To many, Maya Bazaar is all about nostalgia. To the rest of us - who weren't around then - it's all about being devoured by cinema.
The purists might turn their noses up at the digital tampering. However, the 16.7 million new shades of colour, while being the new Maya Bazaar's USP, aren't the only reason it works. It's a combination of visual remastering (adding colour, as well as converting the movie to Cinemascope), audio enhancement to DTS, and a cinematic experience of watching it in a theatre - that add up to literally wash you away into another time.
And also to reaffirm a rather age-old truth - Maya Bazaar is hardly a movie to be rated. It's somewhat like rating the sunrise - what you are is what you'll see.
This comedy is based on a mythological folk tale that draws its backdrop from the Mahabharata. Balarama (Gummadi) and his sister Subhadra (Rushyendra Mani), Arjuna's wife, agree to get their respective children married once they're old enough. Sasirekha (Savitri), the former's daughter, and Abhimanyu (ANR), the latter's son, thus have been in love with each other since their childhood.
However, after the Pandavas' exile, owing to Subhadra's loss of royal status, the family is given a rather unabashed cold shoulder by Balarama's wife Revathi (Chaya Devi). Meanwhile, the Kauravas, led by Sakuni (CSR Anjaneyulu), see political gain in getting the Yadava head Balarama onto their side in case of a full-blown war with the Pandavas. So plans are now afoot to get Sasirekha married to Lakshmana Kumara (Relangi), the son of Duryodhana (Mukkamala).
Steering the wayward boat of ethics back to its right course is Lord Krishna (NTR). Ghatotkacha (S V Ranga Rao), Bheema's half-Rakshasa son endowed with magical powers, is enlisted in the task of uniting Abhimanyu and Sasirekha. Much hilarity later, all ends well.
Don't get misled - colour hasn't really made it Sanjay Leela Bhansali-esque opulent (given the technical limitations of the time, nothing can). The experience is quite overpowering nevertheless, especially when you remember that here was a team that pushed the limits of movie-making in those days.
Maya Bazaar faithfuls will notice that the flick has indeed been "touched up". A few editing changes have been made, the background track has been reworked on in some scenes, and a run time of about 10 minutes has been chopped away because of the poor quality of film.
The powerful casting is one of the factors responsible for having etched the characters into the minds of several generations. The film gently but firmly reminds you that there was only one of each of this high-powered galaxy of stars - one Savitri, one NTR, one S V Ranga Rao, one CSR, one Gummadi.
Then, there's the crisp writing, the sharp wit, and the play with language. Impeccable diction was a given in the era anyway, and it makes an attempt at mythology look more relevant then than now.
The revamped soundtrack nudges you to acknowledge the supremacy of Ghantasala's music - royal and classical, and rather the intricately woven zari border to the exquisite saree.
In the end, the whole turns out to be more than the sum of its parts. Well, whichever decade you were born in, we can't think of a good enough reason you'd miss this in a theatre.