November 06, 2009 Y. Sunita Chowdhary
A seven-year-old girl sings a Mamta Mohandas's number from Shankardada Zindabad..'Akalesthe annam pedtha alisosthey oil pedtha mood osthe muddhulu pedtha' and the judges give her an A plus as her score for a music competition hosted by a television channel. The kid in all probability understands what the song means and the people around are not embarassed, they don't squirm in their seats. People are getting used to perversity so a line or a two in a lyric doesn't matter. Even if someone objects there is none to listen.
Rajamouli who came out with the simple and beautiful Panchadara Bomma in Magadheera used the remix of Bangaru Kodipetta from Gharana Mogudu in the same film that is laced with double entendre. Ippatikinka Na Vayasu from Pokiri or Sakkubhaine from Chandamama, a line from a song in a Ravi Teja starrer Vikramarkudu Tennisu banthula papa all describe the female anatomy. Why is it that we sense something earnest that works perfectly for a virtuous well meaning song but at the same sense of solemnity and righteousness strikes a totally wrong note for another?
Filmmaker Indraganti Mohana Krishna opines that earlier the film field was blessed with many literary personalities like Sri Sri, Krishna Sastry, Atreya who were not only lyricists but critics, dramatists, poets, orators, etc. They all did something to do with literature besides cinema. Now we have people who have solid knowledge and value for literature but the link for literature has been cut of when the idiom of the film lyric started changing with time. He adds, "Madi kattukuni sastreeyam rayamani adagatledhu. For me my song should have a musical and linguistic standing and a literary value, ten years down the line people should remember it."
The role of a lyricist in a film is not only to support it, but to enhance it, see that the song doesn't detract from the narrative and carry it forward. No lyricist would want to write a bad song. Writers are being pressurized to give certain kind of lyrics that suits their story. There are many struggling lyricists and progressive writers but directors approach them with direct requests, "Sahityam voddhandi, maanchi oppu undaali!" They further categorise the songs into segments like class, mass, sentiment, devotional, item, etc. The misunderstanding of western music, the obsession with MTV and remixes have further degenerated the unique contribution of songs to cinema. Writers have to give in for survival, if one objects the other will do it anyway.
Aaku Chaatu Pindha Thadisey, a Veturi song or Ley Ley Na Raja from Prem Nagar were disgustingly vouyeuristic but they turned out to be super hits. Chengavi Rangu Cheera Kattukunna Chinnadhi from Dasara Bullodu or Aaresukopoyi Pareysukunna from Adavi Ramudu should not be misconstrued as being vulgar says a Censor Board member. He avers there is a distinction between playful lyrics and bluntly double meaning songs written for filmmakers such as EVV Satyanarayana or K. Raghavendra Rao. There are people who appreciate and revel in soul stirring lyrics or poems or revolutionary songs but where are the supporting stories or films to go with it?
Film Critic and Nandi award winner Parcha Sarath Kumar says, "There is nothing like permissible standards for lyrics. We do object but we can't keep a track of each and every line that comes into the audio market after the audio release. A writer like Atreya wrote objectionable lyrics for a song in Tene Manasulu, and Daagudu Moothalu. He came to be known as Bhoothreya thereafter. The filmmakers feel that intellectuals are not regular visitors to the theatres, it is the masses who come repeatedly, they are the ones who bring in the money and they get songs written for them. If people love the rhyming in Billa that goes..Gimme my thaali I wannabe your Aali..It's pure economics."
The Censor Board lays objection on songs that have political tone, like the recent song in Mahatma goes, "Indiramma Inti Peru Kadhu Ra Gandhi." The word Indiramma was replaced by 'Konthamandhi' but there is no moral policing, the approach is lackadaisical when objectionable lyrics come out scot free in the market.