As one of the leading lights of Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi turns 60, it is absolutely the apt time to pick a song from one of his better-appreciated but relatively, lesser-successful films. The song: “Lalitha Priya Kamalam Virisinadi…” in which he underplays his Jumping Jack style and lets the heroine, the comely Shobhana do the dancing.
This is an evergreen hit number from the magic box of Ilaiyarajaa, one of India’s renowned music directors. It is a part of the 1988 release ‘Rudraveena’ produced by megastar Chiranjeevi and family and directed by the legendary K Balachander. This song brought to life, soothingly, by the famed duet pair from Kerala, KJ Yesudas and KS Chitra never ceases to make one drop whatever one is busy with and just go melting into it.
Everything is right about the number. The start of the trademark Ilaiyarajaa composition with the violin crescendo, followed by the strumming of the guitar and the flute chasing it in right earnest fascinates the viewer who is by now watching the sunset silhouette and the dancing image of the heroine on screen. Of course, Shobana leaves no chance for the hero to join her, busy as she is in an enthralling display of mudras and abhinayas, as Chiru, liberally helped by the silky sonority of Yesudas takes the backseat.
The cinematographer, R Raghunadha Reddy, takes a full minute and more to move out from the shadowy, orange-tinted screen, capturing nature at its very best, as the leading pair establishes the song beautifully. The light turns normal and bright soon afterwards as the trolley shot propels the heroine closer to the viewer, statues of the background making a different effect.
Chiru, the chilled-out dream lover, saunters along as the heroine continues her dance, vigorously matching the tony thump of the percussion. Of course, there is more - the famous super-imposed shot of the hero on the heroine and dissolving it on the ecstatic leading lady.
The breath-taking majesty of the Tamil Nadu temples in the backdrop as the danseuse prances around with shuffling feet is sure to mesmerise any art lover. Reddy provides perfect eye-candy for the discerning visual lovers, packing in multi-dimensional images of the Shaivite abodes of God, preserved wonderfully over time.
From the divine to the sublime as the scene shifts to the snowy peaks of Kashmir where Shobana does not take a break from her movements yet allows a dress change for both of the onscreen stars. Here at least, one almost waits for Chiranjeevi to break in a step or two as he makes his way gingerly on the piled up snow but the hyper lady love confines him to hit the high notes to end the song in a rhythmic finish!
Time again, one wonders, for the humongously successful matinee idol to retreat into such kinds of roles which are closer to his age and time spent in the industry, given the hype about his upcoming venture. Whether that happens or not, such film songs are surely a treat to savour for his fans. Forever.
Song : Lalitha Priya Kamalam
Singers : K J Yesudas, K S Chitra
Lyrics : Sirivennela Sitaramasastri
Music : Ilaiyarajaa
By:K Naresh Kumar