Ten Songs of Janaki amma – C Narayana Reddy (A Tribute)


Legendary poet and lyricist C Narayana Reddy garu had been a part of Telugu poetry and Cinema for years together. His songs cannot be separated from the heritage of Telugu cinema. He gave a rich look and respect to Telugu song with his magical vocabulary and imagination. There is not a single variety of song that he did not write till now. His collaboration with music directors and singers of golden era had been outstanding. It is such a sad news that he left us all to rest in peace..!


Sharing this article of 10 songs written by him and sung by Janaki amma as a tribute to his noble soul.


    1. Kalala alala pai telenu – Gulebakavali Katha – Ghantasala, S Janaki


    CNR garu penned for movies for the first time in ‘Gulebakavali Katha’. He mentioned in many functions that ‘Kalala alala pai telenu’ sung by Janaki amma and Ghantasala mastaru was first song he wrote for the movie and ‘Nannu Dochukundavate’ by Suseelamma and Ghantasala mastaru was first song to be recorded. He even mentioned ‘Kalala alalapai’ as one of his favourites in many interviews..


    This is a ‘question and answer’ kind of song with beautiful riddles by heroine to be romantically resolved by hero, which is nothing but a pure magic in young and golden string like vocals of Janaki amma along with masculine vocals of Ghantasala mastaru. Screen presence of mighty NTR added charm to the song..


      2. Pagale Vennala – Pooja Phalam


      This song is a dreamy combination of S Rajeswara Rao, C Narayana Reddy, S Janaki, ANR, Jamuna, B N Reddy … One of most most popular songs of Janaki amma in Telugu cinema .. This song just cannot escape from any of ‘Best hits’ compilations of any of the artists mentioned above.. a detailed article on this all time classic is Here..


        3. Gunna Mamidi Komma meeda – Balamitrula Katha


        ‘Balamitrula Katha’, supposed to be a low budget movie created a permanent place in telugu cinema just with this song. Hard to imagine this movie minus the song. It is a story of two friends, one rich and other poor and the dramatic circumstances they go through.. Satyam sir made Janaki amma sing almost all songs in this movie. Gunnamamidi in particular had become signature song of Janaki amma in Telugu cinema and any concert of her hardly ends without this song. Janaki amma is very fond of the sad version of this song but sharing the happy version to show how beautifully CNR garu compared the situation of the friends to two different birds in same nest and explained that friendship is beyond any materialism of the world!


          4. Adadi Korukune varalu – Radhamma Pelli


          CNR garu was expert in bringing out complete mood of a movie with in one song. Gunnamamidi song, mentioned above is a classic example for that. Dasari garu exploited this ability of CNR garu in his very first movie ‘Thatha manavudu’ with two gems ‘Eenade babu nee puttina roju’ (by PS) and Anubandham Athmeeyatha (by V Rama Krishna). He again created the magic in Radhamma pelli where SJ rendered soothing’ Aadadi korukune varalu’. This song is all about dreams of a young girl about her marriage and having kids. When all her dreams are devastated, she sings the sad version.. Initial alaap of Janaki amma, melody of Ramesh Naidu, lyrics of CNR … classic !


            5. Niddura Pora saamy – Kodalu Diddina Kapuram – SPB, S Janaki


            It was NTR who brought CNR to movies (CNR is extremely famous beyond movies and he won Gnanpeet award for his works) and CNR was part of all movies that NTR produced. Janaki amma got to sing in many of those movies. Especially in Sri Krishna satya, Gems !! Song we are discussing now is from ‘Kodalu Diddina kapuram’, which is supposed to be first duet by SPB for NTR. Picked this song even leaving other hits just to show the greatness of CNR .. His usage of words like ‘Jithulamari chukkalu ninnu ethukapotahyemo’ proves his pen can write anything without compromising on quality!! Janaki amma ‘s ‘chandurruni’ added more beauty to her rendition..


              6. Neekela Intha Nirasa – Aaradhana


              Aradhana, a musical it is..! Remake of Hindi movie ‘Geet’ where Janaki amma and Rafi sahab sang tunes of S hanumanta Rao, who used almost all tunes as is except for ‘Nede telsindi’ (Marumoola pallelona madhuraganamudayinchenani – a sentence true for most of golden vocals in India). ‘Naa madi ninnu pilichindi ganamai’ is biggest hit in this movie. However, sharing ‘Neekela intha nirasa’ a soothing solo by Janaki amma. Generally, while writing for a dubbing/remade song lyricist will be using similar ideology in the original song. But, CNR garu is a clear exception for that. Every song of his carried his own signature.. ‘Cheekati kontha veluthuru kontha inthe jeevithamantha’, ‘vaadina modu pooyaka manadu vachunu vasantha masam’, ‘neetho kalisi needa ga nilache thoduga nenuntanu’ – all these are purely and purely CNR!!! Janaki amma sang this with all of her heart and soul!!


                7. Siva Siva ananelara – Bhaktha Kannappa


                CNR is undoubtedly one of most versatile lyricists Telugu Cinema had ever seen. Same person who could write inspiring songs like ‘Telugu jathi manadi’, ‘Chedu anavaddu’, ‘nee dharmam nee sangham’ wrote sensuous songs like ‘Naa paruvam nee kosam’. In fact, very first song of dancer Jayamalini was written by CNR and sung by SJ – ‘ Monnanae vayasochindi’ from ‘Aadadani adrushtam’. This particular song ‘Siva Siva ananelara’ for Bapu’s ‘Bhaktha Kannappa’ earned a classic status because of wonderful lyrics he gave… This Javali sung by Janaki amma picturised on young and beautiful Jayamalini who acted perfectly well for lines like ‘Bhakthulaku brathuku gadupaga gadupaga mukthi, manaboti rakthulaku gadiya gadiyaku mukthi’ ..!


