(fwd) Adi Narayanrao

Sreenivas Paruchuri (sreeni@ktpsp1.uni-paderborn.de)
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 12:33:17 +0100 (MET)

The following writeup was originally posted on some news groups on Saturday,
the 25th Jan, commemorating Adinarayanarao's death anniversary. Since G
worked in almost all his films and gave us some immemorable gems, I find it
appropriate posting it also on G-list.



(There are many Indian music directors who have worked only in a few films.
Yet very few have managed to leave such an unique signature on Indian film 
music as P. Adinarayana Rao has. Consider the fact that in a long career 
spanning over three and a half decades he scored music for less than thirty 
films. And it is a no mean accomplishment to capture the hearts of Hindi film
audience with just two films. 25th January marks his (6th) death anniversary 
of this great master who gave us such gems as "anaarkali", "suvarNa sundari" 
and "bhakta tukaaraam"

Regards,		--Sreenivas)

Adinarayana Rao was born in 1915 in Kakinada (some sources place his year
of birth in 1918, in Vijayawada). He was introduced to the stage at a very
young age of six, playing the role of "naarada" in the play: "Savitri"
under Rajarajeswari Naatya Mandali's baton. He went on to study classical
music under Patrayani Sitarama Sastry, a prominent personolity of those
days, in Saluru, a major center for music in the early decades of this
century. Later he completed his matriculation from Kakinada. At age 12,
with an impressive talent to play many instruments, and literary interests,
he started working as a music composer and a play writer. 

He was highly popular in Kakinada theatre circles and was affectionately 
called "abbaayi gaaru", a name which he retained even after entering films.
"Veedhi Gaayakulu", "Black Market", "Vasanta sena" were some of his plays.
Starting his career at Burmah Shell Amateurs Troupe, he blossomed in to
a big artist at the well-known, now almost forgotten, Young Mens Happy Club,
which had given famous artistes like Gandikota Jagannatham, S.V. Ranga Rao,
Relangi Venkata Ramayya, Anjali Devi to Telugu Cinema/stage. It was here
that he met his future wife, Anjali, who was  under his tutelage and later 
went on to become a leading actress of the Indian silver screen.

His first attempt to join the film field was in 1941. Chittur V. Nagayya,
the legendary actor, director and music composer was ruling the Telugu
film field supreme with his compositions in films like "vandEmaataram"
(1939), "sumangaLi" (1940), "dEvata" (1941). Highly influenced and
mesmerized by his music, Adinarayana Rao wanted to work under the maestro.
He was introduced to Nagayya by film star A. S. Giri (of sumangaLi fame).
He was asked to come after 1-2 months, but somehow he did n't go to Madras 
and remained away from film field till mid-40s.

The following composition by him written for the play: "Veedhi Gaayakulu"
in 1944, shows his admiration and respect for Nagayya:

		naagayya naTanalO naaNyamerungaka
 		#Saigal# naTanakai sambhramEla .........

It is in veteran film maker B V Ramanandam's, "varudhini" (1946) he got his
first break in films. The oppurtunity came through S.V. Ranga Rao, nephew
of Ramanandam and a YMHC member (incidentally this was the debut film for
Rangarao too). Although he was initially assigned to write lyrics and 
compose music, professional differences led to the  abrupt ending of the
project after recording just two songs, and he returned to Kakinada.

Later he worked for a couple of films writing lyrics and/or composing music,
which include C. Pullayya's (another native of Kakinada), the highly 
successful, "Gollabhama" (1947, co-MD: Dinakara Rao), in which Anjali made
her debut. The songs/verses from Gollabhama are a real delight to hear;
chandamaama andamaina, priyatamaa!, bhoopati jampitin, valapu teniyalu,
etc. They are in my opinion ahead of their time in terms of pace
(can be compared to the ones from 60s! It would be of great interest to me
to know, who composed which song).

Its through "palleToori pilla" (1950), a film based on Sheridon's play:
"Pijjaro", he became a full-fledged music director, thanks to his friend
B A Subba Rao, who was making his directorial debut and went on to make
a highly successful career. His adaptation of Spanish tunes - "dheera 
kampanaa" - with superb orchestration, and usage of Telugu folk melodies
set new trends. Songs like: chiTapaTa chinukula duppaTi taDisenu,
Saanta vanTi pilla lEdOyi (young Pithapuram Nageswara Rao singing this
beautifully) were treats to music lovers. His next venture; "tilOttama"
(1951) was a disappointment. Its music reached very few people since it
was neither a commercial success at box-office nor were the songs released
on records.

In 1949 he founded "Aswini Pictures" with Akkineni Nageswara Rao and makeup
artist K. Gopala Rao, producing "maayalamaari" (1951, Tamil: Mayakkaari).
Though it ran for 100  days, the music was only a moderate success.
So was "annadaata" (1954), made on the same banner. He wrote some lyrics
for "palletoori pilla" and "annadaata" too. "annadaata" also heralded the
beginning of the successful team with himself, ANR & Anjali (in lead cast)
and Director Vedantam Raghavayya, which continued unbroken for more than
a decade.

In 1951 he separated from Aswini banner and founded his own production
house; "Anjali Pictures" making "paradESi" (1953, Tamil: Poongottai,
with songs like: pilichindi kaluva puvvu - jikki, nEnenduku raavaali -
Jikki, Pithapuram, etc.) under the direction of L. V. Prasad. The 
superb compositions in big budget "anaarkali" (1955) and "suvarNna sundari
(1957) that followed under this banner brought him tremendous recognition.
Volumes can be written on these two great musicals. Though a couple of
tunes were partly based on Ramachandra Chitalkar's tunes from Hindi version 
of "Anarkaali" (1953) rest showed his enormous creative talents. the rest 
showed his enormous creative talents. The song "raajasekharaa nee pai moju 
teera leduraa" still lingers on every one's tongue. So are: kalise nelaraaju 
kaluva chelini - Ghantasala, Jikki, sOjaa raajakumari - A. M. Rajah.

