Vemana is a poet, who boldly fights against social inequality. He gets involved in a relationship with a courtesan, and commits theft to satisfy her needs. However, when his niece and closest friend passes away, he has an revelation and embarks upon a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
Evocative and provocative, this biographical tale traces the trials and triumphs in the life of Vemana, a poet born in the Reddy community during the 17th century. He was a revolutionary thinker, who attacked social inequality although adhering to the conventional Hindu views on women.
Vemana (Nagaiah) has an intense relationship with a courtesan, Mohanangi (Rajamma), to the extent that although he is the younger brother of a local chieftain, he ends up stealing his sister-in-law’s diamond necklace for Mohanangi. He next steals the money meant for the king’s tribute, causing his brother to be imprisoned.
He and his friend Abhiram (Lingamurthy) successfully manufacture gold by using alchemy. His moment of revelation comes when he brings this gold home to find his niece Jyoti (Baby Krishnaveni), his only real friend, dead.
Vemana then becomes a mendicant, advocating an ideology earlier demonstrated when he takes the silk cloak covering an idol in a temple and drapes it over an old woman shivering in the cold.
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