Daana Veera Soora Karna

Daana Veera Soora Karna is a 1977 Telugu Hindu mythological film produced and directed by N. T. Rama Rao under his Ramakrishna Cine Studios banner. It is regarded as one of the greatest films of Telugu Film Industry. It stars N. T. Rama Rao playing three roles: Karna, Duryodhana and Krishna and also starred his sons Nandamuri Harikrishna and Nandamuri Balakrishna, who played the roles of Arjuna and Abhimanyu respectively. Music was composed by Pendyala Nageswara Rao. The film was recorded as a Blockbuster at the box office.

Daana Veera Soora Karna
Daana Veera Soora Karna.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byN. T. Rama Rao
Produced byN. T. Rama Rao
Written byKondaveeti Venkatakavi (dialogues)
Screenplay byN. T. Rama Rao
Story byN. T. Rama Rao
StarringN. T. Rama Rao
Nandamuri Balakrishna
Nandamuri Harikrishna
B. Saroja Devi
Music byPendyala Nageswara Rao
Edited byG. D. Joshi
Distributed byMayuri
Release date
  • 14 January 1977 (1977-01-14)
Running time
226 minutes
Budget10 lakhs
Box office1.5 crores(equivalent to 34 crores in 2019)


The story is based on the life of Karna from the Mahabharata. The film begins with a box containing a baby boy floating in river Ganga, rescued by charioteer Adhiratha (Chalapathi Rao), he adopts him and names him as Karna. Years roll by, once Karna (N. T. Rama Rao) spots Dronacharya (Rajanala) taking off Ekalavya's (Jaya Bhaskar) thumb to make Arjuna (Nandamuri Harikrishna) as a supreme. Karna accuses the deed and challenges that he will always be a competitor for Arjuna. At that moment, Ekalavya's sister Vrishali (B. Saroja Devi) loves Karna. After that, Karna reaches Parasurama (Gummadi), asks him to be his mentor which he accepts and makes Karna expert in all fields of archery. One day when Parasurama sleeps on his lap when Indra (again Chalapathi Rao) takes the form of bug and bites Karna but bears the pain. Due to the blood flow, Parasurama awakes, recognizes him as a Kshatriya and curses him that the arts he has learned will become incapable. But afterward, he realizes him as a Sutaputra, but unable to take back his curse, so, he compensates with his bow, couch, and chariot. Now Karna moves towards the Hastinapuram, on the way, Indra in the form of a lion, tries to kill a cow of a Brahmin. To protect it, Karna shoots an arrow which misfires, the cow dies and the Brahmin curses him to die in a helpless situation. After reaching the capital, a baby girl taking ghee accidentally slips. Karna not able see her weeping, so, squeezes the ghee from the soil when Bhudevi also curses him that in his last stage he will be insulted by crushing his chariot wheel into her. At the fort, tournaments have been conducted where Dronacharya praises Arjuna as a master of archery when Karna arrives and challenges him. But Karna is insulted on account of his low birth when Duryodhana (again N. T. Rama Rao) saves his pride, by making him king of Anga. Here, Karna dedicates his life to Duryodhana and both of them become soulmates.

After some time, Duryodhana is invited to Rajasuyayaga by Dharmaraja (Prabhakar Reddy) and they reach Indraprastha, Duryodhana visits the Mayasabha, where he trips & falls into a pool and observers Draupadi is laughing at him. Then he vows to avenge for the insult when they decide a war, but Shakuni (Dhulipala) calms him down and ploy by inviting Dharmaraja to a dice game. Dharamaraja loses everything in the game including himself, his brothers and also Draupadi (Sarada) too. Draupadi is humiliated by Dushyashana when Lord Krishna (once again N. T. Rama Rao) protects her chastity. Thereafter, the Pandavas are forced into exile for 13 years. Time passes, the Pandavas successfully complete Aranya & Agnathavasam, Lord Krishna moves as a mediator for negotiations, but it fails. After that, Krishna meets Karna, reveals his birth secret and asks him to join with his brothers to which Karna disagrees due to loyalty and indebtedness towards Duryodhana. Meanwhile, Duryodhana & Arjuna approach Krishna to seek his support in the battle when Krishna divides his force into two, he himself on one side and entire Yadava army on the other side and leaves the first choice to Arjuna. Without any hesitation, Arjuna chooses Krishna when Duryodhana feels happy, but did not understand the real form of Krishna. Before the war, Bhishma (Mikkilineni) is appointed as a chief commander when he insults Karna by recognizing him as Ardharatha. Furious, Karna takes an oath, until Bhishma presence, he will not enter the battlefield. The war begins, Bhishma collapses, he calls Karna on his Alpaseyam arrow bed, says sorry and explains, to protect the piety he has done such misdeed. Karna takes his blessing and enters the battlefield. At present, Dronacharya is the chief commander who gives a boon to Duryodhana to capture Dharmaraja alive when he plans for Padmavyuha in the absence of Arjuna. At that stage, to protect the Pandavas honor, Abhimanyu (Nandamuri Balakrishna) enters the battlefield. Solo Abhimanyu defeats and vanquishes most of the army when Kauravas, use a crooked false strategy, Duryodhana insists Karna destroy his bow and they all at once kill him brutally. That night, Karna weeps at Abhimanyu's dead body, feels very low and conforms, declares, in reality, he himself has died and Abhimanyu became immortal.

