) Machilipatnam was ruled by the demon king Sambarasura for hundreds of years. Puranas say that he made Hamsala Deevi his capital and ruled over Machilipatnam area.

Manginapudi beach
 Even before that, Parasurama,  an incarnation of Vishnu, graced this land. He had given away all his land, acquired by defeating the Kshatriya kings, to Brahmins to show how munificent he was. Then the Brahmins asked him to leave their land as his (Parasumara's) hands were tainted with the blood of the slain Kshatriyas. Parasurama, nowhere to go to perform his regular rituals, shot an arrow over the sea at Manginapudi (suburb of Machilipanam) and ordered it to move back. Accordingly the sea yielded him a few square miles of land by retreating. As a proof of this, today the activity of the sea begins a few hundred feet away from the shore.

 The famous Greek astronomer Ptolemy in his 'Geographica" mentioned about Machilipatnam as 'Misolia.' He described this ancient town as the gateway of river Krishna. The famous Italian traveler Marcopolo visited this port town and described that the gateway to this town was constructed in the shape of the eye of a fish.

 During the 1000 AD the Chola king who was a convert to Buddhism conquered this land and ruled it from the Hamsala Deevi. He built a strong fort and entrusted the administration of the kingdom to his commander Jayachamupathi. The ancient inscription of the Siva temple at Chebrolu reveals that Machilipatnam area was guarded by elephant, horse, chariot and infantry battalions.

 Later for a few years, the link of continuation of history of the town was cut off and nothing was known about this town till the advent of the Greeks.

 Again the broken links of history of Machilipatnam  were established from around 13th century. The kings of Kakayiya dynasty held their sway over Machilipatnam for a long time. Later it passed into the hands of Golkonda Nawabs and from them into the suzerainty of the Mohuls who held their sway over it till the advent of the European traders. The Moghul emperor Aurangzeb envied the wealth of this town and waged a successful war with the Bahmani sultans.

 During the early period of the British, trade wars had taken place in Machilipatnam as in other parts of the country. The Dutch, the French and the Portuguese fought the British at Machilipatnam for the possession of this rich coastal town. Finally the British were victorious. But, as the British fought on behalf of the Bahmani sultans of Golkonda, they regularly paid tributary amount to the Sultans and carried on the administration of the town. Later it had come into the direct rule of the British.

 Not only in the ancient times, even in the medieval period during the rule of the Golkonda nawabs, Machilipatnam was a flourishing trade center of the country.
 During the colonial rule, the British as well as the Portuguese, the Dutch and the French had set their eyes on this town. And in fact the British wanted to make Machilipatnam their capital of the South instead of Madras. But the oceanographers advised the British against their plan as the sea would rise in a tidal wave almost every hundred years submerging the town. Even after the 1977 cyclone that claimed thousands of lives in this area, any deep depression in the Bay of Bengal would result in severe cyclone in Machilipatnam area.
The Koneru Centre
 The historic monuments
  Among the historic monuments of the town, the traffic island popularly known as the Koneru (lake) centre was the most important one which bears a grand testimony of the freedom sgtruggle. During the early 18th century this area with dense woods and hillocks was notorious for crimes of all sorts. Nobody dared approach this area even during day time. GThe then collector of the town Sir Thornhill wanted to put an end to the crimes there. He took the initiative and mobilized the community of the town to transform this crime den into a beautiful lake. Thus the Koneru centre was born in 1864.

 On that black day...

 It was May 6, 1930 and it was a black day for the people of Machilipatnam. The great freedom fighter and formidable wrestler Thota Narasaiah Naidu and Thadikonda Veerabhadraiah Ayyavaru and Cheruvu Subba Rao fought the British police to hoist the national flag at this centre.

