There’s no high that writer, lyricist Chembolu Seetharama Sastry a.k.a Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry hasn’t witnessed in his three-and-a-half decade tryst with cinema.
From starting his career with K Viswanath’s Sirivennela to signing off with a song named after the film (Sirivennela) in Shyam Singha Roy, he has been synonymous with the lyrical quality of the highest standards. Commemorating his birth anniversary on Friday (i.e. May 20), a special event was organised by Sirivennela’s family and TANA at Shilpakala Vedika, Hyderabad.
The first volume of a book, compiling his literary works, was launched in the presence of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, filmmaker Trivikram, scholar Garikapati Narasimha Rao and other dignitaries from the film and literary fraternities besides huge crowds in attendance. Several dance and music performances, set to the works of Sirivennela, were held on the occasion that was a heartfelt celebration of his legacy.
“I still remember my younger days where I and Sirivennela used to talk in Anakapalli regularly and I could recognise his literary acumen back then. It was an element of pride for me to see him reaching such great heights in the literary and film world. Every song needs to have a larger purpose and meaning in films and Sirivennela never let his quality suffer in the many years he was in the industry. He used films as a medium to spread the glory of Telugu literature, constructive thoughts among the masses,” Venkaiah Naidu said.
“The beauty of art is that it enriches us, inspires us and gives us happiness. Every song he had written reflected worldly values and sent a message to society. His songs wake all of us from slumber and tell us to march ahead. His vocabulary was certainly one of his strengths, but what was more beautiful is the deeper thought beneath his words. Sirivennela is a man who’ll remain immortal through his works,” he added.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend some of life’s finest moments in his company. I was with him not only for my films; such was the bond we shared that he used to call me even at the midnight hour to talk about an inspiring thought or a song that struck his mind. It’s a luxury to be a listener when a poem is born out of a poet’s mind; when a poet sings, you don’t hear his voice but the depth of his heart. Many such memories are flashing in front of me today. His stature is higher than the song he writes, he’s a person with a greater depth than the meaning of the song. You don’t want the best of poems, books or films to end; he’s one such magnum-opus. His thoughts penetrate us like an arrow,” Trivikram shared.
“Telugu cinema has given birth to great writers like Pingali Nagendra, Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry, Samudrala Raghavacharya, Veturi Sundararamamurthy and it’s not a mean feat to create a mark for oneself amidst such talent. What Sirivennela (garu) has written in his 20s about the origin of Ganga in a song is still relevant today. The best quality of art is its ability to defeat time; Sirivennela’s works are timeless. He gave me the space to interact, debate and argue with him; such was his greatness,” he further mentioned.