25 Years of Pedarayudu: A remake that uplifted Mohan Babu’s career

Pedarayudu is an important milestone in the diverse career of its leading man, Mohan Babu, spanning more than four decades now. It came at a time where he had to reinvent himself after he hit a roadblock with his career, with a string of action entertainers biting the dust. The rural family drama penned by Tamil writer Erode Sounder, and directed by ‘remake specialist’ Ravi Raja Pinisetty was moist with emotion, had terrific music by Koti, a surprisingly restrained Mohan Babu and a swashbuckling cameo by the actor’s good friend Rajinikanth.

The gripping screenplay with Satyamurthy’s catchy dialogues were an added attraction – who can forget the lines ‘the relationship between a wife and a husband must be like..’ that continues to inspire memes even today. The film was so well made that they thought it was an original film and not a remake – the adaptation from Tamil to Telugu felt seamless. Soundarya had reprised Meena’s role from Tamil, while Bhanupriya was cast in an elderly role that Khushboo had played.

The Tamil original Nattamai too was no less a hit. It gave a fillip to the careers of many, particularly its leading man Sarath Kumar and director K S Ravikumar. Sarath Kumar, who was just a growing actor by then, had become an overnight sensation with the double role that offered a wide scope to exhibit the range of his histrionics. In fact, Rajinikanth was so buoyed by the public reaction to Nattamai that he was keen on the private screening of the film. The star gave a bear hug to the director K S Ravikumar and immediately wanted to work with him – it was for the film Muthu and need we say more about the sensation it created in Telugu and Tamil?

Interestingly, Mohan Babu wasn’t the first person to approach for the remake rights of Pedarayudu. It was Chiranjeevi who expressed interest to act in the remake and approached the Tamil film producers and director for its rights. However, Mohan Babu took a different channel and sought help from his friend Rajinikanth to play truce and give a preference for the remake rights. The deal was signed – Mohan Babu had won the race. As a gesture for a friend, the star also went onto make a special appearance in Peda Rayudu without charging any remuneration. The rest was history. However, it’s interesting to think what Chiranjeevi would have brought to the role too.

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