S Janaki sings for K Viswanath

K Viswanath – His movies are pride of Telugu cinema. Awards and rewards followed his work though he never aimed at them. He influenced many budding directors as Drona would Ekalavya in Maha Bharata Epic.

Music in his movies became inseparable with Telugu cinema. Janaki amma sang for his 2nd movie ‘Private Master’ in 60’s and for couple of movies like ‘Neramu Siksha’ and ‘Chelleli Kaapuram’ in 70’s. However, their combination stuck gold during 80’s. Almost every year from 1980 – 1988, Janaki would render best melodies in almost every K Viswanath’s muscial.

In his own words – “Janaki’s voice can play a shehnai, it can sing Samaveda, An old lady finds solace in her voice and a child finds playfulness in the same..”

Let us go down memory lane and recollect all of those melodious moments..

Sankarabharanam (1980):
This movie came like a musical renaissance in Telugu cinema. Music was hero, Music was heroine, Music was everything in this movie. Every one involved in this movie would deliver their career best performances. In the recent past, there were even religious discourse on this movie comparing the characters to Siva and Vishnu. Such is impact of this movie on Telugu cinema.

If Janaki amma joined Balu sir only for swaras and few lines in title song (“Omkaranadha anusandamau ganame”), she made sure her presence was felt and remembered for ever. That sigh of appreciation ‘aaha’ she gives would in mid of song be registered with bold letters in memory of listeners. Balu sir would mention how cautious to sing swaras with her.

In fact, there is another song where only swaras will be flowing through out from their golden vocals and not even a single word. But the emotions Balu-Janaki filled in those swaras are countless. They could speak a lot without uttering a single word..!

Best song of Janaki amma in this movie would surely be ‘Samajavaragamana’.
Viswanath sir would insist on Janaki singing this song as she would give all those expressions of freshness in first love of a traditional girl. He would use a Thyagaraja krithi here (as he would do in many more movies in future) to express those feelings of love. It would have been a grave sin to do so if not presented properly. Veturi’s romantic words in charanams were sung by Balu sir while Janaki amam would stick to pallavi and anupallavi of Thyagaraja swamy’s krithi. Janaki amma’s swara sancharam and ‘Sarada’ of Somayajulu garu at the end are highlights of this song. Both Janaki and Balu would recollect experience during recording this song where Janaki amma took a medicine on repeated instance of Balu sir and it gave a severe reaction to her. Not a single note in the song would remind us of that severe illness in which she would render this all time classic!

Saptapadi (1981):
Saptapadi was equally good if not better than Sankarabaharanam musically. Yet another gem form K V Mahadevan – Viswanath – Veturi combination, it was revolutionary subject based on sensitive concepts of remarriage and caste system. If music was taken out of it, movie would become merely a classic documentary. But, it was Viswanath movie after all. Music had to take front seat.

In terms of quality and quantity, this is the movie where Janaki would render maximum songs for Viswanath in a single movie – 6 songs and few bits of Thyagaraja krithis as well.
Balu – Janaki rendered Durga Suktam with such a command that no one would believe that they were not trained in classical music.

Their another song together in this movie “Ye Kulamu Needante” had bold and thought provoking lyrics of Veturi. His lines starting with “Aadi nunchi aakasam moogadi, anadi ga thalli dharani moogadi” were pure pearls of wisdom from his blessed pen!

Janaki steals the show with her rendition of “Marugelara”, yet another Thyagara krithi Viswanath used in his movie to express hidden feelings of that pure love.

“Bhamane Satyabhamane” – her rendition of Bhama Kalapam is another highlight. Just listen to her rendition of “Srimad ratnakara” at the end of song – her display of command on Telugu with such a class!!

It is very difficult to choose between “Nemaliki nerpina” and “Govullu Tellana” as her signature song from this movie. If she spells her enchantment on listeners with unbelievable breath control in charanams of “Nemaliki nerpina”, she would end them with a innocent pride in words “Sasirekhani” and “Sakunthalani”. Through out the song, that expression and command over tune. Just a mind-blowing rendition!!