                  8. Manasu Palike Mounageetham – Swati Muthyam – SPB, S Janaki


                  This is yet another classic to establish how versatile an artist he is ..! Each and every song of K Viswanath’s Swathimuthyam occupies a permenant place in music libraries of Telugu audience. Ilayaraja sir’s magical music with golden melodies like Suseelamma’s ‘Vatapatrasai ki varahala laali’ and Janaki amma’s duets with Balu sir – ‘Manasu palike mouna geetham’, ‘Suvvi Suvvi Suvvalamma’,
                  ‘Chinnariponnari kittaya’ and Balu sir’s Harikatha ‘Rama kanavemira’.


                  Which song to pick from the three duets! Every song is a lyrical beauty with expressive singing .. Selecting ‘Manasu palike mouna geetham’ as it is such a challenging song for any lyricist or singer or composer.. It is challenging in terms of handling the situation of a wife teaching her husband how to make love to her .. CNR gave a divine look to it by comparing the holy union of a wife-husband to that of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi .. When she sings ‘Sirasu pai nee ganga nai marula jalakaladani, sagamu menu girija nai pagalu reyi odagani’, we can’t help but surrender to this genius called CNR!!


                    9. Ponna Poola Uyyala – Chandana


                    Ramesh Naidu was Melody and Melody was Ramesh Naidu ..! Every thing he touched was melodious ..! Janaki amma got to sing beautiful melodies in combination of Ramesh naidu – C Narayana Reddy like ‘Saddu managaneeyavoy’ from Amma mata and ‘Udayamouthunna’, a duet with SPB for ‘Mangala thoranalu’ . The best album that came from this trio is ‘Chandana’ without a second thought! It had haunting melodies like ‘Ee Reyi sathakoti depalu velagali’, ‘Neeru pallamerugu’ and ‘Sirimalle chettukunda Ramulammo’ (a personal fav of Janaki amma).


                    However, pick of the album is ‘Ponna poola Uyyala’. It is a folk melody of a young village girl comparing herself to beauties of nature and establishing that she is far better than anything else! Yet, the way Janaki amma sang the song makes us fall in love with her innocence, than sounding arrogant … CNR is very famous for his usage of ‘Samasalu’ and technically difficult Telugu but he used very simple and easy words in this song.. It seems as if he tried not being himself but could not help delivering the best!


                      10. Ghallu Ghalluna – Neerajanam


                      OP Nayyar’s only Telugu project – ‘Neerajanam’ is nothing less than a feast to ears in vocals of Balu – Janaki singing the lyrics of CNR… As a matter of fact, CNR garu was must in most of Telugu songs composed by North Indian music directors because of his fluency in Urdu and Hindi along with Telugu. This album came in late 80′s , by when usage of regular words instead of poetic/bookish language became popular in Telugu cinema .. But, look at the lines he used in this song .. ‘Kshanamaagaka thanuvoogenu ee sandhya sameeralalao’ ‘kalakanidi nijamainadi mana hrudayala neerajanam’ …That is why people like him – Once a legend, a legend forever. Neerajanam movie did not make big in theatres. But, success of music was beyond limits with a record sale of cassettes.


                      Just selecting 10 songs was such a tough task that many other melodies like Mallelu kurisina challani velalo ( Adugujaldalu – With Ghantasala), Emo Emo Idi (Aggi Pidugu – With Ghantasala), Okasari Kalaloki Ravayya (Gopaludu Bhoopaludu – With Ghantasala), Aa kanulalo kalala naa cheli( Alapana – With SPB), Kalaganti Kalagantine (Sri Kirhsna Satya), Priya Priya Madhuram(Sri Kirhsna Satya – With Ghantasala and B Vasantha), Sarileru neekevvaru (Kanchu Kota – With P Suseela), Salamalekum Saehb garu ( Gulebakavali katha – With Ghantasala), Kalise prathi sandhya lo (Alapana – With SPB), Aunanavu kadanavu (Vijayasimha – With PBS), Chinavada Manasayera (Jarigina Katha), Raara Rasikaranmouli (DVS Karna), Ninu chudaka nenundalenu (Neerajanam – With SPB), Orabbi chebuthanu (Kahi Babyi – with SPB) etc.. were not mentioned in the list.


                      Janaki amma won Nandi award for song ‘Nadila pravahinchede jevitham’ written by CNR and composed by Balamurali garu in 1997 which might be the last song sung by Janaki amma for lyrics of CNR. Thus ended professional relationship of Janaki amma with CNR garu that lasted for more than 3 decades but not their mutual admiration. He was very fond of Janaki amma’s singing that he would end up saying ‘Ammayi Nee Gonthu Sannayi’ in almost every single meeting and Janaki amma would reciprocate the same by telling all good words about his Vidwat and the way he would even give tunes for his songs to music directors ..!


                      With his death, Telugu poetry and cinema lost their dear child…


                      His poetry is pride of Telugu and his lyrics is part of day to day life of Telugu!!


                      Salute the genius ..!! May his noble soul rest in peace..!!

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