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A song of pathos

It took a long gap of over two decades for Telugu cinema to get another national award for the best lyrics. Veturi Sundararama Murthy was the second recipient of the prestigious award after Sri Sri, who had received it in 1974 for his patriotic song — Telugu veera levaraa in the biopic Alluri Seetharamaraju . Veturi received the award in 1994 for his melancholic lyric Raali poye puvvaa neekuragalenduke in the movie Matrudevobhava (1993), produced by K S Rama Rao. In an interview, Veturi had at that time remarked, “One hopes it will not take as many years for another lyricist to get the national award for a Telugu song.”

In all humility, Veturi attributed to team work his winning of the award. “A good song emanates from the combined work of the song writer, the music director and the singer. It is like Triveni Sangamam . When the song situation is portrayed well by the talented director, it turns out a hit. Without the strength of a story, a song cannot become popular. Writer G Sathyamurthy had narrated to me the story of Matrudevobhava . I had not seen its Malayalam original version, (Sibimalayil’s Aakasa doothu ). But I heard that a lot of improvisation had been done in the script by producer K S Rama Rao and his team. I enjoyed immensely while writing the songs for this movie.”

“Though it was a remake, we pumped in more drama in the Telugu version when compared to the subdued emotions in Aakasa doothu . The credit for this goes to writer Sathyamurthy, who also penned the dialogues,” revealed K S Rama Rao in a telephonic conversation. Agreeing with Veturi, he said, “Inspired by Sathyamurthy’s narrative, Sundararama Murthy wrote the melancholic lyrics, Keeravani composed soulful tunes and director Ajay (K Ajaykumar) did an excellent job, filming the heart-touching tale with cinematographer Chota K. Naidu in tow. It is a technicians’ movie. And who could forget the brilliant portrayal by Madhavi of the distressed woman, Sarada. As a producer my contribution was only to bring these great talented persons together with the desire to present a good cinema to the audience. With the content appealing to every member of the unit, they worked with unmitigated love towards the movie.”

Making the remark that he was first a member of the audience and then only a producer, K S Rama Rao said, “I do not know whether I am a good producer or not but I am a cinephile. Even today, if I do not watch the movie on the first day first show, I feel my day is not complete. I believed that Matrudevobhava would work with the audience. My faith was vindicated when it turned out a box-office hit.” The conversation took place in the midst of his busy pre-production work for a yet to be titled movie, being directed by Kranti Madhav, with Vijay Deverakonda in the lead.

“Each and every song of Matrudevobhava had emerged straight from the heart of Sundararama Murthy garu. The song Raali poye puvvaa ... is the word picture of the plight of a dying woman, longing to see her children, who had been given in adoption,” reminisced K S Rama Rao.

The song

Raali poye puvvaa neeku ragalenduke / Thotamaali nee thodu ledule / Vaalipoye poddha neeku varnaalenduke / Lokamennado cheekataayale / Neekidi thelavaarani reyammaa / Kaliki... maa chilakaa, paadaku ninnati nee ragam / Raali poye...

As the song progresses, her past blissful life with her husband and children is shown in intercuts.

Chedirindi nee goodu gaaligaa / Chilukaa gorinkamma goodugaa / Chinnaari rupaalu kanneeti deepaalu kaagaa / Tanavaadu taarallo cheragaa / Manasu maangalyaalu jaaragaa / Sindoora varnaalu thellaari challaari pogaa / Tirigi bhumaathavu neevai vekuvalo vennelavai / Karige karpooram neevai aasalake haarathivai / Raali poye...

Anubhandamantene appule / Karige bandhaalannee mabbule / Hemantha ragala chemathule vaadipoye / Tana rangu maarchindi raktame tanato raalenandipaasame / Deepaala pandakki deepaalu kondekki pogaa / Pagile aakasam neevai jaaripade jaabilivai / Migile aalapana neevai theegathege veeniyavai / Raali poye...

Maragathamani Keeravani’s soulful rendition was complemented with heart-warming portrayal by Madhavi, who reprised her role from the Malayalam movie.

The scene

Sarada (played by Madhavi), a violin teacher, and Sathyam (Nasser), a jeep driver, live with their four children — Radha (Baby Seena), Venu (Master Martin), Ravi (Master Phani) and an infant (Master Vamsy). The local milk vendor Apparao (Thanikella Bharani) has an eye on Sarada and, in an altercation, he kills Sathyam. Stricken with cancer, Sarada gives her three children for adoption while the physically challenged Ravi remains with her. Sarada intends to personally invite her children to celebrate Deepavali at home. In her dream that night she travels to meet them. And the song flows from the background.

A major portion of the song was shot at the lead pair’s house set, built amidst a mango garden in NCL Farms, owned by the producer’s friend at Narsapur near Hyderabad.

Though Raali poye puvvaa won him the national award, Veturi’s favourite song from Matrudevobhava was his equally heart-wrenching lyric — Venuvaivachhaanu bhuvanaaniki gaalinai pothaanu gaganaaniki — with a soulful rendition by KS Chitra.


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Printable version | Sep 30, 2022 11:38:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/raali-poye-puvvaa-neeku-ragalenduke-matrudevobhava-veturi-keeravani/article25709805.ece