Not a single concert of her would end without singing “Govullu Thelalna”, which laid path for her singing many more songs on kids in Telugu cinema. This song would always enjoy that classic status for thought provoking lyrics, lively tune, Balu’s melody and Janaki’s versatility..!

Janaki amma rightly won her second Nandi award for songs in this movie.

Chiranjeevi, then a budding artist won his first Filmfare award as best actor for this movie. He would go on to rule Telugu cinema in days to come and Viswanath would do more movies with him and extract very best of his acting talent.

This movie starts with Jananki’s version of Annamacharya krithi “Vinnapalu Vinavele”. Of course, she sings whole song with a unique command but the devotional ecstasy she offers near the end when she sings “Venkatesudaaaa” is something beyond playback singing.

Viswanath repeats “Marugelara” in this movie also to express hidden emotions and unique devotion of heroine Sumalatha towards chiranjeevi in the movie.

While “Oho Taddhimi Takajhanu” was a raunchy SJ solo song, “Nee Jada Kucchulu” was a fun filled romantic melody by Balu-Janaki.

Sagara Sangamam(1983):
From very first scene in the movie, Viswanath takes audience under his control with “never seen before” direction in every scene.

Ilayaraja’s music was asset of the movie in every aspect.He made Janaki amma sing “Balakanaka maya chela” and take that Thyagaraja krithi closer to regular audience. Both Manjubhargavi and Kamal danced out their best in the song.

Veturi’s lyrics found no boundaries when it came to Viswanath’s movies. His lyrics for “Om Namah Shivaya” is no less compared to any keerthana. He expressed enormous potencies of Lord Siva in this Ilayaraja’s tune with numbers like “Advaitham – Aadi Manthram”, “Trikalamulu – Netra trayamulu”, “Chaturvedamulu – Prakaramulu”, “Pancha bhoothamulu – mukha panchakamulu”, “Aaru ruthuvulu – aaharyamulu”, “Edu adugulu – swara sapthakamulu”, “Drukhulu – Ashta Dikkulu”, “Vakkulu – Nava Rasamulu”, “Mounam -Dasopanishathulu”.
Janaki’s rendition of those running notes and cleanest display of aarohana and avaraohana won her yet another Nandi award.

Another song which was beyond any awards and rewards was magical “Mounamelanoyi”. Viswanath asked Raja sir to come up with a breezy composition that would remind us of SD Burman’s songs. Raja sir who himself was a big fan of Burmanda loved the challenge.
Thus born an immortal tune to be further immortalised by Balu-Janaki. Janaki amma’s alaap floating in airs starts this heavenly melody followed by her hushy “Mounamelanoyi”. Next few minutes is just romance at its melodious best! When Balu sir ends pallavi one last time, just before starting her pallavi again , Janaki amma does a minute humming leaving us to think which is sweeter, flute or her vocals! BGM was magical too.. As a matter of fact, it was a “dream come true” collaboration of genius artists. Kamal Hasan – Jayaprada – K Viswanath – SPB – Janaki – Veturi!!

Janani Janmabhoomi(1984):
Comparatively rare movie among other classics in this list. But, this movie occupies a special place for fans of Balakrishna to see their favorite artist in such a soft and classic role. Janaki sang two songs in this movie.

One was a romantic duet (Ghallu Ghalluna), lyrics of which Veutri garu used again in a devotional album.

Other was an unusual song for Viswanath movie – “Thadisina andalalo”. Janaki amma took tune of “Mama” Mahadevan to another level with her unique humming at the beginning of the song. A must listen for her admirers!

Sur Sangam (1985):
When “Sankarabharanam” was remade in Hindi, Janaki sang two songs in it. One was a Surdas bhajan ‘Prabhu more avgun chit na dharo’ filled with devotion and philosophical thoughts.The other being ‘Aayo Prabhat’, a duet with great PDT Mishra – a semi-classical treat!!

Swati Mutyam(1986):
It was a unique story of a man-child’s journey. If Kamal Hasan and Radhika would be remembered for ever for their performances, so would be the music of this movie.

