Curvy heroines replace scarecrows in AP


Curvy heroines replace scarecrows in AP

Images of Telugu heroines Samanta, Shriya, Trisha, Anushka, Kajal and Tamannah are in great demand not only in urban centres but also in the fields of cash crops grown in the coastal Andhra region.

These images have replaced the effigies of demi-gods and demons, acting as scarecrows in plantations and green fields of many villages in East Godavari district, aimed at warding off “evil eyes” of passersby and birds from ripe crops.

In the past during the season when cash crops, including tobacco, maize, cashew and sugarcane ripened, farmers resorted to using effigies of devils to ward off “evil eyes” of passersby from affecting the yield of their crops, says Pydithalli Gopala Rao, a farmer of the Ryali village of Mamidikuduru mandal, in the district.

Images of heroines of the latest blockbusters such as Tamannah’s from “Cameraman Gangato Rambabu” and Shruti Hassan’s from “Gabbar Singh”, a remake of Hindi film “Dabangg”, are in great demand. “People stare at these images instead of casting their eyes on our crops,” says Ankella Prabhakar Rao, a sugarcane and cashew farmer.

He is among the 50 farmers of Ryali village on the banks of the Godavari  who pioneered cash crop cultivation in the region. In his village, there are nearly 200 images of Telugu film stars in the fields, spread over 30,000 acres of maize, cashew, sugarcane, plantations and nurseries.

The scene is similar in Ravulapalem, Amalapuram and Ambajipeta mandals in the Kona seema region of Coastal Andhra, also known as the rice bowl and coconut corridor of the state.

“Since we are on the banks of the Godavari our fields are evergreen and catch the eyes of all motorists and visitors which we feel will reduce our yield.

Hence we thought of putting colourful images of film heroines to ward off the evil eye of visitors,” explains Bhramara, Prabhakar Rao’s wife, who is herself a progressive farmer and self help group leader in the village.

For the past three years, farmers of this village have been successfully experimenting with heroines’ images which has now spread to over 30 other villages in the agriculturally-rich Kona seema region on the banks of the Godavari river.

It is now copied in most of the fields on the Howrah national highway across West and East Godavari districts. “We have found a new market for digital prints and flex prints of film heroines,” says Sai Digital Shoppe owner Vasireddy Naveen of Rajahmundry. He sells as many as 500 prints of 2x6 feet size every week for over Rs 3,000 a piece. The farmers replace the prints faded by hot sun, creating more demand.

Incidentally, Ryali village is also famous for its 15th century temple of Sri Jaganmohini Keshava Swami where the idol is both male and female. The main idol of the temple is Keshava Swami when viewed from the front and Jagan Mohini from the rear. The priests at the temple show the idol in the light of burning camphor and explain the twin features of the deity in detail.

Devotees believe that praying at the Lord Jagan Mohini Keshava Swamy temple in Ryali will bestow professional success, particularly in case of job transfers. Hence, every weekend there are huge crowds of government employees particularly those wanting police and excise departments, seeking money minting posts.

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