Vishwanath garu has taken the ragam of 'Sankarabharanam' and conceived
it as the Snake ornament of Shiva for the film 'Sankarabharanam',
which is an excellent idea. When the commercial wave was ruling
the industry, making a different and traditionally rich film like
'Sankarabharanam' by spending lakhs of money was a huge risk.
there was no rains on earth, sixty thousands of 'sagara putrulu'
(men of ocean) requested Ganga (goddess of water) to come on to
earth to give them some water. Then Goddess Ganga told them that
the earth could not afford the speed at which the water of Ganga
flows. Then they requested God Shiva to control to flow of Ganga
and send water to earth. Then Lord Shiva used his 'Jhata Jhooti'
and controlled and converted the water into Mandakini and sent
it to earth.
wrote a song titled 'Gangadharam'. I used the above story and
compared it to the Telugu cinema world where there is no kaLa
(Art) in our films. When the people of Andhra requested the Gods
to give them films with good artistic values, he responded to
them in the form of Edida Nageswara Rao (producer) and K Viswanath
I went to the abhinandana sabha, the unit has not arrived. The
police were wielding their sticks at innumerous people trying
to enter the auditorium. I got inside it. A volunteer has asked
me to stand at a corner and told that he would call me to the
podium when my chance comes. I was very much irritated by his
gesture. I told him that I was not giving them (the Sankarabharanam
unit and the crowds) the chance of listening to my Gangadharam
and came out of the auditorium.
that song has become famous through my friends. They used to make
me sing that 'Gangadharam' and recorded it on 100's of cassettes
and floated them around. After two years, K Viswanath garu happened
to listen to that song. One of my cousins learnt that song and
sung it as a 'Swagata Geetam' (welcome song) when K Viswanath
garu attended some function. K Viswanath came to know that the
song was written by a writer called Bharani (Bharani was my pen
name). K Viswanath wanted to use that song. Hence he wanted my
details for permission. But my cousin told that Viswanath garu
can use the song and he would convey the news to me. K Viswanath
got 'Gangadharam' shortened to suit the movie lyrical style. They
shot the song in Kakinada on Bala Krishna for the film 'Janani
Janmabhoomi' and I was not aware of it. One of my friends told
me that Gangadharam song was used in K Viswanath garu's film.
had some kind of allergy towards the films. I never tried to meet
any movie celebrities when they came to Kakinada. The only movie
celebrity I tried to meet was Jandhyala garu. When I went to his
house, somebody told me that Jandhyala garu was working on the
upstairs and asked me to wait for him. I returned back without
meeting Jandhyala garu.
Viswanath has sent me a letter that he used my song and asked
me to give the permission. I replied to him that the song was
written for him. And it reached him after two years in strange
circumstances and I was glad that Viswanath garu used that song.
I also mentioned that I don't want any remuneration. But I wanted
the name credit for that song.
the audiocassette was released, I bought 30 cassettes. Strangely
the cassette did not have that song as it was recorded after audio
the release. When we the film watched on the screen, the name
'Chemburi Seetarama Sastry (Bharani)' along with Veturi Sundara
Rama Murthy appeared in titles with bold letters in both Telugu
and English. It was thrilling experience for me to see my name
along with my hero's name 'Veturi Sundara Rama Murthy'. But the
song is pretty bad when we listened to it.
the insistence of RSS Master, I went to Madras to meet K Viswanath.
At that time, he was directing the Hindi version of Sankarabharanam.
K Viswanath is a serious man when he is at work. He wears khakhi
dress and is very disciplined. I did not have any hesitation,
fear or reverence at that time. In addition to it, I had the headstrongness.
So I did not follow any protocols. I went straight on to the stage
where shooting was going on and met him. He asked me who I was.
I told him that my name is Seeta Rama Sastry. He asked me 'So
what?' (Ante?). Then I told my pen name is 'Bharani'. Again he
asked me 'So what?' (Ante?). I told him that I was the person
who written 'Gangadharam'. He asked the editor Krishna that how
come this gentleman is so small-framed and young person. He expected
me to be a 60-year old man and have a 6-feet personality for the
kind of language I used in Gangadharam. He made me sit there talked
to me for a minute and treated me with respect and courtesy. Then
he went to the stage to do his work. I sat there for sometime,
but I had to catch my train back to AP. So I rushed to the stage
again and told him that I was in a hurry and left that place.
Viswanath told me that he would be busy when stays at Madras.
He asked me to meet him in Anakapally when he comes there for
the shooting of 'Swaty Muthyam'.