All the three songs sung by Janaki in this movie would be her career best renditions.

Though, she would sing lesser lines in Suvvi Suvvi, she would steal the show with her expressive singing. Balu sir’s aalapana and Janaki amma’s swaras at beginning of the song were additional attraction to already beautiful tune of Raja sir.

“Chinnari Ponnari Kittayya” starts with Balu sir’s rendition where he would meet the very difficult requirement of meeting Kamal sir’s unique characterization of Viswanath. When Janaki enters the second charanam of the song, she does with a grace. She renders the lines “Evvaru nuvvani nannu adagaku” as if her vocals see no boundaries. Her range and expression in those lines are pure S Janaki signature!!

While the above two songs had great lyrics by legendary C Narayana Reddy, it must have been even more challenging/interesting to pen words for “Manasu Palike Mouna Geetham”. This song was an appreciation for “art of making love” where the blessed lyricist would compare it with “holy union of Parvathi – Parameswara”. Let it be for tune and those rich instruments of Raja sir or expressive renditions of Balu-Janaki, this song was born to live for ever..!

This is a special movie for admirers of Janaki amma as it was debut movie of her son Muralikrishna.
Janaki sang two songs in this movie. While Viswanath-Mahadevan would exploit unlimited range of Janaki in their bit version of “Mera Jhoota hain Japani”, they would bring semi-classical best of her from “Sri Saradamba namosthuthe”.

Who else but Viswanath would present macho man Chiranjeevi as a mere butler and Lady Amitabh Vijayasanthi as his innocent partner. Janaki amma literally sang every single song of this movie except a bit of Kshetrayya padam by Sailaja garu.

“Siggu Poobanthi” where SJ shared mike with SPB and Sailaja earned a permanent status of Janaranjani of AIR. Beauty of Telugu was audible in every single word of this song.

“Parahushar” which starts with Balu sir’s vocals gets en entirely different romantic look when Janaki enters in charanam. “Noraara Raa Raa Raara anna” is Janaki-Ramesh Naidu’s gift of romance to audience. She would repeat same lines with a motherly emotion later on in the movie, proving magic in her voice to present same lines with varied emotions..!

“Hello Hello Darling” – another fun filled song from Balu Janaki. Janaki amma sings English words in the song with a unique grace and Balu sir renders Telugu words with traditional look. When she sings “May God bless you” in single breath, she does as if she is never going to end that long phrase… she is second to none in offering thrill with such vocal acrobatics ..!

“Kamudu Kamudo mallo” is another rare song from this movie. Though not popular, this song is a listeners choice for her admirers, especially for the tragic bits she sings at end “annemeruganu punnemruganuraa”.

Pride of the album however is “Sinni Sinni Korikaladaga”. Sirivennala Sitaramasastry’s words and his style would remind us Annamcharya. Many would even mistake this song to be another annamacharya keerthana used by Viswanath. Such was richness of Seetaramasastry’s Telugu and his boundless imagination. Janaki amma sang every word and every syllable filled with love. Her voice was bright, pronunciation rich, rendition filled with life and this song is thus evergreen!

Last movie from this great combination and what a great farewell it was.

“Athmathwam Girija matih” (excerpt from Shiva Manasa Pooja stotram) is a rare devotional offering from Ilayaraja in voice of Janaki.

“Kothaga Rekkalochena” – yet another super hit duet from Balu-Janaki-Ilayaraja. Balu sir sings entire pallavi and majority of words in charanam also. Janaki however makes her presence felt with never ending youth in her vocals. In the movie, actress Bhanupriya is a born dancer and hero Venkatesh wants to prove the same to world even when she wants to run away from it. This song comes in the movie when she accepts for the first time to display her talent willingly to world. Every word in the song reflects it and Janaki would sing as if she is dancing with voice in lines “veduru loki vodigindi kudur leni gali” and when Balu sir ends “bhasha lona rayaleni,raasaleela reyi loni” – Janaki amma would say “abba” as a sigh of appreciation but with a hint of fun before she repeats the same line full throat-ed. All of that is just “Janaki’s magic” ..!

