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Composer’s choice: how Master Venu defied his producer to make his own tune for a song in ‘Preminchi Choodu’

 A still from Preminchi Choodu

A still from Preminchi Choodu

“In which film did Ghantasala’s name appear in the title cards below that of PB Sreenivos?” This was the quiz put by veteran actor, writer and film chronicler, Ravi Kondala Rao in the WhatsApp group, ‘Sunadavinodini.’ Not many could answer it. Such a rarity had taken place in the titles of P Pullaiah directorial, Preminchi Choodu (1965). Interestingly, Ravi Kondala Rao had acted as the father of A Nageswara Rao in the movie, which was a remake of the Tamil super hit, Kathalikka Neramillai .

In Tamil, the romantic comedy, besides banking on the refreshing content, scored well due to its appealing music, composed by Viswanathan-Ramamurthy. It was only natural that Pullaiah asked his music director Master Venu to make use of all the Tamil movie tunes in the Telugu version too. In Kathalikka Neramillai all the songs for the hero (debutant Ravichander) were rendered by PB Sreenivos. Pullaiah retained him to sing for his lead actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao too and used Ghantasala’s voice for the second lead, Jaggaiah. Since he sang for the film’s hero, as per convention, PBS’s name was placed in the titles, ahead that of the iconic singer.

 Master Venu

Master Venu

However, Venu was not happy with rehashing the tunes from another composer's work despite the fact that they were all huge hits. “As a creator he desired to compose at least one original tune,” recalls his eldest son Murthychander, a veteran pianist and an associate of music director Raj (of Raj-Koti duo) for over a decade.

“When my father asked Pullaiah garu to allow him freedom to compose music for just one song, he bluntly refused by saying, ‘stick to the original version’s tunes.’ Disappointed, my father went to (P Pullaiah’s wife) Santhakumari garu to express his anguish. Herself a singer and musician, the veteran actress consoled him and said, ‘Venu, I have confidence in your abilities. Go ahead and compose music for whatever song you wish to.”“Except for one song, in the Tamil film, all the other songs have pop culture, with fast paced beats. The duet – Naalaam naalaam thirunaalaam — composed by Viswanathan — was a semi-classical melody. My father chose to compose an original tune based on Kalavathi ragam for the song,” recollects Murthychander.

Dasarathi penned the lyric and it was rendered by P Susheela and PB Sreenivos. Since all the songs for ANR were rendered by PBS, this song was also given to him to maintain uniformity.

The song

He: Vennela reyi yentho chalee chalee/ Vechhanidaana raave naa chelee

She: Challani jaabile navvenu maree maree/ Allarivaadaa neede ee cheli

He: Choopulathone muripinchevoo- aatalathone maripinchevoo/ Chelimi idenaa maatalatho sarenaa

She: Porapaataithe palakanule- pilavanule dorakanule-voorinchanule

He: Vennela reyi yentho chalee chalee/ Vechhanidaana raave naa chelee

She: Naa manasemo padamani sare sare/ Mariyaademo thagadane pade pade/ Moodu mullu padanee -yedadugulu nadavanee

He: Vaadaalendukule – Avunaninaa- Kaadaninaa-Yemaninaa- Naadaanivile

She: Challani jaabile navvenu maree maree/ Allarivaadaa neede ee cheli

He: Vennela reyi yentho chalee chalee/ Vechhanidaana raave naa chelee

The ecstatic happy lovers hum the lines in unison.

The scene

Rangarao (ANR) works as an assistant manager in Buchhabbayi’s (Relangi) estate. The fracas between Buchhabbayi’s daughter Rathnamala (Rajasri) and Rangarao soon turn into friendship and love. His close friend Vasu (Jaggaiah) is already in love with Buchhabbayi’s eldest daughter Kanchanamala (Kanchana). Vasu dons the get-up of rich tycoon father of Ranga and convinces the status-conscious Buchhabbayi to perform the marriage of Rathnamala with Ranga. On that joyous occasion, Rangarao and Rathnamala sing the duet on a moonlit night.

 P B Sreenivos

P B Sreenivos

The scene (and the movie) was shot at Sri Sarathi Studios, Hyderabad, and the songs were recorded by TS Rangaswamy, who worked for Majestic Studios, Madras. The song Vennela reyi was recorded by Venu amidst the fear of an impending glitch. Pullaiah was kept in the dark about the change in tune for this song, till the recording day. The veteran director, known for his short temper, seethed with anger when he heard a new tune. When Venu thought he had lost his battle, Santhakumari, who was present at the recording theatre, defended Venu. Still not convinced and angry, Pullaiah shouted, “When we already have a hit tune there, why do you both want to experiment and ruin my film.” He left the recording theatre fuming. When the movie was released, Preminchi Choodu not only tasted box office success but the song Vennela reyi also stood out among the best.


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 3:32:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/master-venu-defied-his-producers-orders-to-make-his-own-tune-for-a-song-in-preminchi-choodu/article25028555.ece