As nightingale S. Janaki celebrates her 55th year in world of film music today, let us offer the remarkable singer our best wishes for a long life filled with good health and happiness.We are presenting an old article by MR.Sarvanan describing the Golden jubilee function in his own words. We thank him also for providing us such a valuable and interesting information!!
The imposing Lalita Kala Thoranam at Hyderabad was filled with people on 4th April 2007. The occasion was the celebration of a remarkable singer completing 50 years in the Indian film industry. Celebrities and commoners thronged the venue, eager to offer their felicitations to a person whom they all adore- S. Janaki. It was on 4th April 1957 that Janaki recorded her first ever film song, and the Andhra Pradesh State Cultural Department and Andhra Pradesh Kala Vedika joined hands to organize a magnificent jamboree to mark this momentous event. Tastefully designed hoardings and aesthetically pleasing decorations added to the artistic ambience of the hall. All the hoardings, fliers and invitations had the familiar face flashing the famous guileless smile, the same trademark smile that remained serenely in place all through the 50 years, through highs and lows, and even more astounding, during all her recordings and stage performances, whatever be the song, irrespective of the intricacy of the composition, tempo or pitch…
Generations of singers had gathered in hordes to greet their beloved colleague. If Ravvu Balasaraswathi, K. Rani, P.B. Srinivas, P. Suseela and L. R Eswari represented the old-guard who were part of the golden era when Janaki made her debut, SPB was the reminder of the heady times when Janaki soared to the very pinnacle of popularity all over the South, and S.P. Shailaja and Chithra were the proud envoys of the younger generations who had Janaki as their role model and who were fortunate to enter the industry when the senior had several years of singing still left in her.
24 singers presented 50 songs of Janaki to mark the milestone. The doyenne began the show herself, going down in memory lane singing her first song in Telugu ‘neeyasa adiyasa’. K.B. Tilak, the producer and director of the movie ‘M.L.A’ (1957/ Anupama) which had featured that song 50 years ago was seated right at front, no doubt filled with sepia toned memories of that day in the distant past when the nineteen year-old Janaki had made her debut in Telugu with this song. Filled with joy at his favorite co-singer being honoured thus and eager to do his mite, SPB came on stage and sang a few duets with Janaki. ‘ mounamElanOyi, malli malli idi raani rOju’ had the audience heave a wistful sigh for the wonderful times when the sheer magic of this singing pair ruled the airwaves. And when the chanteuse crooned ‘sirimalle poova’ (the Telugu version of ‘sendhoora poovE’), the standing ovation that she received took a long time to subside.
Union Minister T. Subbirami Reddy, State Finance Minister K. Rosiah, IAS officer K.V. Ramana, Rallabandi Kavita Prasad, Dr. C. Narayana Reddy and the Chairman of the State Legislative Council, Chakrapani were some of the celebrity fans of Janaki who stayed all through the show, enjoying every minute of the event. Subbirami Reddy presented Janaki with a cheque for Rs. One Lakh. In his heartfelt words of encomium, the minister echoed the hopes of the thousands in the hall, when he wished aloud that the Government of India would honour Janaki with a Padma Bhushan.
When called upon to speak a few words in response, a visibly moved Janaki said, “”Millions of fans have showered so much affection on me all these years. They have secured my voice in their hearts. What more can I ask for as a singer!” After a brief pause, flanked by a beaming Suseela and Eswari on either side and flashing her heartwarming smile, Janaki added, “Fifty years have gone by. But even today when I stand up to sing, I tingle with the same excitement that I felt while singing my first song!”
Where would have her thoughts wandered that emotional moment in that august assembly, I wonder… was she remembering her late father-in-law who was untiring in his efforts to get her a foothold in the film industry, or was she paying mental obeisance to the late Chalapathi Rao who gave Janaki her first song…was she lamenting the loss of her husband who had been her pillar of strength… would she have thought of the first 20 years of her career when she had to wait in the sidelines in Tamil film music despite the few songs that came her way becoming hugely popular, or the stupendous successes that she notched in Malayalam and Kannada during the same period, or was she recalling Ilaiyaraja and the unforgettable decades when she finally zoomed to the front ranks in Tamil film music as well and stayed ensconced there singing one marvel after another… Would she have remembered the awards and accolades that have been bestowed upon her, or was she lost in nostalgia thinking of the challenging compositions that she had sung with élan over the years, the generations of actresses from Vyjayanthimala to Vindhiya she had sung for, the galaxy of venerable composers, gifted lyricists and talented singers she had worked with who were no longer around to watch her cross this milestone… or was she simply filled with memories of the sleepy Pallapatla where it all began…