 That day, Thota Narasaiah, one of the above mentioned trio lost his life due to the fatal blows rained on his by the police. When the centre reverberated with the slogans of Bharat mataki jai and Mahatma Gandhiki Jai, freedom fighters Veerabhadraiah and subba Rao faced the police clubs and tried to climb the ladder of the monument at the heart of the centre. But, as the police rained blows on them, they lost their grip and fell down. Though bleeding profusely on the lawn they they had not stopped the chant of the patriotic slogans which angered the British police. The police again had delivered blows on them till they became unconscious and were led to safety by the volunteers. Then it was the turn of the wrestler Narasaiah to fulfill the mission. He took the tri-colour flag from them. Shouting Mahatma Gandhiki jai, he climbed the ladder. Since he had muscles of steel and nerves of iron, the blows of the police could not deter him from proceeding further. But alas, before he had reached the top rung of the ladder and hoisted the national flag, the police had encircled him in great numbers and pulled him down.  Being a wrestler, he could have fought any number of police with bare hands. But following Mahatma Gandhi's call for non violence, he fell down like a lamb without offering any resistance.  He lived till 1960s, narrating his brave deeds of patriotism to his grand children. Till date he has been remembered as the champion of the national flag by the people of the town.

 The Fort that was...
Inside view of the Machilipatnam fort
 The dilapidated walls of the fort which is popularly referred to as Bandar kota, stands a mute witness to the past glory of the fort. Many wars had been fought between the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese and the English for the possession of this fort. Even before that the Moghuls held it in their possession for a long time.

 The earliest battle for the fort was fought in 1748. After the death of Nizamul Mulk, his younger son Nader Jung had become the subedar of the Deccan. Then the grandson of the erstwhile Nizam Mujafer Jung sought the help of the French to defeat Nazer Jung. But, as Nazer Jung came to know of the conspiracy, he dashed to North Arcot with his army and imprisoned Mujafar Jung. As the French General Dupleix fought a battle against Nazer Jung. Then Nazer ordered the French employees at the Machilipatnam fort to be imprisoned. Accordingly his ministers confiscated merchandise of the French and put them behind the bars in the fort.

About Bandar Fort
 Dupleix  enraged by this, wanted to teach Nazer a lesson which he would not forget for his life. So, Dupleix dispatched two hundred French soldiers and another two hundred of Indian infantry men to Machilipatnam on 12th June, 1750. Under the command of General Lanteur the French army laid seize to the fort. The hapless soldiers of Nazer surrendered in no time. The French army released the French hostages in the fort. But to be on the safe side, Dupleix sent additional army to Machilipatnam from Pondicherry. The French strengthened the fort by constructing eleven battlements round the main fort. They laid road to the fort and dug a big lake that could hold 44000 gallons of water for the soldiers during war emergencies.

Machilipatnam in the 16th Century
Surprisingly the British maintained tactical non interference policy during this war. But they were waiting for the opportune time. Accordingly as war erupted in 1759 between the British and the French in many parts of the country. The British General and Governor Robert Clive sent a large army under the command of colonel Ford from Madras (now Chennai) with the help of Ananda Gajapatiraju. The British defeated the French and occupied the fort. After the bloody war that claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers, the influence of the French dwindled and the British became strong. Since the British had a special favour for Machilipatnam, they developed the town to carry out trade of the East India Company. Machilipatnam and the fort played a crucial role in expanding the British influence in the East Coast. Later on, as the entire South India came under the British rule gradually, the importance of the fort had decreased.  The British saw no reason to maintain army in the fort.   Along with the British army, the civil officers in the fort also were vacated. As the fort was on the verge of dilapidation by 1759, severe cyclones hit the fort more than thrice. Major Call who  had seen the fort in 1765, noted that he could hardly see a fort worth its name. All he could see was crumbling ramparts and brick walls. But after a decade, the scenario had changed. Though the threat from the French, the Nizams and the Marathas had decreased, the British again wanted to strengthen the fort to carry out trade and commerce on behalf of the East India Company. So the fort was again renovated.

