Faded Into Oblivion Series by Vicky Iyengar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
“Kondagaali Thirigindhi Gunde” (కొండగాలి తిరిగింది గుండె) – “ఉయ్యాలా జంపాల” (Uyyala Jampala – 1960), Carnatic Raga: “Malayamarutham” – “మలయలారుతం” – Voice: పులపాక సుశీల – ఘంటసాల వెంకటేశ్వర రావు (P Susheela & Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao) & Composed by Pendyala Nageswara Rao (పెండ్యాల నాగేశ్వర రావు)
In the Waters Vast Expanse, Arudra’s Poetic Verses! – An Aphoristic Melody with Ghantasala & Legendary Vocal Remnants of P Susheela
The Movie: Uyyala Jampala (1960) was a Melodrama produced by Anupama Films – G Veerabhadra Rao and had Kongara Jaggaiah & Krishnakumari as the main lead with Gummadi & Chalam in supporting roles.
The Composer: The Musical Score was composed by Pendyala Nageswara Rao with lyrical support from Arudra & Kosaraju. Hailing from Vanukuru, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Pendyala learnt to play the “Harmonium”, while accompanying his father, Sitaramiah to Stage Dramas. In the early 1930’s he played the characters of Jambavathi, Rukmini & Narada “Tulabaram” a mythological stage play along with Jonnavithula Seshagiri, Rushyendramani, Lakshmirajyam and got rave reviews. It was the yesteryear actress, the legendary Pasupuleti Kannamba’s Producer-Director husband Kadaru Nagabhushanam who spotted the young Pendyala’s talent and asked him to join his orchestral team as an Assistant headed by S. V. Venkataraman (“Meera”, “Manohara”, “Singari”, “Kodeeswaran”, “Irumbuthirai”) & S. B. Dinakar Rao (“Tingu Ranga”), the duo were then composing the musical score for the Telugu Film “Thalli Prema (1941). Later he was hired by Gudavalli Ramabrahmam to work for “Mayalokam” (1945) as Harmonist & Arranger under the lesser known composer Gali Penchala Narasimha Rao.
However, it was the acclaimed Director, Producer & Cinematographer Kovelamudi Surya Prakash Rao (K. S. Prakash Rao) who signed the young and promising Pendyala as a Independent Composer for his film “Drohi” (1948). Thus began the illustrious career of Pendyala, who went on to score music for 100 films (Modhati Rathri, Kannathalli, Jyothi, Menarikam, Donga Ramudu, Muddu Bidda, Bhagya Rekha, M.L.A, Sri Krishna Garadi, Jayabheri, Uyyala Jampala, Bhatti Vikramarka, Mahakavi Kalidasu, Sri Venkateswara Mahathmyam, Vagdanam, Mahamanthri Thimmarasu, Kula Gothralu, Sri Krishnaarjuna Yuddham, Ramudu Bheemudu, Sri Krishna Thulabaram, Bandipotu Dongalu, Ananda Nilayam, Bhoomikosam, Deeksha, Suprabhatham, Chanakya Chandragupta & Priya Bhandavi to name a few) over a span of 21 years and gave some memorable hits including the mentioned song.
Composer Pendyala was also officially credited (in 1952) for introducing P Susheela as a playback singer for the Telugu film “Kanna Thalli” which was also incidentally directed by K.S. Prakash Rao. But evidence indicate that Susheela had already recorded a duet “Jaya Jaya Sri Malvaraja Kulamani” with A V Saraswathi for the film “Adhrushta Deepudu” (1950 – HMV/Columbia N28781) & in “Sri Lakshmamma Katha” (1950 – A Short Verse or “Padyam”) for the legendary C. R. Subburaman which was confirmed by Susheela in an interview to the National Daily “The Hindu” a few years back.
Soundtrack: The soundtrack consisted of 9 songs voiced by Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, Ghantasala, P Leela, B Gopalam (Azhagar Malai Kalvan), Jamuna Rani & P Susheela. The songs are “Etaloni Keratalu” (M Balamuralikrishna), “Nilone Ughe”(P Susheela), “Amdala Ramudu” (P Leela), “Umgaral Juttu Vadu” (P Susheela), “Rukminamma”(P Susheela), “Kondagali Tirigindhi” (P Susheela/Ghantasala), “Dachina Dagudu Valapu” (P Susheela & Ghantasala), “O Poye Poye” (Ghantasala), “Kayam Dadu” (Jamuna Rani/B Gopalam).
Pendyala, the mystical composer unhesitatingly chose his favorite songstress (P Susheela) during the golden era to render these solo-duet compositions knowing that he would reap the benefits of her repertory – melodic nuance, deep haunting vocals, sterling musicianship and dedicated performance.
Poet Arudra: Arudra was a very popular writer & contributed greatly to the success of Golden Era of Telugu cinema (Beedala Paatlu, Kanna Talli, Pakka Inti Ammayi, Jayabheri, Veera Kankanam, Chenchulakshmi, Aradhana, Bheeshma, Manchi Kutumbam, Muthyala Muggu, Mallepoovu, Pelli Pusthakam). Arudra (1925-98) was a multifaceted personality. He wrote many poems, essays, short stories, dramas, translations, film songs, detective novels and a book on Chess.Tvamevaham (You are none other than me) and Samagra Andhra Sahityam (An Encyclopedia of Telugu Literature) are landmark works of this great writer.He wrote poetry Koonalamma Padaalu in 1964. In this poem, he describes contemporary society in a sarcastic way in a very simple style. Arudra wrote several poems on his reminiscences of the Second World War. He projected the city from various angles.He penned popular lyrics for many block-buster films based on the Ramayana. He added to the field of Ramayana studies with his scholarly work called Ramudiki Sita Yemautundi? (1978) (bluntly translated to: How is Sita related to Rama?). He translated the Tamil treatise Tirukkural into Telugu. He belonged to the school of progressive writers ‘Abhyudaya Rachayitala Sangham’, (a very potent force in Andhra Pradesh).
