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Vyjayantimala's Singing Debut for Composer Master Venu

Written by Lakshmipriya

Contributed by Lakshmipriya

In January 2016, I came across a news Item stating that at the age of 79, Veteran actress VYJAYANTIMALA  would be making her singing debut . She would be performing  live in Chennai at two concerts organised by the Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University. She even told in an interview that she had devoted 20 years of her life to acting . After which she had devoted herself to dancing & that now she would like to devote her time to singing . However not many know  that Vyjayantimala used to learn light music from telugu composer Master Venu in the early 1950s .Two of her non filmy songs in telugu even  released  as a private album. They were composed by  Master Venu himself . The lyricist is unknown (Request for information from music loving friends)
Vyjayantimala Singing















An introduction to MASTER VENU

He was born in Bandar/ Machlipatnam in 1916. He was brought up in his maternal uncle's house who was a music composer. From the age of 9 , Venu began learning instrumental music from his uncle. He learnt the harmonium and mastered it in only one year. The way this young boy's fingers danced over the harmonium was a sight to behold and many used to stand and watch him while listening to this young prodigy. This played havoc with his studies and he stopped going to school. With even more enthusiasm he began mastering instruments along with singing practice. Venu's mother too learnt along with him from her brother and both used to enjoy those musical sessions very much. At the age of 14 years, He began giving harmonium concerts which were a huge hit. Audience used to wonder if harmonium is assisting his singing or vice versa. SUch fame he gathered through his concerts.


Madras Beckons

At that time in Madras there was a Giri's Museum and the owner Giri happened to attend one of Venu's harmonium concert. He felt that Venu's genuis should not be limited to Bandar only. He approached Venu and told him to not limit himself to one place. He asked Venu to come with him to Madras and try in films. Venu agreed and left for Madras.

                   In the beginning he felt strange to the process of films and music composing there. Soon he got used to it and was assistant music composer to ALL the songs of MALAPILLA-1938. While working as an assistant he was fascinated by other musical instruments and very soon he mastered Dilruba, Sitar & Flute etc. BNR taught him sitar. In Malapilla BNR composed Nalla vade golla pillavade which was a folk music based song. Venu for the first time loved the beauty of folk songs and their melodies. Venu went on to assist BNR for Raitu Bidda & Meerabai too.

Bombay Beckons: Working with Vasant Desai

Later he got an offer to assist a composer in a tamil film and the recording was supposed to be in Bomaby. Venu agreed immediately because he wanted to understand Tamil & hindi film fields and their music too. His other goal was to learn hindustani music too. But to his bad luck the film was stalled. Venu was jobless and dint know what to do . He didn't lose hope and luckily his friend introduced him to composer VASANT DESAI. Vasant Desai was composing music for V.Shantaram's SHAKUNTALA at that time. Venu was offered a job in his orchestra. For ALL the songs of SHakuntala Venu played the CELLO. During that time he observed and learnt a lot about hindustani music, How hindi composers did their orchestrisation etc.

Venu was a constant learner. Though he was good in harmonium he wanted to learn more. He joined the school of music in Bombay run by Manhar Barve who was famous as the " Master of ALL instruments ". Venu worked hard and within 6 months he got a "MASTER" degree from that school. henceforth everyone begam calling him MASTER VENU. While working in the orchestra of Vasant Desai, Venu used to stay in his house.

Meeting Naushad

One day from a nearby hotel he heard a song and was mesmerised by it. After it was over he went to the hotel and asked for the song details. The song was from the film NAMASTE - 1943 and the song was Ambuva pe Panchi Bawra. He felt that so far he had never heard such a song . He was instantly attracted to the composer and asked the hotel owner who NAUSHAD was. He was told that he is a young compser who works for A R KARDAR and would be found in Kardar studios. Immediately he gulped his hot tea and ran to Kardar studios. There a gurkha stopped him and told " andar nai jaana jao jao " Master Venu pleaded and begged him and somehow entered the studios. There Young Naushad was recording a song. Master Venu folded his hand in his mind and stood transfixed hearing the recording. After it was over , Master Venu introduced himself. Naushad was very pleased to hear how music made him run from the Hotel till the studio. They soon became good friends and both were always in touch. [ Notice Naushad's photo in Master Venu's house in the below pic ] Naushad even heard him play various instruments and lauded him and told Shabash ! .

