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Visakhapatnam: From singing in trains to Tollywood glory

Folk singer Bonela Asirayya with his accompaniment ‘budadudaka
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Folk singer Bonela Asirayya with his accompaniment ‘budadudaka'

Highlights

  • Bonela Asirayya got a chance to compose 'Palasa 1978' title song
  • A beggar by profession, he lived in poverty for decades
  • Folk songs are his passion as he narrates a story through them

Visakhapatnam: For a person who lived in poverty for decades, life took an unexpected turn one fine day.

Though it appears quite close to chapters of a fairy tale, Srikakulam-based Bonela Asirayya says that his destiny has certainly changed when his folk songs drew the attention of music composer, singer and actor Raghu Kunche.

And that's when Asirayya got a chance to compose the title song of the Telugu period action thriller 'Palasa 1978' and also sing, including parts of the foot-tapping number 'Naadi nakkileesu golusu' in the film.

A beggar by profession, Asirayya sings in trains to earn a living, by travelling from Palasa to Ponduru. "I earn around Rs 300 to Rs 400 a day by singing in passenger trains. But now most of them are yet to resume their service," says the resident of Valteru village, who came to the city a few days back.

The accompaniment 'buduku' or 'jamilika kunda' or 'budadudaka' is something that never leaves Asirayya. After learning the nuances of 'jamakula' songs from his Guru Surya Narayana, Asirayya says he fell in love with the genre. "Earlier, I used to sing for 'Yellamma Thalli sambaralu' (village festival) and community functions.

Folk songs have an old charm and I derive a sense of pleasure when I sing them and also make money in the process," shares the singer with The Hans India.

With his meagre income, Asirayya says that he was able to fund the education of his elder daughter and son and got his three daughters married. "I grew up in a family of farmers. Though I continued farming in the initial days of my life, I want my children to lead a comfortable life unlike me," says the 65-year-old folk singer.

Asirayya considers himself fortunate for getting an opportunity in Telugu film industry through 'Palasa 1978' and hopes to bag more offers in future.

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