Despite coming from a poor background, Menaka places a great emphasis on her self-respect. Society has disgraces her family due to a mistake made by her mother, however Grandma Mangalam has stood by her daughter and her two granddaughters. Through her determination and hard work, Menaka has achieved success as an actress.
She deeply loves Harikrishna, yet she cannot secure a place in his life. When Rekha marries Harikrishna, her attitude causes disruption in his life and his ambitions.
After Menaka achieved fame in the film industry, her estranged father rejoined her. Despite Menaka’s aversion to him, she endured his presence at her mother’s request.
At some point, Rekha is murdered and Harikrishna is the prime suspect. The novel paints a vivid picture of the lives of Menaka and Harikrishna, and ends in an unexpected way.
Popular Telugu writer Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani’s Telugu novel Neerajanam has been translated into Tamil as ‘Soppana Sundari’.
Oh, the disgrace! The way this generation’s youth think is completely backwards. It’s like taking a knife of shame and stabbing yourself with it. What kind of shame is there? If you fail an exam, shame; if you can’t get a job, shame; if you don’t get married, shame; if your friends bully you, shame; if your husband leaves you, shame! My goodness! He clenched his fists with rage.-Harikrishna
Rather than a novel, it could be described as a long story. The story starts in a poverty-stricken community, and follows the ‘forced-dating’ of Menaka and the disgrace that came from it. The plot appears to be set in Chennai, but Menaka’s family does not even have a ration card. Menaka is portrayed as a strong character from the beginning to the end, like a freshly cut chilli, sparkling with vigour.
If you wish to test someone’s honesty, they can be placed in one of two scenarios. Firstly, put them in complete poverty. Secondly, put them in a position of extreme wealth. Those who pass both of these tests are known as Menaka-s!
Despite being a feminist novel, it also highlights positive male figures such as Harikrishna, Ramanathan, and Nagalingam. While some of the plot twists may be a bit over-the-top, it is best to overlook these and continue reading the story.
Grandma Mangalam and Harikrishna demonstrate what a life can be when lived in a positive manner. In contrast, Madhavi and Balaraman illustrate the opposite. The ultimate example is Amma Ranjani, whose behavior I could not endure. Many times, her attitude caused me to clench my teeth in anger. Even Menaka scolded her as if she was mad.
Thanks to Gowri Kirupanandan, the translation from Telugu to Tamil is remarkably smooth.
Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani (2 April 1940 – 18 May 2018) was an Indian Telugu language novelist. She had a strong fan following since the 1970s and early 1980s, especially among women. Several of her stories were made into films and television serials. She won two Nandi Awards.
சொப்பனசுந்தரி | Neerajanam | నీరాజనం
Author: Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani
Telugu to Tamil translation – Gowri Kirupanandan
Publisher: vaanavil puthakalayam – 1e – Sep 2015
Buy: Tamil | Telugu
I wrote it in 2016 in Tamil initially, and translated now for Blogchatter’s WRITE A PAGE A DAY 2023 campaign.