(myself and RSS master) went to Anakapally all the way from Rajahmundry
to meet Viswanath. He asked us to meet again on Tuesday. When
we went on Tuesday, they vacated the place and gone back to Madras.
I was very disappointed, as they did not have the minimum courtesy
to intimate me about change in their schedule. It does not really
matter to them how a middleclass man suffer to travel from Rajahmundry
to Anakappally. They live in their own world.
the making of 'Swati Muthyam', there was some misunderstanding
between Veturi and K Viswanath. C Narayana Reddy garu wrote all
the songs for that film. My friends recommended my name to K Viswanath
garu as lyric writer. I sent all my songs in registered post to
K Viswanath so that he can evaluate me. I got a reply that my
songs were rejected. I was very angry with the field why it is
treating my songs like that.
I continued my studies and I applied for MA. Becoming a lecturer
in any college was my life aim at that time. Though I was a pretty
well known teacher in our circles, I am not a qualified man to
become a lecturer because of my degree. The parents who send their
kids to me have two complaints. The first one is that students
who come to me do not want to attend any other teacher at a later
point of time. The second one is that the students fail to secure
pass marks in examinations as I teach them the real knowledge
but not the answers to questions they get in examination. Working
as a lecturer in Visakhapatnam by staying in the Andhra University
lecturer's quarters was my dream. I had very less time to finish
MA, as in the future a GO (Government Order) is expected which
would say that Lecturer should have at least PhD as the prerequisite.
I did not write the first year examination, as I did not master
the entire syllabus. I read one drama of Shakespeare. That was
not enough. I told my RSS master that I would give both exams
in the second year. That was in 1984. I have written my final
year exams. And in ten days, I had to write first year exams.
that point of time, I got a call from Akella garu to come to Madras
and see K Viswanath. I was not willing to go to Madras as Viswanath
garu rejected my work couple of times when I sent my songs through
registered post and through RSS master. I told my RSS master that
the people in movie field are very unreliable. I had exams in
10 days and my lectureship was insured. I told my RSS master that
even if Viswanath gives me a song for the film, it would take
a year for the film to be released. Then the song should become
a hit and appreciated by all. Then only I would get a chance to
write for other films. There is so much of risk involved in this
process for which I could not forego my academic year. After a
night of heated discussions, my RSS master gave me Rs 400/- and
thrown me into the Mail to Madras.
I went and met Viswanath garu, he greeted me. He invited me inside
and told me that he read all my songs and they are rebel and left-oriented
songs just like the songs written by all other young writers.
Then I understood that he has not read any of my songs as all
my songs were different and none of them were left-oriented. I
realized that he bluffed me.
told me that he would narrate the story of the film. As I was
a new writer, he told he would not give any tune or situation
to write a song. He narrated me the entire story of Sirivennela
and asked me to write a song. He did not put any restriction on
the language too. The hero of the film is an uneducated man. He
listens to songs somewhere and repeats them on his flute. After
listening to that flute songs it should impress the people (on
the screen) in such a way that they would asks him what were the
lyrics for that song. After listening to lyrics, their expectations
should be met. That was the objective given to me to write a song.
was just 30 years old at that time and I had lots of energy and
enthusiasm. Writing a song was like a child's play for me. I went
to Akella gari house and wrote 15 versions of the song. He liked
the entire 15 versions when I sang them for him. Since, I did
not have expertise in dividing the song in to Charanam and Pallavi
with exact length, Viswanath picked up a line from each version.
He liked 'Vidhata talapuna
' line a lot. Suddenly an idea
stuck me. I told him that I would narrate him a song linking to
a line, which he liked. I sang the 'Viranchinai
I sang that song, K Viswanath got very much excited and told me
that the song was excellent. Then I told him that this was the
song, which I sent to him through registered post, which was thoroughly
rejected. Then he went inside and verified the same and realized
that I sent the same song.
asked me to shorten the song to suit the filmy style. He approved
the song. Meantime, Bala Subramanyam garu came to that place.
Viswanath asked me to sing Gangadharam for Balu. After listening
to Gangadharam, Bala Subramanyam came and hugged me and told that
he wanted to sing songs like 'Gangadharam'. It was like a divine
blessing for me. Then we went to KV Mahadevan garu. He started
making tune out of the song. After composing half of the tune,
KV Mahadevan told that the length of two 'Charanams' was not equal.
