The very first time I heard about "Radha Madhu" TV serial was when I accidentally came across a post on Orkut called "Hammayya! Radha Madhu ayipoyindhi!!" That was sometime in 2008. From the title of the post, I thought it was one of those tiring daily TV serials whose negative (reel) is long enough to go around the Earth a 100 times! So, I wasn't naturally inclined to know more about it then.
Now, after more than 5 years, I heard about it again. My brother asked me to watch it and told me I'd like it. It just so happened that I had ample lonely time to kill and it was my bro's idea to keep myself occupied. So, I thought, I'd give it a try. I had no idea what I was getting into and never imagined that it'd take so much control over my life until I finished watching the last (450th) episode of it! I got so indulged in it, that at times, I watched it for many straight hours daily. I even skipped sleep a couple of times! :)
Gangaraju Gunnam should be appreciated for producing such a good serial. He is a passionate filmmaker and the kind of movies and serials he does says it all. Special thanks to the dialogue writer, Azad, for coming up with some excellent conversations/dialogues. They are too good for a serial, especially the ones between the lead pair. Speaking of which, casting Kalyan Prasad as 'Radha Krishna' and Mounika as 'Madhulika' is half the victory for the producer and the director. What a fantastic on-screen chemistry they got! Chemistry doesn't have to necessarily mean romance. To me, it is all about how well an actor and actress look and perform together in any kind of scene - be it romantic, comedy, emotional, serious, melodrama or even mime. I think the audience loved them together so much that Gangaraju Gunnam made "Laya", his very next serial after Radha Madhu, with the same lead pair! They look absolutely like made-for-each-other.
Kalyan Prasad did well for the most part, given the limitations of his character. The director, Subba Raju did a decent job overall but a terrific job with Mounika.
I wanted to save the best for last, and that is "Mounika". It is no exaggeration when I say that the serial wouldn't have been the same without her. She brought life and soul to Madhulika's character. Of course, the due credit should also be given to the writer for etching such a wonderful character and the director as well for extracting the much needed performance out of her to justify the writer's vision of the character. I've admired only 3 actresses so far - 'Mahanati' Savitri garu, Sridevi and Soundarya, and that is very few for someone like me who practically lives on movies! Now, Mounika is in my fave list too. She, as Madhulika proves yet again that one can never be more beautiful than being simple, elegant and dignified! The greatest asset of any actor/actress is his/her strong screen presence. Mounika has that in abundance and she steals the show throughout. She can easily stand out in a group and mesmerize the audience with her performance. Watch out for some of her million-dollor expressions! She has this amazing aura around her that will instantly hook you on to her! I personally feel that comedy and emotional scenes are harder to perform in a convincing manner. If displaying emotions is tough, displaying subtle emotions is even tougher. Madhulika's character is filled with subtle emotions and Mounika does it all with finesse. I really wish one of the last few episodes had a scene with Madhulika crying her heart out though! I didn't feel like the character was complete without it.
After watching the serial completely, I now have a different take on the Orkut post title I mentioned above. The serial has got some interesting screenplay where you tend to think that Radha and Madhu are getting closer gradually, yet they go far away from each other. The last few twists in the story make you restless, desperate and make you feel that it's about time Radha and Madhu had settled their differences and lived together happily ever after.
I kept thinking all along that I wish I had watched it earlier but kept telling myself, "It's better late than never!"