 Later on, after one and half a century had passed and as the administration changed hands from the East India Company to the British Parliament, the existence of this fort was gradually forgotten. Today the fort is nothing but a long, crumbled brick wall. Yet imagination is great and any ardent admirer of Machilipatnam can stand before this mute wall and visualise a strong fort with ramparts and battlements that had withstood for centuries the onslaughts of the enemies and vagaries of nature.

The Pandurangaswamy Temple

The Pandurangaswamy temple at Chilakalapudi just five miles away from Machilipatnam is a famous pilgrim centre. During festival days thousands of devotees throng to the temple from far and near and have darshan of the God and submit their offerings. Especially during the month of Karthika thousands of devotees would have darshan of Lord Panduranga and have a holy dip in the sea at Manginapudi. The statues of the pillars of bhakti movement in the South, the Nayanars and the Alwars are a special attraction in the temple. The serenity of the temple draws devotees to this religious place.

 Bhakta Narasimham of Bobbili constructed this temple in 1929. It was  said that Lord Vithoba of Pandiripur, Maharashtra appeared to him in a dream and said that he (Narasimham) should build a temple for Him where He (Vithoba) would incarnate. Accordingly the temple was built.

 But the British collector and the police officials were skeptical about Narasimham's dream which was circulated in the town. The British suspected that there was something fishy about the entire episode. Hence police were deployed round the temple to guard against any foul play. But at the appointed hour there was the sound of a blast inside the temple. When the top police officials opened the doors of the temple, to their surprise they found the statue of Lord Panduranga in the vacant sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Incidentally this statue resembles that of Lord Vithoba at Pandiripur. The devotees believe this story to be true even today. A statue of Abhayanjaneya swamy (the monkey god) was installed in front of the Panduranga idol..
 Other temples of the town
Sri Nageswaraswami temple
 There are about 50 big temples in the town. As it has been the district head quarters and an important place of trade and commerce for the past three centuries, people who had visited this town installed the deities which they worshipped and built temples for them. This way the town has been blessed with the Venugopalaswamy, the Nageswaraswamy, the Rajarajeswaridevi, the Ranganayakaswamy, the Ramalingeswaraswamy and Bobbili Gopalaswamy temples. Among these temples, the Nageswaraswamy temple built in the 16th century, is thought to be the oldest. The Hanuman temple at Parasupet (French colony) is worth visiting. Lord Hanuman's bronze statue of this temple was chiseled in the style of Maharashtrian temple architecture.

The Sankara Mutt
 Among the holy places of the town, Sankara Mutt in Godugupeta deserves special mention.  A prominent lawyer of the town Sri Rallabandi Ventaka Sitarama Sastri (1895-1973) was one of the founders of the Mutt and the Veda patasala. As he was deeply dedicated to the propagation of Hindu religion,n he renounced the meteria world and became a sanyasi. He assumed the holy name of Vidya Sankara Bharathi and the Mutt had been named as Gayatri Peetam. He was the first pontiff of the Mutt. The Mutt was recognized by the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and now this Mutt offers Vedic studies for boys by providing them boarding and lodging facilities. This Mutt has an attached wedding hall also.

 The Jamia mosque
 This is the most ancient mosque in and around Machilipatnam. It was constructed about four centuries ago during the rule of Aurangzeb, the Moghul emperor. This mosque contains a graveyard in its backyard. This mosque is a glowing example of communal harmony as both Shias and Sunnis attend the prayers here like brothers.

 The oldest church
 Machilipatnam boasts about the oldest church in its outskirts at Machavaram. This is called the Saint Mary  Church. It was inaugurated on 10th January, 1842 by George Trevor Spencer, the Lord Bishop of Madras.