I went into kitchen and counted 'guruvulu' and 'laghuvulu' in
the first charanam and reconstructed the second Charanam to match
the length of the first one.
Viswanath is very much impressed with my song. So he declared
that no other lyric writer is going to share the lyrics for Sirivennela
film and I would be writing all the songs. A co director of Viswanath
named Nanduri Vijay told me that Viswanath has not given such
kind of compliment to anybody else before.
does takes 6 - 7 months for completion of Sirivennela. I though
I could continue my job till Sirivennela film is released. After
the first song was recorded, I came back to Anakapally and joined
my old job. With in 10 days, I got a call that A Kodandarami Reddy
garu wanted me to meet him. He asked me to write a song for Chiranjeevi's
Veta. Chakravarthy garu suggested me to write a song without any
tune. When I went back to them with 25 versions on the next day.
They were astonished. Chakravarthy garu told me that I had very
good flow of language and I would become very popular soon. Then
Chakravarthy garu gave me a tune and asked me to write a song.
Then I wrote the song 'O Lady Koona' for Veta. From then onwards,
I was made busy with offers coming in my way. Before the release
of Sirivennela, ten of my films were released.
the sensational hit of the song 'Vidhata talapuna', people started
offering me to write duets for their films. I did not know how
to write a duet song. I was asked to write a duet for Krishna
(hero) and Radha (heroine). I wrote a lyric that starts with 'Nee
'. The music director for that film
was Satyam garu. Satyam Garu did not like the lyrics. The director
called me up and told the same thing. I got very angry. I told
them that why should the music director has any problem if director
and producer of the film okays the song. I told them that I am
not going to write lyrics, as I am not satisfied with the music
director. I lost 20 films with that kind of attitude.
Vijaya Bapineedu garu has called me and asked me to write a song
for 'Maga Dheerudu'. He explained me the situation that Chiranjeevi
goes through lots of trouble and his relatives put him into the
jail. He gave me a Hindi tune. I wrote 80 versions for it. He
was stunned. He did not see anybody giving 80 versions for a song.
Veturi is much more faster than me when it come to writing lyrics.
But he doesn't write more than two versions. But the language
I used in it was very strong one. It goes like this
to audio clip)
listening to lyrics, Vijaya Bapineedu garu got scared of me. He
gave me Rs 1,116/- and told good-bye. And he did not call me again
so far to write in any of his films. I did not know how to write
a film song yet. I used to get angry about why directors do not
like my songs. Later on someone else wrote that song with simple
lyrics. Then I understood that the directors want me to write
songs in that style.
did not understand the commercial concept of film songs, till
the film Ladies Tailor came in my way. Then I went to a music
shop, paid him Rs 4000/- and asked him to give me all the audiocassettes
with junk duets. Then I studied those songs and got hold of the
commercial way of writing lyrics.
got Nandi award for Sirivennela song. Viswanath asked me to write
'Siva Thandavam' for Sruthi Layalu film. As I told you, I can't
do any work unless I perfect that subject. Hence I bought the
bulky book of Natya Sastram and read the entire book and got command
over it. I learnt 10 times of what I had learnt in my 30 years
after joining the film industry. Whenever I faced any challenging
situations I used buy all related books and understand the subject.
I got Nandi award for that film too. In the next year also, I
got another Nandi award (three Nandi awards as best lyric writer
for three consecutive years at the time of debut).
after that I faced to dilemma of leaving film industry as I had
two major problems. The first one is that I had to live up to
Veturi gari speed if writing lyrics to stand in the industry.
I don't have even 1% of speed possessed by Veturi garu. Nobody
can imitate Veturi garu. I too never tried to imitate him.
problem is that I can write thousands of versions for a song,
if needed. But I can't change even a single word in the song if
the director wants me to. There is a logical inter-link to the
words used and meaning those words give out. Even in my tragedy
songs, there is a sound of optimism and rays of hope. I do not
accept that there is 'vishadam' in our life. Vishadam is just
the interpretation of our feeling. You can view it positively
too. Even if there is darkness everywhere, you can close you eyes
are have beautiful dreams. It is all in our hands how we interpret
situations. I wrote a song for Chiranjeevi garu in Hitler film,
which goes like 'kaneellake kanneelloche
film ladies tailor is a turning point for my lyrics. Ram Gopal
Varma was thoroughly influenced by the song 'sahasam naa padham
rajas am naa radham'. He came to know that I wrote that
song. He came to me one day.
to know about meeting with Ram Gopal Varma? Rest of the 'Making
of Sirivennela' In the next update!