Telugu film lyricist ‘Sirivennela’ Seetharama Sastry passes away

The play of words in the film ‘Sirivennela’ won Seetharama Shastry unprecedented fame and moniker

November 30, 2021 05:48 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 10:54 am IST - Hyderabad

Telugu film lyricist ‘Sirivennela’ Sitarama Sastry. Photo: Special Arrangement

Telugu film lyricist ‘Sirivennela’ Sitarama Sastry. Photo: Special Arrangement

Award-winning Telugu lyricist and Padma Shri awardee Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry passed away on Tuesday evening following lung cancer-related complications. He was 66. A medical bulletin issued by the KIMS Hospital said he passed away at 4.07 pm. He was admitted on November 24 with pneumonia and was put on ECMO, according to hospital medical director Sambit Sahu.

The journey

Not often do filmmakers weave a story around a song, but a poetic work of Seetharama Shastri Jagamanta Kutumbam Naadi, Ekaki Jeevitam Naadi triggered a desire in director Krishna Vamsi to broaden its essence and make a film out of it. Though reluctant in the beginning, Seetharama Sastry gave in and agreed for his song to be used.

It did not take long for Seetharama Sastry to master the film lyrical style as he was a staunch literary writer. In the process, Telugu cinema benefited from his body of work.

As a newcomer in the industry, a chance to work with veteran director K .Vishwanath early on in his career gave him an opportunity to prove himself and he did it with 1986 film Sirivennela after his debut with a song in the 1984 film Janani Janmabhoomi .

His mastery extended to nearly 3,000 songs till date.

Born on May 25, 1955, in Anakapalle in Andhra Pradesh, Seetharama Sastry won accolades and innumerable awards that include 11 Nandi awards given by the government of Andhra Pradesh and four Filmfare awards.

He was also honoured with Padma Shri in 2019 for his contribution to the film world and literature.

Blend of styles

A writer who expressed his radical views of society and romance-based poetry in the same breath, Seetharama Sastry had brought in a refreshing change in the composition of lyrics in Telugu cinema. Considered next only to C. Narayana Reddy and Veturi Sundararamamurthy, Seetharama Sastry’s vast repertoire extended to stage, television and public podiums as a speaker and influencer as well.

Undoubtedly, the sheer magic he created with his vocabulary and command of language made him a name to reckon with in the industry. Sample this: Virinchinai virachinchitini ee kavanam; vipanchinai vinipinchithini ee geetham.... The free-spirited and meaningful lyrics in Sirivennela complemented the film that bore K. Vishwanath’s classic stamp of blending arts and human relations. This film not only made Seetharama Sastry an overnight success but also gave him the moniker ‘Sirivennela’.

Apart from Sirivennela , he also penned songs for Swarna Kamalam , Swayamkrushi , Shrutilayalu , Swara Kalpana , Swati Kiranam, Gaayam, Kshana Kshanam, Indrudu Chandrudu, Alludu Garu, Antham, Sindhooram, Nuvve Kavali, Okkadu and Varsham among others.

His song ‘Maaradu Lokam’ in the Revathi-starrer Ankuram , directed by Uma Maheshwar Rao, reflected the rebel side in this romantic lyricist. In fact, the song was picturised on him.

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