  The pens that harvested literary crops
 The Telugu literature harvested in Machilipatnam can be divided into two parts - from 1900 to 1950 and from 1950 to 2000. The town has been proud of many a great writer. If a writer won encomiums in this town, his creative talents were sure to be recognized in the rest of Andhra Pradesh without any second thoughts immediately. This town is the flint stone on which the talent of a writer was tested and recognized. The famous poet, scholar and Satavadhani (a person who performs hundred literary feats simultaneously) Sri Chellapilla Venkata Sastri, one of the duo of the Tirupati Venkta Kavulu., lived in Machilipatnam and taught at the Hindu High School.

Viswanatha Satyanarayana
The giant of modern Telugu literature  and the winner of Jnanapeeth award Sri Viswanatha Satyanarayana studied at the Hindu High School and Noble College. He made Machilipatnam his home town and produced some of his fine literary works here. He also taught at Andhra Jateeya Kalasala.  Sri Pingali Lakshmi Kantham and Sri Katuri Venkateswara Rao were the poet friends like William Wordsworth and Mathew Arnold. Together they produced excellent poetical works. Pingali studied at the Hindu High School and the Noble College and taught at these two educational institutions. Katuri was also a student of these two prestigious educational institutions and later worked as principal of the Andhra Jateeya kalasala.

 Sri Vempati Nagabhushanam, another literary genius also had his education at these two educational institutions and worked as principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan College, Bombay.

 The freedom fighter and writer Gurajala Raghava Sarma, the Vedic scholar Kuppa Lakshmavadhani brought name and fame to this town. Kuppa renounced the material world at the blessed feet of Paramacharya, the pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

 Sri Puvvada Seshagiri Rao was a famous Telugu poet who earned the title of Kavi Padusha.

 Sri Sistla Narasimha Sastri was an expert in Tarka and Vedanta. Sri Kambhampati Ramamurthy Sastri, a great Sanskrit Grammarian worked at Samaveda Patasala. Sri Mallapraggada Sri Ranga Rao, a Sanskrit pundit at the Jai Hind Higher Secondary School, was also a popular Pouranika who thrilled the audience with his musical discourses on the Ramayana,  the Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatha. Sri Kodali Anjaneyulu was a poet who was associated with Viswanatha Satyanrarayana in the 1930s.

 Sri Mamidi Venkataraya Somayajulu was an eminent Sanskrit scholar who prepared a dictionary of Sanskrit and translated Bhagavadgita into Telugu. The library in Kanyaka Parameswari Temple was named after him.

 Atmuri Lakshmi Narasimha Somayaji, another scholar of Sanskrit created ripples in the orthodox Brahmin community by declaring that Vysyas were eligible to perform yajnas on par with Brahmins.

 Sri Munimakikyam Narasimha Rao whose stories were marked by subtle humor and wit and whose name was heard in every Tulugu household for his Kantham Kathalu, worked at Hindu High School for 30 years.

 Sri Ravuri Venkata Satyanarayana Rao, a student of the Hindu High School and Noble College was also a writer who had been ranked among the few humorous writers in Telugu. His humour column "Ashamashi" in Andhra Prabha daily under the pen name Ravuri was very popular among the Telugu readers. Before associating with Andhra Prabha, he was a columnist for Krishna Patrika and contributed many humor pieces under the feature "Vadagallu."

 Ravinuthala Suvarna Kannan, Vinnakota Susila Devi and Adi Vishnu are popular writers of fictions of this town who are still contributing to many periodicals.

Kamalakara Kameswara Rao
Kamalakara Venkata Rao was a famous journalist associated with Krishna Patrika. His brother kamalakara Kameswara Rao was a well known film director and was honoured with the title of 'Pouranika Brahma.' He had directed many mythological films and 'Narthanasala' among them won the Afro Asian award.

 The polyglot Maddibhatla Suri was a good writer and associated with the well known film actor Prabhakara Reddy and wrote scripts for all his movies.

 Among the writers of Machilipatnam Jalasutram Rukmininatha Sastri deserves special mention as he was more recognized for his parodies and parodied almost all the writers of Telugu literature.
Chinta Krishna Deekshtulu

Chinta Deekshitulu who produced unsurpassable fiction for children and who fascinated the imagination of boys and girls with the creation of the child characters Suri, Seethi and Venki had a long association with Machilipatnam.

