“Meena” by Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani: Book Review

The cover image and the blurb of a very old book caught my eye at my grandparents’ home one summer. On an impulse, I read the book. To my pleasant surprise, this two-part series turned out to be my most cherished read, which stayed with me long after, and there began my love affair with the author.

meena1andhramirchi

Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani, her stories, her plots and her writing are such a delight. If you are interested purely in the tale, the narrative and the emotions, she is unparalleled. She makes you her slave, driving your emotions from love to extreme hate in a matter of a few pages.

She surely is a progressive writer of her generation. Never are her heroines doormats. She challenges societal obligations in most of her books, and Meena is no different.

What makes the book so special? It is Meena – the main character – and a host of other characters that surround & compliment her. Meena is not your regular do-gooder, demure heroine. She is nosy, she is temperamental, she is impulsive, and she is absolutely terrified of her mother. And all these qualities drive her every move, making this an insane ride. Even when you are exasperated with her, you will still be rooting for her.

The story, like you all guessed, revolves around the heroine, her silent rebellion against her mother, her escape from an unwanted wedding , her attempt to reunite feuding families, and how she succeeds in marrying the love of her life against all odds. The way the relationship between the hero and the heroine plays out, draws out a smile from you at the end, leaving you thrilled.

The other important characters include the hero and the mother, who are different yet similar, and stay at two ends of the spectrum, pulling the heroine towards each other. She swings, she sways, and at the end, she swings them around. And there is a silent father in the background, who stays mute to the goings-on around him in his attempt to not hurt his loved ones.

meena2andhramirchi1

Yaddanapudi is very good with details. Every scene unveils in front of you. The way she describes two seemingly opposite things with the same note, be it the comparison between urban & rural people, or the different lifestyles of the affluent and the poor, evokes empathy, and leaves you in splits at the same time. The way she doesn’t miss even the minutest of things is so commendable, and overall, charming to read.

If the names Yaddanapudi & Bapu (whose illustration is on the cover page) don’t convince you to give it a try, then – brace yourself – your favorite director/writer would. Trivikram Srinivas is a fan, of the author in general, and of Meena in particular. His debut movie, Nuvve Nuvve, is heavily inspired from this, and he has a host of other episodes in different movies which were inspired from the author’s other prominent works.

You would think it was written in this decade if packaged right, while actually it was written sometime around the ’70s, when the Birla Mandir was newly built. It is that fresh. And it comes with glorious recommendations from three generations of my family.

6 thoughts on ““Meena” by Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani: Book Review

  1. this 2G 3G &4G generation people donot read such family attachments they said trash all these things but again say sOLD IS GOLD not in novels lifestyle allso ISI marks

    Like

  2. Intha rasaru andi, inka konchum a aa movie ki original novel ki similarities and differences rayaradu ? I strongly feel you should write a post comparing the novel to the movie

    Like

  3. I read Yaddanapudi books for 1) style, 2) vivid descriptions of characters and 3) great word picture painted in each chapter. As an avid reader those days, realized there was Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte (Secretary resembles Jane Eyre) influence on her writings. As far as her being a progressive writer; please, she wasn’t. Every novel of hers shows self respect only to the extent the Princely looking hero would allow her to be. In one novel the hero rapes the heroine, but it was her fault (really??) and in another the hero drugs and marries the girl to in the pretence to protect his brother from her. Again, really? Marrying a woman against her will is progressive? Progressive writer was Ranganayamma garu at that time, but she wrote books 50 years too early. Dwivedula Visalakshi had some wonderful novels, “ekkavalasina railu” was my favourite then. It’s a long time ago since I read. There were several good writers in 70s.
    Meena was actually, one novel I liked and hoped Vanisri and Shoban babu or ANR will do under KS Prakash Rao direction. Didn’t happen. A Aa was the better adaptation of that book keeping in view of the times. One change I think was Krishna (Anand Vihari in the movie) was step son in the novel.

    That’s my two cents – I couldn’t resist the idea to call a romantic novel writer as a progressive writer. Having said that, loved to read her books as young person; Yaddanapudi garu can tell a story!! What a stylish writer. I admired her for that.

    Like

Please post your comments below!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s