Best of the SJ songs in this movie for sure is “Aakasam lo aasala harivillu”. What a performance she gave in this song and her voice would suit Bhanupriya like second skin. Even if we close our eyes, we can see beautiful Bhanupriya dancing like a peacock , running like a deer with a thundering speed. Who else but Seeta ramasastry could give life to aspirations of Viswanath’s heroine in such a way. Janaki’s running notes are a highlight. The way she painted tune of Raja sir in her golden vocals gave this song evergreen status. Many artists sing this song in concerts and competitions like almost every other song discussed till now to display their vocal prowess.

Dubbed Movies:
When Sankarabharanam was dubbed to Tamil and Malayalam, original songs in Telugu were retained. They were not even dubbed. Likewise some of songs of Saptapadi were also left untouched. It was a unique achievement of rich poetry of great Veturi. While most of the times, dubbed songs go unnoticed, “Mounamelanoyi” in Tamil (Mounamana neram) and Malayalam (Mounam polum madhuram) won same evergreen status, which itself another rare achievement. Even other dubbing songs were also popular from “Sippukal muthu” etc.. Listed only available songs in this list and did not include songs where original Telugu versions were retained in dubbing movies.

Among the 50 songs listed in this compilation, easily 40-45 of them earned iconic status without any exaggeration. Viswanath garu and Janaki amma share a mutual admiration which they expressed in many interviews, award functions and even otherwise.
Blessed are us to listen these golden melodies from great artists!

Ekkada UntavoPrivate MasterTelugu
Manasunte ChaladulePrivate MasterTelugu
Emandi Saaru O Batlaru DoragaruNeramu SikshaTelugu
Bhale Bhale Ma AnnayyaChelleli KaapuramTelugu
Ee Daari Naa SwamyChelleli KaapuramTelugu
Omkaara NaadaanusandhanamSankarabharanamTelugu
Saamaja VaragamanaSankarabharanamTelugu
Bhamane Satyabhamane Saptapadi Telugu
Govullu TellanaSaptapadi Telugu
Marugelara O RaghavaSaptapadi Telugu
Nemaliki Nerpina NadakalivSaptapadi Telugu
Om JatavedaseSaptapadi Telugu
Ye Kulamu NeedanteSaptapadi Telugu
Nagumo [Bit]Saptapadi Telugu
Vinnapaalu Vinavale VintavintaluSubhalekhaTelugu
Nee Jada Kucchulu Naa MedakucchuluSubhalekhaTelugu
Oho Taddhimi TakajhanuSubhalekhaTelugu
Marugelaraa O RaaghavaaSubhalekhaTelugu
Mounamelanoyi Ee Marapurani ReySagara SangamamTelugu
Om Namah ShivaayaSagara SangamamTelugu
Baala Kanakamaya ChelaSagara SangamamTelugu
Ghallu Ghalluna KaallaJanani JanmabhoomiTelugu
Tadisina AndalaloJanani JanmabhoomiTelugu
Prabhu More AvgunSur SangamHindi
Aayo PrabhathSur SangamHindi
Chinnari Ponnari KittayyaSwati MutyamTelugu
Manasu PalikeSwati MutyamTelugu
Suvvi SuvviSwati MutyamTelugu
Sri SaradambaSruthilayaluTelugu
Mera JhootaSruthilayaluTelugu
Sinni Sinni KorikaladagaSwayamkrushiTelugu
Hello Hello DarlingSwayamkrushiTelugu
Siggu PoobantiSwayamkrushiTelugu
Kamudu KamuduSwayamkrushiTelugu
Kothaga RekkalochenaSwarnakamalamTelugu
Om Namah ShivaayaSalangai Oli Tamil
Mounamana NeramSalangai Oli Tamil
Mounam Polum MadhuramSagara SangamamMalayalam
Om Namah ShivayaSagara SangamamMalayalam
Kannodu KannanaSippikkul MuthuTamil
Manasu MayangumSippikkul MuthuTamil
Thulli ThulliSippikkul MuthuTamil
Nin VamsamethennuSaptapadiMalayalam