 From 1950 to till date the following writers of the town, Adi Vishnu, Havis, Vihari-Salivahana, Singaraju Ramachandra Murthy, Nandam Rama Rao, Erramsetti Sayee, Chandu Sombabu, Saraswati Babu Rao and some others have contributed to the reservoir of Telugu short stories and novels. Many of these writers have settled in Hyderabad due to various reasons.
Malladi Ramakrishna Sastri
Late Malladi Ramakrishna Sasteri was one of the great writers of the town.  He had written a number of short stories in incomparable, chaste Telugu idiom. His inimitable Tanjorean Telugu style won critical  appreciation. The novel 'Krishna Teeram' was his Magnum Opus. He contributed many lyrics to Telugu Cinema. When he moved to Madras in the 1940s to contribute his poetic genius to the Telugu cinema, he associated himself with Samudrala (senior). Hence many of his good lyrics appeared under Samudrala's name for a long time. His songs 'Kanupapa karavaina kanulenduko' and Manasaina paata maarani paata' in Chiranjeevulu' are still popular. His fifteen minute Yakshaganam 'Girija Kalyanam' in 'Rahasyam' is another master piece. 'Lalita Bhava Nilaya...' and 'Sri Lalita Sivajyothi...' in the same movie and 'Rasika Raja thaguvaramu kaamaa' in Jayabheri and Madhuramaina guru deevena in 'Swaramanjari' are some of his great lyrics.

 His sons Sri malladi Suri Sastri and Sri Malladi Narasimha Sastri are also good writers. Narasimha Sasteri, apart from his original contributions to Telugu literature, translated R..K. Narayan's 'Guide' into Telugu under the title 'Margadarsi.' Suri Sastri also translated the eminent Indo Anglican writer's 'Financial Expert' into Telugu as 'Prayojakudu''.'
  Kamalakara Venkata Rao was a famous journalist associated with Krishna Patrika. His brother kamalakara Kameswara Rao was a well known film director and was honoured with the title of 'Pouranika Brahma.' He had directed many mythological films and 'Narthanasala' among them won the Afro Asian award.

 The polyglot Maddibhatla Suri was a good writer and associated with the well known film actor Prabhakara Reddy and wrote scripts for all his movies.

 Among the writers of Machilipatnam Jalasutram Rukmininatha Sastri deserves special mention as he was more recognized for his parodies and parodied almost all the writers of Telugu literature.

 Chinta Deekshitulu who produced unsurpassable fiction for children and who fascinated the imagination of boys and girls with the creation of the child characters Suri, Seethi and Venki had a long association with Machilipatnam.

 From 1950 to till date the following writers of the town, Adi Vishnu, Havis, Vihari-Salivahana, Singaraju Ramachandra Murthy, Nandam Rama Rao, Erramsetti Sayee, Chandu Sombabu, Saraswati Babu Rao and some others have contributed to the reservoir of Telugu short stories and novels. Many of these writers have settled in Hyderabad due to various reasons.
 Journals and Magazines
 Machilipatnam is also well noted for its journals and magazines in both English and Telugu. J. Edmund Sharkey founded 'Hitavadi' in 1848 and it is said to be the oldest journal of the town. 'Purushartha Pradayani' was also started in this town in 1872. 'Sujana Vinodini' was born in the year 1894 and Sri Gonugunda Kotayya Sastri was its editor for a long time. Another journal 'Rathnakaram' was also started during this year with Mallapalli Bhairava Murthy as its editor. The most famous Telugu weekly 'Krishna Patrika' which played an important role during the freedom struggle was founded by Sri Konda Venkatappayya in 1902 who edited the magazine for some time. Later Sri Mutnuri Krishna Rao and Sri Dasu Narayana Rao edited this magazine from 1907 to 1948. His articles 'Lovelugulu' fired the imagination of the literary connoisseurs of the time.

