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Metro cultural round-up



Sohha Raju reciting compositions of Saint Annamacharya

"Vesavi Vennela", a 10-day programme imparting free training in singing compositions of Annamacharya by none other than Shobha Raju, a name that has become a synonym for the sankirtana of the gospel of the 15th century saint-composer, no wonder was the major attraction from June 4 at Gurazada Kalakshetram. Thanks to the all-out initiative of the president of the local chapter of the Annamacharya Bhavana Vahini Trust, the founder-president of the Hyderabad-based parent body, Sobha Raju (who estabished a branch not only at Visakhapatnam but also in the US recently and got an allotment of two acres of land at Madhapur, Hyderabad, from the AP Government for setting up a music academy with facilities for teaching Sanskrit, philosophy, meditation and naturopathy), along with its managing trustee, S. Nanda Kumar (her husband), stayed in Visakhapatnam for 10 days, quite a benevolent gesture indeed.

Hundreds of devotees of Lord Venkateswara, lovers and connoisseurs of the compositions of Annamacharya, especially those who are enthusiastic to sing the compositions irrespective of their inherent or acquired talent on one hand and sans any barriers of age on the other had a golden opportunity to learn singing the sankirtanas under the direct tutelage of Shobha Raju. Excelling even the qualified and seasoned teachers of music, she not only gave a gist of the emotional content of each composition, the raga and tala in which it is set, the essential intricacies of swara articulation in the particular scale of raga first and made the learners sing the lyrics with notation. The chosen pitch was rather high (a major attraction of the rendering of Shobha Raju) comparable to the usual one adopted for rendering of light music, the cine music in particular but, nonetheless, the trainees, especially the initiated among them got adopted to it either singing with difficulty in the same or the lower octave.

For the uninitiated who thronged the venue, it presented a picture of a grand spectacle of sound rapport between the lone teacher and hundreds of the taught. All kudos to Shobha Raju and the local organisers headed by A.S.N. Prasad, for organising such a fine programme and serving the cause of providing much needed relief from the adverse influence of noise pollution as well.

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The devotees of the Devi and members of the Sri Lalitha Temple in Visakhapatnam, observing the aradhana of the first two successive Peethadhipatis in its premises, Sri Dakshinamurthy Maharaj and Sri Avyaktananda Maharaj, organised lectures on the history of establishment of the Sri Lalitha Peetham and other allied aspects. Renowned litterateurs, Vedula Subrahmanya Sastry on the history on June 7, Acharya Paateelu Thimmareddy on Lalitha Sahasranamam on the next day and Narayananandapuri Maharaj (retired principal of Mrs. A.V.N. College and Adapa Veerabhadra Rao in his `purvashram') on Swami Avyaktananda Maharaj's Srividya-Tantrasadhana and its Vaisishtyam on the concluding day, delivered the discourses.

The former Head of the Department of Mathematics Andhra University, P. Gopalakrishna Murthy, the Deputy and the Assistant Commissioners of Commercial Taxes, R. Ramakrishna Rao and K. Ravi Sankar, the retired Hindi professor, S. Madhava Rao, the advocate, T.V. Appala Narasimham, and Sri Kameswarananda Bharati Swami, who were guests of honour, spoke. Special rituals like Pratyangira Homam were conducted in the mornings.

"To dream truth is poetry and creative writing which should be nourishment to the heart but not a punishment to the mind. A writer shall be able to revolve around himself and as well around society was the motto of Arudra. It gets amply reflected in his innumerable works both in the poetic and the prosaic idioms. His essays on Kandukuri, Kasinathuni, Kavali Brothers, Malladi Ramakrishna Sastry, Balantrapu Rajanikantha Rao, Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, Vajjhala, Sri Sri and so on stand hailed as picturesque pen drawings, notwithstanding a few glaring omissions like Thyagaraja, his Samagraandhra Sahityam not only the magnum opus of his pen in simple colloquial idiom but also of the century. It is an eruditely revealing cosmorama of the panorama of the glorious contribution to Telugu literature ever since its advent till the day he completed and put in print in the later part of the last century'' went on eloquently ecstatic the renowned literary critic and writer Kadiyala Ramamohana Roy speaking at the Raavi Sri Krishnamurthy awards function that was held recently under the aegis of Sahitya Surabhi.