Next morning, when Karna is returning offering from prayers to the Sun god, Krishna sends Kunti to request him to accompany the Pandavas or else take an oath that he should not kill them. Thereupon, Karna blames Kunti for her deed which resulted in heavy destruction. Even then he gives a boon that except Arjuna he will not kill anyone, on an assurance, if he dies, she will have five sons if Arjuna dies then also she will have five sons. Next day, on the battlefield, Karna leaves remaining Pandavas even he gets an opportunity and uses Nagastram on Arjuna, but Lord Krishna protects him. Here Krishna knows that it is difficult to defeat Karna containing armor body Kavachakundalalu, so, he sends Indra in a disguised form of a Brahmin who begs for his armors. Even aware of reality, Karna donates it, pleased with Karna's generosity, Indra gifts him a powerful weapon Vimalam, but states that he can use it only once. Karna plans it to use on Arjuna, but unfortunately, that night Ghatokacha attacks Kauravas camps, in that critical situation Karna uses it on him. Next day, Selya (Mukkamala), the maternal uncle of the Pandavas is appointed as the charioteer of Karna who demoralizes him as per Krishna's instructions. Finally, at his last stage, all the curses work together and he collapses. At that point in time, Krishna explains the glory of Karna to Arjuna, he reaches him in the form of Bramhin with begs arms where Karna breaks his golden tooth and donates to him with his blood. Simultaneously, Kunti also arrives, reveals the birth secret of Karna to the whole world. Listening to it, angered Dharmaraja gives a curse to the women that they cannot hold any secret. Karna dies in Kunti's lap and his soul enters into the Sun God. Looking at it, disheartened, Duryodhana leaves the war and hides in a lake. But Pandavas provocate him to get out, Dharmaraja asks him to select any one of them as his equivalent to complete the war where he selects Bheema (Satyanarayana). In between the battle, Krishna secretly signs the life secret of Duryodhana which is in thighs and Bheema attacks it which is against the war principle. Before dying, he accuses Krishna that Is this a piety of a God?. Finally, the movie ends with Duryodhana & Karna meeting in heaven and showing the world that their friendship is immortal.




Daana Veera Soora Karna
Soundtrack album by
LabelEMI Columbia Audio
ProducerPendyala Nageswara Rao

Music composed by Pendyala Nageswara Rao. Music released on EMI Columbia Audio Company.

S. No Song Title Lyrics Singers length
1 "Ye Thalli Ninu Kannadho" C. Narayana Reddy P. Susheela 3:05
2 "Jayeebhava Vijayeebhava" C. Narayana Reddy SP Balu, G. Anand 3:21
3 "Chithram Bhalaare Vichitram" C. Narayana Reddy SP Balu, P. Susheela 3:23
4 "Telisenule Priyaa Rasikaa" C. Narayana Reddy S. Janaki, P. Susheela 4:32
5 "Raara Itu Raara" C. Narayana Reddy S. Janaki 3:23
6 "Anna Devudu Ledhana" C. Narayana Reddy S. Janaki 3:13
7 "Idhira Dhora Madhiraa" C. Narayana Reddy S. Janaki 3:58
8 "Yela Santhaapammu" C. Narayana Reddy V. Ramakrishna 4:03
9 "Kalagantino Swamy" Dasaradhi Madhavapeddi Ramesh, P. Susheela 3:57


