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Thread: S.Rajeswara Rao--a retrospective

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    S.Rajeswara Rao--a retrospective

    Topic started by Udhaya (@ on Thu Apr 1 21:17:53 EST 1999.

    Did music first for "Mathana Kaamarajan". Some of the memorable films for which he composed music are: "Vikramathithan", "Premapaasam", "Paanai Pidithaval Pagyasali", "Amaradevi", "Iru Sagotharagal", "Aval Yaar" besides "Chadralehka". Tamil-Telugu bilinguals: "Allauddin Arbhutha Deepam", "Mangamma Sabatham", "Apoorva Sagotharaagal", "Maya bazaar", "Missiamma", and "Chakradhari". Later for many movies including "Nanthanaar","Mangammaa sapatham", "Kadan vaangi kalyaanam", etc. He was the MD for about 200 movies.

    This is what I gathered from the TFM page on MDs, but it doesn't give much information on his TFM contribution. I would like to explore this musician's contribution to TFM.

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    e.hari (@ abd6*) on: Thu Apr 1 22:23:25 EST 1999

    I may be wrong as usual , but did nt he score music for adutha vittu peen and also the hubby of
    actress anjali devi.


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    Bhoori (@ synv*) on: Fri Apr 2 02:13:04 EST 1999

    e.hari: That was Adhi Narayana Rao. Some of his popular movies were Kanavane Kan Kanda Dheivam, Manalane Mangaiyin Bhagyam ( Thesulavudhe, Jagadheeswara, Azhaikkadhe etc. )

    Udhaya: S. Rajeswara Rao did the music for many Gemini movies. But if you see the titles, it will always be Music: M.P. Parthasaradhi and S. Rajeswara Rao and Orchestra: Gemini Vadhyak Kuzhu. I am not sure about the individual part s played by Parthasaradhi and Rajeswara Rao wrt this. Mangamma Sabadam, Chandralekha, Aboorva Sagodargal ( I think ) fall in this category.

    Rajeswara Raos best contribution was of course Missiamma. Unbeleivable music that makes one hanker for more despite a dozen songs in that movie.

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    Bhoori (@ synv*) on: Fri Apr 2 02:13:48 EST 1999

    Udhaya; Maya Bazar was Ghantasala.

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    bb (@ fran*) on: Fri Apr 2 02:18:57 EST 1999

    yes, bhoori is right. SRS didn't score for maaya bazaar. i think he acted in it and sang.

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    e.hari (@ hud0*) on: Fri Apr 2 12:41:21 EST 1999

    k, thanks boori. stand corrected

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    Bhoori (@ synv*) on: Fri Apr 2 21:28:25 EST 1999

    bb: SRS acted in a movie! Thats news to me! That too in M. Bazaar? What role did he play?

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    suri (@ ppp-*) on: Sat Apr 3 12:21:30 EST 1999

    Trend-setter in Light Music

    An article on S.Rajeshwara Rao from The Hindu, Friday March 12, 1993

    By M.L.Narasimham

    Remember "Chandraleka", a magnum opus even by today's standards and its famous
    drum dance and the music that enriched it. The creator of that enchanting music was
    none other than this year's Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram's "Kalaimaamani"
    award winner, Saluri Rajeshwara Rao, a pioneer of light music in South Indian films.

    "It took us one year to compose music for Chandralekha. Much of the time was taken for
    the drum dance sequence. As the dancers performed, we used to rehearse and
    compose the music. It was done with incredibly few instruments. We used a piano, ten
    double bass violins and drums from Africa, Egypt, and Persia which we have acquired
    from an African War troupe." reminisces Rajeshwara Rao, who will be completing six
    decades of film career next year.

    His tryst with cinema came unexpectedly in the form of a talent-scouting Huchins
    Recording Company to his native Vizianagaram in 1934. A child prodigy, he could identify
    the ragas at the tender age of four and by the time he was seven, he started giving stage
    performances. His father, Sanyasi Raju, was a famous miridangam player for the
    concerts of Dwaram Venkatasamy Naidu and was also a lyricist. Huchins spotted
    "master" Rajeshwara Rao and took him to Bangalore along with his father.

    "I was 13 then. Since then I have stayed put in the field of film music and records,"
    recalls Rajeshwara Rao.