One of the finest songs with aphoristic tinge, Arudra’s (ఆరుద్ర) vivid poetic imagination takes us on minimalist musical ride in a “Padava” (boat) – an astonishing scenic journey to the coastal waters of the Andhra Pradesh and quaint country towns. We get to smell the aromatic and intoxicating fragrances of “Mogali”(Kerwa Flower) & “Naagamalli” (Long Stem Jasmine), have a glimpse of “Pallupitta” (the Indian Blue Jay), and witness the nearness of the distant dancing moon on a daylight sky (Patta Pagalu Siri Vennala Bharatha Natyam Aadindhi).
Raga “Malayamarutham”: The song is set to tune in Raga “Malayamarutham”. Malayamarutam is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is a janya rāgam (derived scale), as it does not have all the seven swaras (musical notes). The notes used in this scale are shadjam, shuddha rishabham, antara gandharam, panchamam, chathusruthi dhaivatham and kaisiki nishadam. Malayamarutam is considered a janya rāgam of Chakravakam, the 16th Melakarta rāgam, though it can be derived from Ramapriya also, by dropping madhyamam. This scale is used in Hindustani music in recent years by instrumentalists. This is a morning raga and some of the notable compositions include “Dnahyadevodo” (Thyagaraja), “Karpaga Manohara” (Papanasam Sivan) & “Karunannidhiye” (Purandaradasa).
Though, the avoirdupois of the song undisputedly rests on Ghantasala’s vocals, it is the foundational & mesmerising trance-like alaaps of Susheela (especially the vibrato – coloratura portions) that ably support the interludel woodwind columns sways us to explore the sub-continental coastal landscape. Now you know why Pendyala cherry-picked her – the sheer radiance in her voice! Comparisons in a Duet can be interesting – sometimes…
Let us Begin the Boat Ride in Raga “Malayamarutham”…..
కొండగాలి తిరిగిందీ గుండె ఊసులాడింది
గోదవరి వరదలాగ కోరిక చెలరేగింది || కొండ ||
Kondagaali Thirigindhi, Gunde Uusulaadindhi
Godaavari Varada Laaga Korika Chelaregindhi
పుట్టమీద పాలపిట్ట పొంగిపోయి కులికింది
గట్టుమీద కన్నెలేడి గంతులేసి ఆడింది
పట్టపగలు సిరివెన్నెల భరతనాట్య మాడింది
పట్టరాని లేత వలపు పరవసించి పాడింది || కొండ ||
Puttamiidha Paalapitta Pongipoyi Kurikindhi
Gattu Meedha Kanne Ledhi Ghamntu Lesi Aadindhi
Patta Pagalu Siri Vennela Bharata Naatyam aadindhi
Patta Raani Letha Valapu Paravasinchi Paadindhi
మొగలి పూల వాసనతో జగతి మురిసిపోయింది
నాగమల్లె పూలతో నల్లని జడ నవ్వింది
పడుచుదనం అందానికి తాంబూలమిచ్చింది
ప్రాప్తమున్న తీరానికి పడవ సాగిపోయింది || కొండ ||
Mogali Puulu Vaasanatho Jagathii Murisi Poyindhi
Naagamalli Puulatho Nallani Jada Navvindhi
Paduchu Dhanam Amdhaaniki Taambuulamichindhi
Praapta Munna Theeraaniki Padava Saagi Poyindhi
In both the first & second verse of the Poem, the melodic part starts incrementally, combining atmospheric vocals of Ghantasala and high pitched melodic sound (Alaap) of Susheela for the most part – intertwined for a woodwind pattern. Hear Susheela’s short progressive (flute-like melody sort of overtone) vocal dance in “పట్టపగలు సిరివెన్నెల భరతనాట్య మాడింది” – “Patta Pagalu Siri Vennela Bharata Naatyam Maadindhi..aaaa..oooo…aaaaa” that captures the essence of Arudra’s verse!
What makes this song so valuable – Firstly, profound, well-balanced & innovative composition and secondly, is the singing of Susheela – resplendent & beautiful. Unfortunately for us, voices like this just aren’t around any longer!
కొండగాలి తిరిగిందీ గుండె ఊసులాడింది
గోదవరి వరదలాగ కోరిక చెలరేగింది
Kondagaali Thirigindhi, Gunde Uusulaadindhi
Godaavari Varada Laaga Korika Chelaregindhi….aaaa….aaaaa…..aaaaa
Susheela sculpts this song like a master craftsman each time ending in unison with Ghantasala’s vocals. In the end, it was Susheela’s voice that made the Indian Blue Jay jealous of her: clean, pure, with perfect intonation and just enough interpretive coloratura to make the composer’s message ring true. And the composers—all of them—loved her. Susheela respected the lyric in its true naked sense. Susheela—this graceful, legendary professional artist—sang so, so beautifully. See and hear for yourself via this clip. It speaks volumes of her vocal properties & unsurpassed interpretations (including the “whimper” at the end).