The film was completed in 43 working days, which was a record, given that each of the three characters played by N. T. Rama Rao took at least three hours to put on the makeup and two hours to remove it. NTR never used to see the rushes before the release; thus they edited the film within days, without seeing the rushes. Kannappa, who earlier worked for NTR's Manushulanta Okkate worked for this film, too. As there was no time for the work to be checked, one can notice the wire work in a couple of scenes, but the audience never bothered about that. Mayasabha work was not completed by the time of the shooting. So, NTR took close-ups while the paintings were done and long shots once it was completed, in order to save time. However, this detail did not reflect on the screen. Harikrishna and Balakrishna also painted the sets along with the art department personnel.


Many films were based on the Mahabharata in Telugu; the difference between those films and this one is the characterization of Duryodhana. While making the Sree Krishna Pandaveeyam itself, NTR projected Duryodhana as "Suyodhana" with a positive touch to the role. In this film, he projected Duryodhana as a well-educated person who knew dharma and other things much better than anyone. Some people even say that the title of the movie could actually have been Maanadhana Veera Suyodhana — such is the importance and characterization of Suyodhana.


This is the first film shot in Ramakrishna Cine Studios in Hyderabad that was started on 7 June 1976 by Tamil superstar M. G. Ramachandran. On the same day, he clapped the muhurta shot for this film. This is the 248th film for N. T. Rama Rao, the fifth film for both Balakrishna and Harikrishna, and the third film under the Ramakrishna Cine Studios banner.


Initially, N. T. Rama Rao wanted Akkineni Nageswara Rao to play the role of Lord Krishna as helm Chanakya Chandragupta if he was given a choice. NTR's original plan at that time was to make Chanakya Chandragupta with him in the role of Chanakya and Nandamuri Balakrishna in the role of Chandragupta Maurya. When ANR was offered to do the role of Chanakya, NTR made changes accordingly and did the role of Chandragupta. However, the script was not ready yet, and there was news that Kamalakara Kameswara Rao was planning the film Kurukshetram with a story line similar to Daana Veera Soora Karna. Thus, NTR started working on Daana Veera Soora Karna immediately with an intent to release the film for Sankranti at any cost.

Sharada, who worked with NTR in Jeevita Chakram many years prior, acted as Draupadi. She had a lot of doubts before agreeing to do the role. Most of all, she was nervous to work with NTR as she was aware of his strictness. On the first day of the shooting, she was so nervous that she took a lot of takes for her part. After the shooting for the day, NTR talked to her and made her more comfortable. After that film, she did many films with him. Actually, her re-entry into the films in her second innings was with the NTR's Chandashasanudu.

Chalapathi Rao did Four roles (Jarasandha, Atiratha, Indra, Dhristadyumna) and also appears in two other getups as disguises of Indra, while Jaya Bhaskar did a dual role (Surya, Ekalavya). It was NTR who gave a chance to Dhulippala as Shakuni in the film Sree Krishna Pandaveeyam. For this film also, he was chosen for the same role for a remuneration of Rs. 1116/-!

Balakrishna played the role of Abhimanyu, which got him very good recognition. Harikrishna did the role of Arjuna. After Tatamma Kala, this was the second and the last film where all the three of them worked together. This was the only film in which you can see NTR's daughters, even for a second, on the screen in the dance scene of "Jabili Kante Challanidi". Though the complete song was shot, ANR suggested that the scene should be deleted and NTR took out the song before the censor. However, one can still see his daughters on the screen for a moment.

The scene of Indra meeting Karna asking him his Kavacha Kundalas is also a famous scene in the movie.

Script and dialoguesEdit

After much mulling over and asking around, they finally zeroed in on Kondaveeti Venkatakavi to write the script and dialogues for the film. At that time, he was the principal of a Sanskrit college. Kondaveeti Venkatakavi (KVK) was an atheist, and he thus rejected the offer. When NTR personally went and requested, he was unable to say no and both NTR and KVK started working on the script. With this film, KVK got a lot of names.

