Songs in actor Krishna’s Devadasu have better lyrics than in ANR’s famous version, says V.A.K. Ranga Rao

Recalling his tutelage under legendary writer Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry and his association with Arudra, critic V.A.K. Ranga Rao went down the memory lane narrating the contribution of the two to Telugu film songs and the songs in early days of Telugu films.

Addressing a programme organised by Visakha Rasagna Vedika on the two writers as a part of “100 years of Indian cinema” here on Sunday, he said the songs of the past were meaningful and simple whereas today’s songs catered more to the taste of younger audience. Compared to the past, the profile of audience changed, M. Ranga Rao said. If the Telugu cinema music were a pyramid, in terms of quality there were few songs at the top, he observed. He disagreed with the view that all songs nowadays were bad, stating even if the lyrics were good they would not be audible in the sound.

The songs in Chiranjeevulu and Rajanandini were gandharvam personified, he said.

Acknowledging Malladi as his revered guru in all humility and tracing his beginning with films like Chinnakodalu, Rechukka etc, Mr. Ranga Rao said he named all his books after Malladi’s stories. He narrated his association with Malladi and Samudrala junior and Veturi and others and the controversies relating to film songs.

Arudra began his film career with Beedalapatlu, Premalekhalu and Manohara. He later went on to write Samagrandhra Sahityam in 12 volumes. He read the proofs of the Emesco book of Arudra’s songs “Kondagali tirigindi.”

He reiterated his view that songs in actor Krishna’s Devadasu had better lyrics than in ANR’s famous version and if the new version were to be a hit people would have remembered the songs more.

Vedika president G. Raghurama Rao said Mr. Ranga Rao always obliged their requests and it was the third meeting with him on 100 years of cinema. G. Prabhakar of Andhra Music Academy recalled his childhood in Madras when he used to go Mr. Ranga Rao’s house to listen to film songs from his legendary collection and his association with Arudra and his wife Ramalakshmi. P.S. Kumar welcomed.