 The freedom fighter Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah started the weekly 'Janmabhoomi' in 1919 and managed it till he was imprisoned by the British Indian government in 1930.

 The freedom fighter and eminent lawyer of Narasaraopet Sri Kolavennu Ramakoteswara Rao (1894-1970) founded the English quarterly 'Triveni' in 1927. He had served earlier in Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu's 'Swarajya.' He joined the Andhra Jateeya kalasala in 1923 and later became its principal. He contributed a lot for the development of the college. 'Triveni' celebrated its silver jubilee  in Bangalore on 20th November, 1954 and its golden jubilee  in Madras on 5th March 1978. But the golden jubilee issue was released in Machilipatnam on 7th May, 1978. Sri Bhavaraju Narasimha Rao edited this magazine for many years. He established Triveni Publishers, Triveni Press and Triveni Book Depots on 11th May, 1946. He got Hon.D.Litt degree from Nagarjuna University on 22nd January 1987.

 The English monthly 'Educational India' was founded by Sri M. Seshachalam and Prof. M. Ventakata Rangayya 1934. It had the blessings of Dr. Radhakrishnan and enjoyed all India status as a prestigious educational journal.

 Kolluri Koteswara Rao, an MLC started the Telugu monthly  'Telugu Vidyarthi' in 1953 with the blessings of Prof. Venkata Rangayya.

 Sri Komaragiri Krishna Mohana Rao started the Telugu monthly 'Srivani' in January, 1985 to propagate Hindu culture and values.

 On stage, on silver screen
 Machilipatnam has a glorious history of fine arts especially the theatre. Sri Kuchibhotla Chandrasekhara Sarma was very famous for his role of Lord Krishna on the stage and won laurels from the audience. The credit for development of drama in this town goes to Devarakonda Venkata Subba Rao who moulded many actors for the stage. He himself maintained a drama troupe for over three decades. As early as in 1880 a drama troupe from Dharwad visited this town and appreciated the development of theatre here. Sri Nadendla Purushottama Sastri was instrumental in popularizing Hindi drama in the town. He himself had written many Hindi plays.

 Sri P.V. Das was one of the early pioneers of Telugu film industry. He had moved to Madras and produced the first Telugu silent movie Bhakta Prahlada. He gave publicity to this film by throwing pamphlets from a chartered plane. He was the first industrialist to set up an ice factory in Machilipatnam. The famous cine directors Sri Kamalakara Kameswara Rao and Chitrapu Narayana Murthy, Art directors Sri Thota Venkateswara Rao, Sri Vali Subba Rao, Sri C. Nageswara Rao, T.V.S. Sarma, the playwright and writer Sri Pingali Nagendra Rao, Sri Malladi Ramakrishna Sastri and music director Sri S. Nageswara Rao had a long association with Machilipatnam.

Pingali Nagendra Rao
 Pingali Nagendra Rao lived in the Circle Peta of the town. He was associated with Vijaya Vahini Studios of Nagi Reddy in Madras and contributed unforgettable lyrics for many of the movies of Vijaya Vauhini. 'Vasantha gaaliki talapulu rega' in 'Srikakula Andhra Vishnu' is one of his memorable lyrics. His songs in 'Mayabazar' and 'Gundamma katha' and like are also very popular even today.

Adavi Bapiraju
Adavi Bapiraju was a prolific writer, artiste, poet and art director, all combined into one. As a poet his volume of lyrics 'Sasikumaruni premageetalu' stirred the romantic sentiments of his contemporary youth. Among his novels 'Narayana Rao' is ranked high even today. It is the story of an ennobling role model bearing the title of the novel. His other novels Himabindu, Gonaganna Reddy, Konangi etc are also very popular. As an artist, his portrait of Tikkana, one of the trio of Nannaya, Tikkana and Errapraggada who translated Vyasa Mahabharata into Telugu, had won the encomium of art critics. Also he was art director to 'Sati Anasuya' and 'Dhruva Vijayam' in 1935 and 'Meerabai' in 1940. He attempted the production of a movie also in Madras but the details were not available.