Master Venu at Work (Notice Naushad's Picture in Background)





















Return to Madras

Master Venu learnt a lot in bombay. His fame spread and soon HMV offered him a job to do his own compositions . In 1946, Master Venu came back to Madras & worked in HMV for 2 years and composed several songs for them which were brought out in best selling records [ No one knows what happened to these songs sad... ]. After this in 1948 Vauhini / vijaya Productions gave him the job of Orchestra conductor . He worked here for 5 years till 1953. When he joined his job here Vijaya productions bought the Hammond's Organ from AMerica. which costed 16 lakhs in those days. This instrument was famous as all sounds were possible in this one instrument. A teacher was arranged to teach this instrument to Master Venu. In no time he mastered it . The Hammond's organ music in Gunasundari katha, Patala Bhairavi, Malliswari was played by Master Venu himself. In 1953,

His Debut as a Composer

Sarathi banner was making Anta Manavalle and offered him the job of composing songs for the film. Master Venu thus made his debut in this film for the 1st time as a composer . For the same Saradhi Banner he did music for Rojulu Maarayi-1955. His yeruvaka song was a huge hit and his fame spread far & wide with his 2nd film itself. Todi kodalu, Mangalya Balam, Nammina Bantu, Batasari, Rajamakutam, Siri Sampadalu, Murlikrishna etc films followed. Master Venu was a peculiar composer and a genius at that. If by any chance any instrument player was absent , he used to run to various instrument and play all of them while composing songs. People used to find it a huge wonder. Master Venu played different instruments for different moods while composing. many composers used only the harmonium while composing. Master Venu used the Sitar for composing sad songs, piano for western music , flute for cool romantic songs etc. Master Venu's fave composer was Naushad. He alsways sent his composition notes to naushad through post. naushad used to praise some and give tips for some. Such was their friendship.

When S D Burman used His Tune

Waheeda Rahman mentions this anecdote in her many interviews of how she was humming the yeruvaka song on the sets of Solva Saal. S D Burman was very impressed that found out out who the composer was and asked Master venu permission to use it in his song Dekhne me bhola for bambai ka Babu. Master venu was so delighted that he immediately agreed happily .

Master Venu's Family

Master Venu's wife was also a music lover and she used to play the veena beautifully. They have 2 sons. Elder son was good in paino and the 2nd son was good at playing the BONGOS he is none other than BHANUCHANDER the actor. [ Bhanuchander even composed music for a film . I cant remember the name ]. Master Venu taught Harmonium to the elder son of Ghantasala. He taught many how to play harmonium. Suluvulu , melakuvalu as they say for tips in learning harmonum....he used to impart this knowledge to many those days. He passed away in 1981 in Madras. If only he lived more to see his son Bhanuchander become a good actor and a black belt karate player. A son they worried a lot for was successful later...My heartfelt tribute to such people....may his music live long...


The two Telugu songs Master Venu made Vyjayantimala Sing














Here are the two non filmy songs sungs by her with the lyrics.

 SONG 1 - Dachinanu ravoi neekai

Dachinanu ravoi neekai,
Kachinanu levoi Raja, [ Da ]

O o o o Raja  ratanala Raja rava [ 2 ]  [ Da ]

Choopulalo Gusagusalu [ 2 ]

Kanupapala basala misamisalu [ Choo ] [ Dachinanu ]

Jabililo Milamilalu  [ 2 ]

Na gajulalo kilakilalu [ Jabili ]

Andela muvvala  pata

Anandapu lokapu bata [ Andela ]
O o o o ratanala Raja rava [Da ]

SONG 2 - Daricheraga rava priyuda


O o o ...o o
Daricheraga rava priyuda [ 2]

madilopala teeyani valapula telaga

Poovula dolika ladega

o o o ...o o [ Dari ]

Nelabalani challani choopulo

Selayeti pravahapu rapulo [ Nela ]

Virajajula oodalu hayiga

Navalokapu medalu veyaga

a a a a...

Madilopala teeyani valapula telaga
Poovula dolika ladega
o o o ...o o [ Da ]

Jadalopala poovula vaasamoi

Mana viyyalara savasamoi [ Jada ]

Chigurakula pedavula choodavoi

Bigi kougili padamula koodavoi

aaa aa ...

Madilopala teeyani valapula telaga
Poovula dolika ladega
o o o ...o o
Daricheraga rava priyuda [ 2]
Madilopala teeyani valapula telaga
Poovula dolika ladega
o o o ...o o



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