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When Trivikram called Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry ‘the sun who rises at midnight’

In a viral speech in 2012, director Trivikram heaped praise on legendary Telugu lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry.

Written by Gabbeta Ranjith Kumar | Hyderabad |
December 1, 2021 3:11:59 pm
Trivikram and Sirivennela Seetharama SastryTrivikram and Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry collaborated on films like Jalsa, Agnyaathavaasi, Aravinda Sametha and Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo among others. (Photos: SitharaEnts/Twitter)

It was the year 2012. An auditorium in Hyderabad was full of Telugu film industry bigwigs and fans gathered for Maa Music Awards 2012. Legendary Telugu lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry was set to be felicitated during the awards night. Before the commencement of the felicitation ceremony, the anchors invited director Trivikram to speak a few words about the lyricist. After Trivikram’s speech which remains memorable to this day, the entire auditorium went berserk with claps and whistles.

In his speech, Trivikram said: “My energy and vocabulary are insufficient to describe the poetry of Seetharama Sastry. Because his song ‘Pragdisha Veniya Paina Dinakara Mayoogha Thanthrula Paina’ from Sirivennela made me realize that dictionaries in Telugu exist. I bought a Telugu dictionary to understand the meaning of the words of the song. He is the man who made us believe that a song cannot only be written to be understood by the audience but a song can also be written to make the audience wish to understand it. He is the poet who can make you excited to search for new Telugu words, and he is the poet who always strives to work like that. He used powerful words, which are difficult to use in cinema songs. First, we must respect him for that. As a director, I can imagine how gutsy he could have been to write a song like ‘Tharalirada Thane Vasantham Thana Darikirani Vanala Kosam’ in Chiranjeevi’s Rudraveena. My salute to him for that. He is the poet who creates his own space to bring surrealistic elements in his songs. In a world where everyone believes that there is no value for literary work in commercial cinema, he creates space to deliver a great song. He is the man who wakes up after everyone goes to bed. He is the sun who rises at midnight. He goes hunting with words and alphabets. He throws questions at us which are difficult to answer and encourages us to never accept defeat.”

“I still remember. In my early days in Hyderabad, I watched Sindhooram, and there was a small dissatisfaction in me. But at the end, the lines ‘Ardhashathabdapu Agnaananni Swathanthram Andaama’ (penned by Sirivennela) left me in a trance. Only literature will have an impeccable impact on you. I strongly feel disappointed that he remained here only because he is a Telugu cinema lyricist. Everybody started believing in the notion that cinema songs have no literary value. That’s is why we were not able to respect writers like Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry, Devulapalli Krishnasasstry, Daasarathi, and Veturi. Today we are fortunate to have Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, who brought a standard to vachana kavithvam,” he added.

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Indeed it is not an exaggeration to say that Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry was the bridge between traditional songwriting and contemporary literary work. Today he may not be among us, but his lyrical work for films will make him live on forever in the hearts of cinegoers.

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