Raghupati Venkaiah    
 Among the stalwarts of the Telugu silver screen hailing from Machilipatnam, Raghupati Venkayya (1869-1941) needs special mention. He was the son of Appala Naidu, a subedar in the Indian army. By the time, silent movies had become popular in India, Venkayya had established himself as a photographer in Mount Road, Madras. Then he was barely 18. He established a touring tent cinema in 1909. He visited Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and exhibited his films of various lengths. On his return he constructed a permanent theatre in Madras in 1913 and named it Gaiety Cinema. Encouraged by the revenue the theatre had generated, he built two more cinema halls Crown and Globe. The name Globe was later changed into Roxy. He constructed a glass roofed film studio in the premises of the Globe Theatre and named it as the Star of the East Film Company. Bheeshma Pratijna was the first full length feature film produced in this studio.

 Chitrapu Narayana Murthy was another film director of repute hailing from this town. Among the numerous films he had directed, 'Bhakta Sabari.' Krishna Prema' and Bhakta Prahlada can be said to be his best directed movies.

 The popular tragi-comic actor Sutti Velu also belongs to Machilipatnam and Srivariki Premalekhalu is one of his hit movies.
                                                       (To be continued)


  1. History of Machilipatnam is very informative and educative as well. Efforts by people like you will certainly will bring back glory to our state, shall I call it residual state of Andhra.

  2. Very informative and Educative Article.
    But a small correction related to fact, Sri Thota Narsiah Naidu did indeed succumb to a lot of police blows, and severely injured, but he did survive and breathed his last in late 1960's

    I can ascertain this fact as I am his grand daughter. If possible please do correct this information.

    1. Dear Madam,
      I have carried out the correction suggested by you. Sorry for the delay.

    2. Thank You Narasimha,Its indeed a great and descriptive article.Kudos to you for collaborating all of this.

      however, This line still exists "That day, Thota Narasaiah, one of the above mentioned trio lost his life due to the fatal blows rained on his by the police." I believe this was missed out in your corrections.

  3. Excellent work by Sri Jonnalagadda in collecting the data and presenting. Waiting for the other parts.

  4. Thank you. Could you tell us if there is a list of people who were involved in the freedom fight? I'm searching for my Grandfather's name during that time and he fought. I never met him but my mother (recently passed away) always spoke about him. I'm sure he was there at the time. It would be nice if there is some record of these heroes. Thanks. Nice article and informative. Will share.

  5. Is there any record of Thota Periah Naidu, one of the founder of Andhra Bank? He owned a house that he purchased from a French man in the last century and the house still stands today. He is my mother's great grand father.

  6. so great of you sri Jonnalagadda for writing about Machilipatnam! I could visit your blog as part of my search for Purana Vyra Grandhamala of Kavi Samrat Sri Viswanatha Satyanarayana (who worked in Andhra Jateeya Kalasala -where I had also studied my Intermediate course.
    I am proud to be born and brought up in Machilipatnam.
    you might add about Andhra Bank and Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetharamayya.
    Andhra Jateeya Kalasala, Jai Hind Secondary School and even the oldest college like Noble College!
    Among the temples- Siva Ganga temple now in Saradanagar!
    About the sweets- Bandaru laddu, halwa...!
    Our teacher scholars who worked at Jai Hind School ... like Mallapragada Sriranga Rao and Sanatkumara Sarma(poet known as Satabhisham)
    Triveni press, Emesko books
    the then Andhra Scientific company now taken over by BEL.....
    Prof. Dr. Mohan Rao Bolla, Principal, Kristu Jayanti College of Law and visiting Professor, Alliance University, Bengaluru.