Prolific playback singer Srirangam Venugopal aka Venu finished working on his 100th film Kayka (director by Teja with music by RP Patnaik) recently. Marking the occasion, he had chitchat with the film media today. Though a Hyderabadi by birth and brought-up, Venu delivers a mellifluous output in chaste Telugu, with overflowing nativity. Nephew of famed classical singer of Andhra Pradesh – late Srirangam Gopalaratnam (the only recipient of Padmashri Award as woman playback singer in the state), Venu is thoroughly trained not only the in the classical, but also western music. So far, he also gave more than 200 stage shows overseas
Dream come true with SPB
Born, brought up and still residing at Chikkadpalli, Hyderabad, Venu drew the first inspiration from his parents – popular performer on the AIR, Srirangam Govindachari, and Smt. Raghava Kumari, an exponent of Andhranatyam. He took sufficient training with professionals in the classical – Hemavathi and Palagummi Viswanatham. After taking his degree from the Osmania University, he took up playback singing as a pastime art. “Since childhood, I have been an ardent fan of SP Balasubramanyam garu. I didn’t believe my own eyes when I stood before him in 1999 participating in the Padutha Theeyaga program. Of course, I was finished in the Semi-finals, but I felt lucky to have sung in his program and interact with a legend like him. Later, an unseen force drove me to take active part in the field.”
Only Sincereity He made his first debut Chindulese Vayasulo in the film Nee Kosam (starring Ravi Teja). “It was RP Patnaik who gave me the first opportunity.” It was followed by Priya Priya… in Uday Kiran starrer Kalusukovalani with music by Devi Sri Prasad. “But commercial break came to me with the song… Gundello… in Nagarjuna’s Manmadhudu. Chakri furthered my chances as a busy playback singer. In the years followed, Chakri and Devi Sri Prasad turned very friendly towards me.” Some of the films under them include: Mass, Venky, Naa Alludu, 143, Shankar Dada Zindabad and Hello Premistara. He further sang Hindi lyrics in Hyderabad Nawabs and also a couple of Kannada and Tamil songs. Latest, he awaits the result of his latest – Teja’s Kayka. Teja announced that he would release the audio only after the screen hit! “I never maintained any PR in the industry, but believe in sincerity.”
Cutthroat “There is cutthroat competition in our field. Each week is marked by new programs on the small screen, with latest trends and opportunities on the big screen too. It is like survival of the fittest. The so-called contract system and using multiple-track singers is growing wildly. Of course, I am not an exception. Even established signers too couldn’t escape from this mean ring. But, I am not disgusted. I believe in my hard work, and keep going.”
Hopeful of Golden days again
“Basically, I love melody. But, I have given very mass performance in some of the songs in films like 143. I have learnt the lesson that a playback singer, or to that matter any technician and artiste in the film industry, should change according to times. Keen observation of trends and regular practice makes me self-confident. To sing for films need extra capacity. I keep listening to Hindi songs and all sorts of music. But, I love to retain the maximum nativity in my renderings.” Venu is splendidly hopeful that the bygone era of evergreen hits will come again in Tollywood, with longevity in songs like the ones in ANR’s Devadsu or that of the ones with music by Salluri Rajeswara Rao. .