The rise of G Anand

G Anand  

A doctor by profession and a connoisseur of fine arts, Dr Gali Balasundara Rao, founded an organisation to promote stage plays and music, the Madhura Kalanikethan. For the purpose, he built a mini open air-theatre at his residence in Pondy Bazaar, Madras, during the Sixties. Interestingly, Balasundara Rao was better known to later generations as the father of popular Telugu writer Jalandhara who is the wife of veteran actor Chandramohan.

In early 1976, a young singer’s performance at the open-air theatre attracted the attention of producer ‘Navata’ Krishnam Raju. He was at that time making the movie America Ammayi, directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. The next day, Krishnam Raju sent his assistant director Medisetty Apparao to bring the singer G Anand to his office.

Full of hope, the aspiring playback singer entered the Navata Arts office on Raman Street, T’ Nagar, unaware that his life and career were in for a big change. Krishnam Raju introduced him to music director G K Venkatesh.

“He asked me to sing a few songs which I did. G K Venkatesh promised to give me a song in the movie,” recalls Anand. “And the hero’s songs were recorded one by one as I waited for my turn. When I asked GK sir about it, he said “Learn to sing Paadanaa Telugu paata,” written by Devulapalli Krishna Sastry. In fact, by then he had written the opening lines for the song, and I was sent by the music director to fetch the rest of the lyric from him. As he wrote the stanzas, Krishna Sastry garu asked me to recite them. However, it surprised me why GK sir wanted me to learn to sing the song as it was meant for a female voice. When I expressed my doubt, he just smiled. Then I asked him in frustration, ‘Is there no song for me?’ He said, ‘Wait, you have a song’.”

The rise of G Anand

In the last minute a song was included in the movie, to be filmed on one of the heroes, Sridhar. Mylavarapu Lakshmi Gopalakrishna Murthy alias Gopi was given the job of writing the lyric. Interestingly, Gopi had come to the industry to become an actor, after winning accolades for his performance playing the character Gopi in Pinisetty Srirama Murthy’s play, Palle Paduchu, which he had staged several times. However, he ended up as a lyric writer. It was veteran actress Savitri who introduced him as a lyricist under her directorial, Chiranjeevi (1969). For America Ammayi, Gopi came up with one of his best lyrics among his over 250 songs — Oka venuvu vinipinchenu anuraaga geethika. Anand’s euphonious rendition and GK’s soothing composition enhanced the beauty of the lyrics.

Oka venuvu vinipinchenu anuraaga geethika/ Oka Radhika sandhinchenu navaraaga maalika/ Sirivennela telaboyenu javaraali choopulo/ Navamaalika chinaboyenu chiru navvu sogasulo/ Vanaraaniye aliveniki siga poolu turimenu/ Reraaniye naa raaniki paaraani poosenu/ Ee ningiki prabhavinchenu neelaala taaraka/ Naa gundelo vinipinchenu singaara deepika/ Oka venuvu….

The scene

Venkataramaiah’s (Gummadi) second son Anand (Ranganath) marries Sudha (Deepa), a partying kind, who frequently hosts parties for friends at home. Unable to bear the cacophony emanating from one such party, Venkataramaiah, in remorse, looks at the photo of his eldest son Mohan (Sridhar), whom he had sent out of the house for marrying an American woman, Nina (Anna Korea, aka Devyani). But she turns out to be more a Telugu woman, learning the language, traditions and music. While Venkataramaiah is looking at Mohan’s photo, Mohan at his home is playing veena and singing the song with Nina, whose name he has changed to Meena, is listening to it.

G K Venkatesh

G K Venkatesh  

The song was recorded by G K Venkatesh at the Prasad Studios recording theatre with later day maestros L Vaidyanathan and Ilayaraja as his assistants. GK was greatly pleased with the song but its singer was not. G Anand complained to GK that he was given a slow number while all the peppy songs went to SPB. “He patted me and said, ‘you fool, wait for a while, then you will know the value of this song and how it is going to help your career,’ recollects Anand. Even Singeetham felt the song was slow and wanted to edit it in the final cut but then he changed his mind. Along with Paadana Telugu paata, Anand’s rendition, Oka venuvu.... also became a huge hit, stabilising his place among playback singers.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 11:52:05 PM |

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