    Huchins recorded "Bagavat Gita" in Rajeawara Rao's voice. Soon word spread about his
    melliflous voice and producers P.V.Das and Gudavalli Ramabramham, visted Bangalore,
    and impressed by his singing ability, brought him to Madras. Finding that young
    Rajeshwara Rao had stage experience too, they cast him as Lord Krishna in their "Sri
    Krishna Leelau" in 1934. The film was released the next year and Rajeshwara Rao
    became a household name all over Andhra. Later for the same team he played the role
    of "Abhimanyu" in "Maya Bazar"(1936). The next year he went to Calcutta to act in
    "Keechaka Vadha".

    Though he won appreciation as a singer-actor, the urge to prove himself as a musician
    was stronger in him. In Calcutta he met such stalwarts as Kundan Lal Saigal and Pankaj
    Mullick, and got exposed to Hindustani music. He became a disciple of Saigal and
    learned Hindustani music for a year. He also learnt to play the sitar and the surbahar. He
    had already mastered playing the tabla, dholak, and miridangam without the help of a
    guru. Later he learnt the piano, harmonium, mandolin and the electric guitar too. By this
    time he had acquired the knowledge of orchestration, of how to mix the sounds of
    different instruments.

    Rajeshwara Rao returned to Madras in 1938 and formed his own music troupe, became
    an assistant to Jeyaramayyer for a Tamil film "Vishnuleela" in which he also played the
    role of Balarama and sang his own songs. The film was directed by Raja Sandow. This
    was the only film for which Rajeshwara Rao worked as a music assistant. Later he
    tuned a few songs for a Kanada film, "Vasantha Sena" (1939) for which R.Sudharsanam
    provided the music. The same year he became a full-fledged music director with
    "Jeyaprada" (Pururava) which Chitrapu Narashima Rao directed. Alongside, he
    continued with his acting in "Balanagamma" and "illalu" in which he acted opposite his
    famous singing partner, Rao Balasarawati Devi. Bala Saraswati incidently had acted in
    "Sri Krishna Leelalu" too.

    By the time "Illalu" was commissioned Rajeswara Rao was no more interested in acting.
    His mind was set on film music. Even his father felt his son would shine as a music
    director. He approached Ramambrahmam. The director was sceptical at first as it was a
    social film and doubted whether Rajeshwara Rao could do justice to it. Moreover
    Bhimavarapu Narashima Rao (BNR) was his permanenet music director. After much
    persuasion and when BNR himself told the director to give the boy a try, Rajeshwara
    Rao was given a cradle song as an experiment. He composed the music and rendered
    the song much to the delight of Director as well as the original music director of the film.
    Rajeshwara Rao got the job he wanted. He also acted in the movie, which was his last
    as an actor.

    "When I entered the industry there was no playback system. We used to sing and act at
    the same time with the orchestra in the background unseen by the camera. But by the
    time I was doing "Illalu" the playback system had come into vogue," recalls the veteran.

    When the Telugu film song was evolving from stage poetry to modern lyric, Rajeshwara
    Rao showed thru his private records how light music should be. "Thummeda Oka saari",
    "Kopamela Radha", "Podarintilona", "Rave Rave Koyila", "Challo Gaalilo" "Paata Paduma
    Krishna" all of which his father has written.

    Rajeshwara Rao, through these songs, set a new trend in light music in Telugu.

    Rajeshwara Rao's most rewarding assignments came from Gemini, which he joined in
    1940. "I joined Jemini on a salary of Rs. 600 as a music director and by the time
    "Chandraleka" was made, it rose to Rs. 1500. My association with Gemini continued for
    a decade and "Apoorva Sagotharagal"(1950) was my last film for them." "Jeevan
    mukthi", "Balanagamma", "Mangamma Sabatham", and "Chandrelekha" were some of
    the movies for which he created music while in Gemini. In those days when there were
    hardly any modern technical equipment he created in "Balanagamma" re-recording
    effects "on par with any Hollywood film". "And in "Chandreleka" simply because I mixed
    western music to local taste it was appreciated both within the country and abroad. For
    music there are no barriers. There is nothing wrong in making use of western tunes,
    moulding them carefully to our taste and to our form. I have done that for some of my
    songs in later films like "Iddaru Mithurulu" and "Bharya Bharthalu" during the seventies.
    Though I have made use of western tunes, no one can say that I have blindly copied
    them. But today the scene is different. Western tunes are being used as they are in our
    films. This is very unfortunate" says Rajeshwara Rao.