The purport was also to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of the revolutionary and reformist writer-poet Arudra (31st August 1925 - 4th June 1998) and R.S. Krishna Murthy who died in July 2001.

Reciting excerpts from the other works like the cirtiques, novels, especially Twamevaham - a graphic and empathetic account of the miserable plight of the people of Telangana - free verses in a variety of "Desi Chandas" on various problems of the common man and the need for rebellion, plays and playlets for the stage and Akashvani including the multitude of songs scripted for feature films besides the proficiency achieved by him in history pertaining to the various sasans, anthropology, playing chess and so on, Roy literally materialised a sculpturesque canvas of the mind, heart and soul of Arudra.

Next, the nephew of R.S. Krishna Murthy, N.S.Murty gave a brief account of his uncle's biographical sketch. Murthy, born in 1939 at Vizianagaram in a lower middle class family, started displaying his spark with the pen even when he was studying at M.R. College thanks to the all-out encouragement he got from the then HoD of English and reputed linguist Ronanki Appalaswamy on one hand and Chaso and Bharago on the other. Starting as a stenographer to the then Superintendent of KGH (Britisher) and later shifting to Bhilai in 1956, he obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees by self-study and also became a qualified cost accountant to reach the managerial level and retired as Dy.GM of Ferro Scrap Nigam Limited. Simultaneously, he achieved the niche of a multifaceted personality with scores of short stories, including translations into English published in noted magazines, besides being an active participant as a playwright, actor-director and producer at the theatre.



Garimella Rama Murthy

Krishna Murthy's kith and kin, along with his admirers, established a trust in his memory and have been conducting competitions annually in Telugu short story writing since his death in 2001. Entries are invited from all over the country and after assessment by a panel of judges, the first three best of the lot are awarded a cash prize of Rs.3,000, Rs.2,000 and Rs.1,000 respectively. K. Varalakshmi of Jaggampeta for her story `Prasthanam', G. Anasuya of Nalgonda for `Aruvu Thalli' and S. Devendrachari of Tirupati for `Chedirina Bimbam' were the recipients of the awards this year that were presented to them by Ramamohana Roy who was also one among the panel of judges.

Later, "Bharati Bhushana" Rambhatla Lakshminrusimha Sarma of Akashvani reviewed the book `Chaya Chitralu', a compilation of 14 select short stories of R.S. Krishna Murthy. He analysed the novel technique of picturisation of various tints of human emotions besides the appropriate usage of the existing and also the brilliantly coined idioms and phrases as they appear in the short stories, the novelty of the author.

The president of the Surabhi, V. Kalyana Rama Rao, who chaired the session, felicitated Roy who belongs to the rare category of a few critics who review and assess any literary work in terms of its purposeful utility creating awareness in society. Recipient of the best literary critic award of the Telugu university in 1999, Roy published more than a score of critiques on the Bharatiya Saraswatha Vignana Sarvaswam published by the Central Sahitya Akademi besides several essays on the influence of Sri Sri and the likes on the 20th century writers, Kalyana Rama Rao informed the gathering.

Born in 1944, Roy obtained MA and Ph.D. degrees and worked as lecturer and principal of several colleges all over Andhra for 36 years.

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Reputed doyen of the theatre, Garimella Rama Murthy, in addition to being a founder of many a dramatic association in north coastal region of Andhra, Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram, in particular was also a name known for introducing and making the lovers of drama accustomed to ticket system at the theatre. Sans any aspiration for name and fame for himself, he served the theatre selflessly and thus the cause of social drama in Telugu with missionary zeal till he breathed his last recently at Hyderabad.

The fact that his death was profusely grieved and condoled by well known organisations like the Madras Telugu Academy and Bharat Cultural Integration Committee, represented by their founder- convener, T.V.K.Sastry, besides their honorary chairman, C. Pratap Reddy, and it vice-president, Sunkari Prabhakara Rao, among others, speak volumes about Garimella's stupendous contribution to theatre.

A.RAMALINGA SASTRY

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