The weather inside the sprawling auditorium was quite chilly, but the mood was pretty warm and as the comperes screamed out the name of the most important awardee of the evening, the music and the applause peaked to a crescendo.
That was the scene at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, where the MAA Music Awards were given away on Wednesday evening.
There were honours galore to about a dozen others for their contribution to the film industry, but the crowning glory was easily the Lifetime Achievement Award to master lyricist Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry. He has awards galore in his over two-and-a-half decades of penning words that more often than not, were music to the ears of listeners.
His first Nandi was in 1986 for the lyrics of the song ‘Aadi Bhikshu' in the film ‘Sirivennela' that gave him his prefix, in 1987 for the film ‘Sruthilayalu' and in 1988 for ‘Swarnakamalam', giving him his hat-trick.
The last Nandi he got was for ‘Enthavarake Endukorake' in the film ‘Gamyam' in 2008.
The award was given away to Mr. Sastry in the presence of MAA Chairman N. Prasad, Bapu, K. Vishwanath, Susheela, M.M. Keeravani, Mani Sarma, Devisri Prasad, Trivikram and Ramcharan Tej, who apparently stood in for his father, K. Chiranjeevi. The applause stopped briefly as the lyricist let his command over the language take over as he graciously acknowledged it.
Earlier, the ‘Sri Rama Rajyam' team led by director Bapu, comprising veteran singer Susheela, N. Balakrishna, singer Sunitha and a host of others were felicitated. Practically everyone who mattered in the film industry was present, but Mr. Chiranjeevi was conspicuous by his absence.