Suvarna Sundari was the high point in his career. It was a blockbuster hit
running to full houses at all the places it was released for over 6 months.
Described as the "Bible to box-office laws" by film critics, it showed the
way to later day "formula" filmmakers. It had all the elements, in proper
dosage, to attract all sections of film goers. "piluvakuraa alugakuraa,
haayihaayigaa aamani saage, bommalammaa bommalu, Eraa manapaaTi
dheerulevvaruraa" remain ever-green hits. The raagamaalika set to four
Hindusthani Ragas made him very popular and won him many awards and
recognition all over India! Some critics unfairly accused him of
plagiarising "piluvakuraa" and "haayi haayigaa" tunes from Vasant Desai's
_milan hon kaise_ ("Dhuaan" 1953) and Anil Biswas's _ritu aaya, ritu
jaaya_ ("Hamdard" 1953) respectively. But there is very little truth in that. 
No one can deny the creative prowess in his works.

Riding high on the success, he embarked on his second Hindi production:
"Phoolon Ki Sej" (1964), based on Gulshan Nanda's novel: "andheri biran",
with big starring. It turned out to be his last hindi film. This film 
virtually lead the couple to ruins, losing whatever they earned over 17 years.
It was a major setback especially at a time when Anjali was considering her 
retirement from the films after acting in 100 films. Even melodious songs 
like: aa tu jaraa dil mein (Lata, Mukhesh), abhin jaa rasiya (Lata, Manna), 
pyar ko madhur madhur (Asha, Rafi), taronki aankhon ka (Lata) could not stop 
the disaster.

It took nearly a decade for the next 'big' hit from Adinarayanarao's house;
"bhakta tukaram" (1973), portraiting the life-story of saint-composer
Tukaram. This is yet another gem from the master with memorable songs like: 
ghanaa ghana sundaraa - Ghantasala, poojaku vELaayeraa - P. Susila,
unnaavaa asalunnaavaa - Ghantasala, sari sari vagalu telisera - P.Susila etc.

"alluuri seetaraama raaju" (1974), the life-story of revolutionary
freedom-fighter, followed soon, making his name well-known to the next
generation of Telugus, gaining fame to both the producer/actor Krishna
and Adinarayana rao himself. The whole audience waited along with the
heroine for seetaramaraju while she was singing "vastaaDu naa rOju"
(P. Susila). SriSri's "telugu veera levaraa deeksha booni saagaraa" was
immortalised by his tune and has become a classic patriotic song.
He never worked for any other production houses in the later period,
except for film actor Krishna's productions.

His creation "mahaakavi kshEtrayy" (1978) is a testimony to his quest for
perfection and authenticity. He travelled through the coastal districts
of Andhra Pradesh, along with well known Telugu poet, historian and
film-writer Arudra, interviewing several dEvadaasis, who have been singing
kshEtrayya padam-s for centuries. Unfortunately such thorough fieldwork,
and compositions like: ashTa vidha naayika varNana, Sreepati sutu baariki
(Ramakrishna), chedero naa saamiki (swapna sundari, famous danseuse) could 
not guarantee the film's commercial success.

Certainly we can not forget his other films like; "adutta vittu penn"
(1959, Tamil, with P B Sreenivas's solo "Vaadaada malar"), "Runaanubandham"
(1960, "andamain baava aavu paala kova", "nindu punnami nela"),
"swarNa manjari" (1962, madhuramaina guru deevana - Nagayya, P. Susila,
raavE naa praNaya roopiNi - Ghantasala), "satee sakkubayi" (1966,
ranga rangaa rangayanandi - Ghantasala). The last one was also dubbed
in to Marathi as "sakhu ali pandarpura" (1969), winning critical acclaims
in Maharashtra too. "ammakOsam" (1971), "agni pareeksha" (1970,
(konDapai ninDugaa koluvunna maa talli kanakadurga - Ghantasala),
"kalyaaNa manDapam" (1971), "pedda koDuku" (1973), "kannavaari yillu"
(1978) are his other films. 

Apart from his own compositions he left his imprint on the music field 
indirectly  too. Later highly successful music directors; Totakura Venkata 
Raju (a.k.a T V Raju), Satyam and Lakshmikant-Pyarelal duo (Phoolonki Sej) 
worked as his assistants.

An "unusual influence of  Hindusthani classical music and Marathi Natya
Sangeet" on Telugu film music is attributed to him. Early Marathi
(and Parsi) touring drama troupes left their indelible mark on Telugu
stage by the end of 19th century. It is a no surprise since Adinarayanarao
who followed the music styles keenly and heard the music of legendary
artists of Telugu stage like Tungala Chalapati Rao, K. Raghuramayya,
Jonnavittula Seshagiri Rao, C.S.R. Anjaneyulu, et al grasped these styles
as well.

His exposure to classical music and stage music from early years at Saluru 
and Vijayanagaram certainly helped him in better understanding of Hindustani 
music. Well known music critic V.A.K. Rangarao credits Adinrayana Rao for 
introducing Hindustani music in contemporary flavour and simplified 
orchsetration, and thereby impressing both laymen audience as well 
cognoscenti. It is this music that survives him enthralling all the music 

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