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Samajavaragamana Episode 1 Review: A tale of a reluctant singer trying to move past a personal tragedy

The first episode of aha Mini's latest YouTube web series Samajavaragamana, starring Mounika Reddy, Pavan Sidhu, Haritha is out

Srivathsan Nadadhur
Jan 05, 2022
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Telugu OTT platform aha is back with a new web series Samjavaragamana, released as part of its YouTube originals section aha Minis. The show stars Mounika Reddy, Pavan Sidhu, Haritha Jackie, Prithvi Jhakaas, Vicky, Suman, Dolly Gayathri, Swathi Munaganti and Sakhi in key roles. Vandhana Bandaru has penned the story while Raghuram Bahuthama is in charge of the screenplay. Karthi directs the show that has music by Ananth Srikar. The first episode of Samajavaragamana was released earlier this week.

The show starts with an elderly woman (Haritha) in a temple, getting ready for a classical music concert along with her daughter Shruti. Shruti takes a while to arrive at the venue but the two make up for the lost time with a mellifluous rendition of a pancharatna kriti Sadhinchene. The scene later shifts to Shruti's house, where she asks her mother what has music given to her but for penury despite being such a good singer? Shruti's music videos are extremely popular in her college, with both her friends and teachers applauding her abilities.

While the mother wants her daughter to make a career in music, the latter is keen to join a business school. All hell breaks loose when Shruti needs to come to terms with the death of a loved one. A friend advises her to shift to Hyderabad for a few days to try her luck as a playback singer. Meanwhile, a company in Hyderabad is looking to introduce a new singer to the film industry and they come across Shruti's video online. What will this opportunity mean to Shruti? The episode ends at a dramatic moment.

There are very few filmmakers in the Telugu industry who truly understand the storytelling sensibilities of the digital medium. Samajavaragamana looks more like a television soap than an episode in a web show. The acting is amateurish, the plot is too old-school and the treatment is quite dated. Samajavaragamana's plot borrows a leaf out of K Viswanath's Swarna Kamalam, where the dance backdrop in the story is replaced by music besides a few other minor changes. It remains to be seen if the show moves past these similarities.

YouTube web shows offer a great opportunity to experiment with many subjects but the Telugu digital space is stuck in a time warp. They are either inspired by feature films or shows from the West and have nothing original to tell. Will Samajavaragamana recover from the shaky start? 

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