Composition Extraordinaire Series by Vicky Iyengar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Composition Extraordinaire & Voice Immortal Series (13)
“Ee Geethika Kalamanu”- “ఈ గీతిక కాలమును” (పక్క ఇంటి అమ్మయీ 1953) – Pakka Inti Ammayi – 1953), Voice: P Susheela (పులపాక సుశీల) & Composed by Gudimetla Ashwathama – గుడిమెట్ల అశ్వథామ (G Ashwathama)
Vintage Melodic Composition & Unblemished Raw Vocals of P Susheela – Glimpse of Eternity
When Calcutta based East India Film decided to make a Telugu movie “Pakka Inti Ammayi” based on “Pasher Bari – Next House” (A 1952 Bengali Hit Film directed by Sudhir Mukherjee starring Bhanu Banerjee) adapted from a story by the noted Bengali writer, Arun Chowdhury, Director Chittajallu Pullaiah (C. Pullaih) was approached. Pullaih cast his previous Production Manager Relangi & the Heroine of his 1947 movie “Gollabhama” – Anjali Devi. The other technical crew included – Arudra & C S R Rao (Screenplay), & Biren De (Cinemataography). Anjali Devi in her earlier movies usually played “Mohini or Deva Kanya” characters. In “Pakka Inti Ammayi” she played a light hearted comedy role and the film became a box office success. The film featured Anjali Devi as the beautiful neighbor. Famous comedian Relangi Venkata Ramaiah acted as her lover Subbarayudu and veteran South Indian singer A. M. Rajah as his opponent. Anjali Devi produced and remade the movie in Tamil as “Adutha Veettu Penn” (1960) and signed Vedantam Raghavaiah to direct it. The Musical Score was by her husband P. Adi Narayana Rao and this too was a commercial hit. In 1968 it was remade in Hindi as “Padosan” and R D Burman belted the tunes.
Plot: Subbarayudu (Relangi) stays next to the house of Heroine Leela Devi (Anjali Devi). She madly likes dance and music very much. She appoints a music teacher Prem Kumar (Narayana Rao). She does not like the actions of Subbarayudu. But he likes her very much and even loves her. He takes the help of some friends and impresses that he knows music very well. She involves her teacher Prem Kumar against Subbarayudu. He takes the help of his friend (A.M.Rajah) and mimes as if singing good songs, while Rajah is singing from background. As a result heroine almost likes him. But after knowing that he is not the singer, she changes her mind. Subbarayudu acts as a suicidal act for her refusal. Heroine finally changes her mind and loves him.
An upcoming Composer Gudimetla Ashwathama (G. Ashwathama) was responsible for the Film’s score. For “Pasher Bari” Salil Chowdhury did the composing. The movie had 3 singers (P Susheela, Amula Manmadha Raja –A M Raja & M Venkata Raju). P Susheela sang the following songs: “Ee Geethika Kalamanu”, “O Gulabi Priya”, “Vasantha Kaalam Ochindhi” (opening song), “Pasipaapa Manasutho” and may be one more. The reason I chose this song was to showcase Susheela’s unblemished, raw teenish vocalise during her early entry into playback singing and Ashwathama’s piano arrangements. Susheela was probably seventeen years old then and the recording (in Calcutta) could have taken place anytime between 1951-52.
In “Ee Geethika Galamunu”, one can revel on the fast piano preludes and interludes (flats & sharps). This gives you a good idea as to how the songs move throughout the movie. These are straightforward faithful piano compositions originally written for voice and orchestra. It is unlikely that any of these pieces would be included on modern day reality shows or recital programs. Susheela’s voice for piano was a new discovery to me. If one carefully observes her early singing style (metamosphosis) – voice maintains its strength, balance and body in the deeper (mezzo) regions “pranayaniki paatala” as well as in the high ‘vennela virisina”(soprano) – alaap area. Same goes with second lyrical phrase as well.
See how she treats with tenderness in her voice, composer’s works she performs while adding her own dimension. She transports me with her art. I did enjoy her musical intelligence behind these interpretations. Susheela moves me and thrills me with her finesse vocals. Her manner of conveying the meaning of the words especially when singing in Telugu is simply unrivaled in this situation. At moments her voice seems so ethereal, that it simply begs belief that the profound impact a human voice can be so beautiful an instrument. Her natural command of phrasing, willingness to shade the voice proves irresistible. There are hardly words to describe her remarkable vocal qualities, emotional range and warmth.
In the beginning, P Susheela seemed to do one thing better than anybody, which guaranteed her longevity i.e., she let her expanded herself in southern languages, both linguistically and musically. Listening to her repertoire, I always felt Susheela never ventured into any language until she can truly feel in it.
A voice that Surges and Dives at Ease – What is the point of living without listening to P Susheela’s songs…..