Actor Balakrishna is known for his over-the-top films which have given ample fodder for meme-makers. Now, an edited scene from his old film Prananiki Pranam, which released in 1990, has surfaced online, leading to much mirth. The scene, which now seems hilarious, is making its rounds on social media with some critiquing it for the apparent toxic masculinity.
In the scene, Raja (Balakrishna) who is languishing in jail after being accused of murder, ties the thaali (mangalsutra for Hindi speakers) to Lalitha (Ranjani Praveena) through the bars of the prison. You're not allowed to ask whether jail authorities would allow such a thing to happen - the film was made in 1990, and even now, one cannot rule out such scenes in a Balayya film.
Although Raja, who is falsely accused, is hopeful of proving his innocence and coming out of jail, Lalitha insists that he ties the thaali in the prison itself, for reasons best known to her. Raja, however, tells Lalitha that the thaali should be tied with vedas and mantras, and in front of a holy fire (Hindu tradition). But Lalitha has an epic comeback which Raja cannot dodge: "Getting married to you is important, the venue is not." Raja then ties the knot and you assume that it is a happy ending - that's where you go wrong - there's a twist!-- well... after a song, of course.
This portion has been edited out of the viral clip, but we wish it hadn't because it makes the scene even more absurd, to put it mildly. Raja and Lalitha in the dream song have their first night (euphemism for sex in Indian cinema). Suddenly, the jailer wakes them up from the dream, and reminds the couple that Raja needs to be taken to court for trial. Here, director Chalasani Rama Rao uses the 'thaali sentiment' which was in vogue in those days.
Raja forgets that he is in jail and that there are bars in between. He ties the thaali around Lalitha's neck. However, when Lalitha is about to leave the prison, she is held back because the thaali is tied around one of the bars. Using the metaphor that the bar is like her fate, acting as an obstacle to her married life, Lalitha weeps that she's uncertain if she will remain a married woman or become a widow.
The jailer, who has scant regard for the emotions of this revolutionary newlywed couple, says that either she should untie the thaali or ask Raja to remove it. To this, Lalitha tells Raja, "The Law is threatening to snap the thaali which you tied just a moment ago." Raja, who was calm and composed all this while, assures Lalitha that her thaali will remain intact and does the unthinkable - he bends and removes the bar!
Though such scenes were common in those days, social media can't get enough of this clip.
The film was produced by Vijaya Sarathi. Here's some trivia - Balayya's title in the credits is 'King of Kings'. More trivia: one of the poster of the film had a shot from the bar-breaking scene. If this viral clip has tempted you to watch the whole film, you'll be pleased to know that it's available on YouTube.