    After leaving Gemini, he got an offer to provide music for B.N.Reddy's "Malleswari"
    (1950). It was a sensational music hit. Then came "Vipranarayana", "Missiamma" and a
    host of other musical hits, more than a hundred of them in Tamil and Telugu and a few in
    Kannada. Some of the films might have failed in the box office, but his music has never
    let down cinegoers. When Vijaya's "Missiamma" was made into "Miss Mary" - producers
    AVM in Hindi, Hemantha Kumar provided the music. He changed all the tunes, but
    retained one - "Brindavanamum Nandakumaranum" which Hemantha liked so much that
    he took permission to retain it in the Hindi version - an instance of one master's tribute to

    Among the classical ragas, Rajeswara Rao likes Bhimplas, Sindhu Bairavi, Kafi, Kalyani,
    Pahad, and Malkauns, which he has used most in his songs. "Generally songs set in
    these ragas become popular with the audience" feels Rajeshwara Rao.

    Some of the memorable films for which he composed music are: "Vikramathithan",
    "PremapAsam", "Paanai Pidithaval Pagyasali", "Amaradevi", "Iru Sagotharagal", "Aval
    Yaar" besides "Chadralehka". Tamil-Telugu bilinguals: "Allauddin Adbhutha Deepam",
    "Mangamma Sabatham", "Apoorva Sagotharaagal", "Missiamma", and "Chakradhari".
    Telugu: "Chenchu Lakshmi", "Bheesma", "BhaleRamudu", "Iddaru Mithurulu",
    "Kulagothralu", "Baktha Jeyadeva", "Amarasilpi Jakkannachari", "Baktha Pragalatha",
    "Rangula Ratnam", "Vipranarayana", "Dr Chakravarthy", and "Chitti Chellue". Hindi:
    "Chandrelehka" and "Nishan".

    Rajeshwara Rao's two assistants for over four decades Rajagopal and Krishnan, both
    well versed in classical music have proved an asset to him.

    Music flows in Rajeshawara Rao's family. His elder brother S. Hanumantha Rao was a
    music director in his own right in the Kannada & Telugu field. Rajeshwara Rao's eldest
    son, Ramalingeswara Rao is well known piano and electric organ player in the South.
    His second son, Poornachandra Rao, is a popular guitarist while his third and fourth
    sons, Vasu Rao and Koteswara Rao are well-known music directors today. Vasu Rao
    has preferred to go it alone on the lines of his father's melody, but Koti has formed a
    team with Somaraju (son of veteran music director T.V.Raju) as Raj-Koti and the duo is
    the most popular team in Telugu film music today.

    On the quality of today's film music, Rajeshwara Rao blames he producers and
    directors. "It is not the audience, but the producers and directors, who are to be blamed.
    Today film making and music are like fast food," he says. Among the directors he rates
    Singgetham Srinivasa Rao , who learnt Carnatic vocal under Rajeshwara Rao, as a man
    with music knowledge.

    Rajeshwara Rao was awarded the honorary doctorate "Kalaprapoorna" in 1979 by the
    Andhra University. He was appointed "Asthana Vidwan" by Tirumala Tirupathi
    Devasthanams, during which period he composed music for Annamacharya Keerthanas
    sung by Ghantasala.

    His success formula for film music: "In every film as far as possible there should be a
    classical song, a folk song, a rock-n-role type of song to appeal to the tastes of different
    viewers. Variety is important in film music."

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    bb (@ fran*) on: Sat Apr 3 15:52:19 EST 1999

    haha suri, that article is already there in PPP!!

    bhoori: yes, he started out as a singer-actor, and then went on to become a MD. i remember reading somewhere that SSV wanted him to act later in his career again.

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    Kishore Krishna (@ ts3-*) on: Sun Apr 4 00:57:28 EST 1999

    Vipranarayana was released in tamil as well - dubbed perhaps? A couple lovely AM Raja solos: yOgamathE ezhilaai kannan yOgamathE ezhilaai, aathavan ezhunthaan and a duet w/ Bhanumati: malarin maduvellaam vandinam thaanE....

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