Dialogues of the film became very popular. The film's dialogues were released as LP and audio cassettes and sold very well. HMV, the company that released the audio, claims that there are considerable sales of the cassettes, and CDs, even now. Particular scenes such as the first meeting of Karna and Suyodhana, Shakuni's encouragement to Suyodhana to go to the raajasUya yaagam, the Mayasabha scene and the subsequent mental upset of Suyodhana, the scene that precedes Draupadi's vastraapaharaNam, and the raayabaaram scene are all famous for their lengthy and complicated dialogues.

The dialogues were immensely popular even though they were in chaste bookish Telugu (graanthikamu). Notable is the "positive spin" that the dialogues give to Duryodhana's character without changing the original story any much, particularly in scenes such as vastraapaharaNam and raayabaaram, where he projects himself as the good guy and Pandavas and Krishna as crooked minds. While most mythological and folkloric movies since the 1950s were all in more or less colloquial tongue (vaaDuka bhaasha), this movie from the 1970s used graanthika bhaasha completely.


  • Most of the verses in DVS Karna are taken from Paandavodyoga Vijayam and Sree Krishna Raayabaram by the famous poet duo Tirupati Venkata Kavulu. Pundareekakshayya had got the rights for these while making the film Sreekrishnaavataaram in the past. Krishna wanted to use them for Kuruskshetram and gave a blank cheque to Pundareekakshayya, who refused the offer and gave the rights to NTR for free.
  • S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Peesapati Raghuramayya (who was famous on the stage for the role of Krishna) sang the Raayabaram verses initially, but NTR was not satisfied with that. He even thought of using the verses that originally rendered by Ghantasala for the film Shri Krishnavataram. It was Saluri Rajeswara Rao who suggested to use V. Ramakrishna for the verses. Once the film was released, Ramakrishna got a lot of name.
  • Padmalaya Studios got the rights of Ghantasala's Bhagavadgeeta audio after his death and used those verses in Kurukshetram, while DVS Karna has "prosaic" Bhagavadgeeta for the most part.
  • Initially, Saluri Rajeswara Rao was the music director for the film. The songs "Ye Thalli Ninu Kannadho" and the verses were all set to music by him. While he recorded the songs, rest of them were done by Pendyala Nageshwara Rao. However, the title card shows only Pendyala's name. The film has ten songs and 35 verses.


The film was censored on 12 January 1977 and was released on 14 January. (DVS Karna was released with 30 prints in all, but Gemini was unable to print all 30 prints in the short time given, and thus the film was released in 14 centers on the first day and in 16 centers the next day.) The film ran for 100 days in 9 centers and 250 days in Hyderabad Shanti Theatre. DVS Karna's cost was less than ten lakhs. It earned more than one crore in the first run itself! Another record of the film was that it was sold for 60 lakhs for the repeat run in 1994 with 30 prints and earned more than one crore in the repeat run too! (The distributors invested ten thousand per area and got a one scope print per district from Gemini Labs).

DVS Karna can be claimed to be one of the lengthiest films in Telugu film industry and even in the Indian film industry on the whole. Its running time is 4 hrs 17 minutes. Out of this, NTR can be seen on the screen for nearly four hours, which is also a record. (Though Raj Kapoor's magnum opus Mera Naam Joker runs for 4 hrs 24 minutes, the film was later trimmed by forty minutes.) A Russian cultural group that visited India at that time saw the film and was wonderstruck with the film, and NTR's abilities that sustained and entertained a lengthy film.

Box office performanceEdit

  • The film had a 100-day run in 9 centres.[1]
  • The film had a 250-day run in Hyderabad.[2]
  • The film collected huge amounts in its time and even in repeat runs.

DVS Karna was the second Telugu film after Lava Kusa to collect ₹1 Crores and first Telugu film to collect ₹2 Crores(with an average ticket price being ₹1)in 1977.[2]

In the first twenty years after its release, DVS Karna sold the highest number of tickets beating all the new releases for the year in 13 different years. Lava Kusa is the only other movie with re-run value of three releases. Given the arrival of DVDs etc., it is unlikely that any Telugu movie ever made will sell as many tickets as DVS Karna sold over 16 crore tickets during a 15-year period. In the same day dvs karna and krishna's kurukshetram released. Though kurukshetram made with high budget and values, it was disaster but dvskarna made lot of records.


  • VCDs and DVDs on - Universal Videos, SHALIMAR Video Company, Hyderabad


External linksEdit