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Bharat Ratna for Ghantasala: US & international Telugu associations launch signature campaign

NRI Pulse Staff Report

Atlanta, GA, April 10, 2022: Several Telugu associations from around the US and the world have come together to launch a signature campaign urging the President and Prime Minister of India to award the Bharat Ratna posthumously to legendary singer and musician, Ghantasala.

“On the birth centenary of Sri Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao we request the Government of India to recognize him with Bharata Ratna posthumously for his tremendous contributions in the field of music of India,” a press release issued by the associations reads. “For the 80 million Telugu speaking people in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and all over India and the world, Sri Ghantasala (as he is commonly known) was a legend. His rendering of the Bhagavad-Gita, that epitomized his divine voice, will forever be one of the most listened recordings in India. His contributions as music director and singer in several Indian languages – Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi – are immense in a career spanning for more than 25 years.”

Ghantasala sang more than 10,000 songs and directed music for 110 films.  Such a combination of being a singer and music director, both in large numbers, is unparalleled by any musician in India. His non-film songs collection that included The Bhagavad Gita, Kunti Kumari, Pushpa Vilapam and patriotic songs became popular. He authored, composed music and sang some of these songs -“bahudoorapu baatasaari”, “idi sandhyasamayam” – all by himself, thus joining the ranks of “vaggeyakaarulu” (poet-composers).  His voice had so much versatility that, according to a famous composer Sri Pendyala Nageswara Rao, he was one of the very few playback singers who could sing at all three octaves (“threesthayee”) with ease.

His life was dedicated to music from his childhood till the last day! He accompanied his father as a child in performing tarangams. Then itself, he was recognized for his sense of music, and was advised to learn music formally.  While going through severe financial hardships, he persisted in learning music at the Maharajah’s Government College of Music and Dance in Vijayanagram. He started his career at All India Radio and once he was introduced to the film industry, there was no looking back and had a memorable journey till the end. He performed and represented Telugu music at the United Nations and in many countries. He sang even on the day before his death from the hospital bed for Bhadrachala Ramadasu Vaibhavam.

Ghantasala was also a freedom fighter during the Quit India movement in 1942.  He sang several patriotic songs among the people and inspired scores of them to take up the cause of the Indian independence. The British Government could not contain him and his work and finally jailed him for 18 months in Alipore and Ballari jails. After the independence, he formally recorded several of these songs and they continue to be inspirational for generations to come!

Ghantasala was so highly respected that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams made him the Aaasthana Gaayaka (court musician) for the temple. It is to be noted that, after the 15th century saint Sri Annamayya, he is the only musician who performed in Venkateshwara Swami garbhagudi (inner sanctum). 

His popularity was so comprehensive that so many people and local organizations have taken it upon themselves, without any religious or political affiliations, to dedicate more than fifty statues of Ghantasala in their villages, towns and cities. The first among them, currently at the Ravindrabharati auditorium in Hyderabad, was spearheaded by Padmabhushan Sri S P Balasubramanyam. The devotion to his music extends even further in the form of temples for him in Anakapalle, Srikakulam, and Hyderabad.

As a singer, and as a music director he touched so many lives, he immortalized the works of so many music directors, gave life to the performances of so many top actors on the screen with his voice, and always encouraged so many upcoming artists of that time.  With his voice that spans across a wide spectrum – from the lively love songs to the deep sorrow songs – he played a big role in the acting careers of legendary actors like N.T.Ramarao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Krishna, Sobhan Babu, Kanta Rao, Krishnam Raju, and Murali Mohan in Telugu,  Sivaji Ganeshan, M.G.Ramachandran, and Gemini Ganesan in Tamil,  Rajkumar in Kannada and Prem Nazir in Malayalam.

He sang with all the famous Music Directors of that time – Pendyala, S Rajeshwara Rao, TV Raju, Subbaraman,  Kodandapani, KV Mahadevan, MS Vishwanathan  – and made their tunes into memorable songs. It is very difficult to talk about any of their works without giving due credit to Sri Ghantasala.  Similarly, he gave life to so many songs written by all the great lyricists including Samudrala, Kosaraju, Arudra, Atreya, Sri Sri, C Narayanara Reddy, and Dasaradhi. All of them have expressed their gratitude to the Golden voice of Ghantasala for bringing out the deep lyrical value in their songs. He performed thousands of songs with ease alongside of so many co-singers like Jikki, Jamunarani, P Leela, P Suseela, Rao Balasaraswati, and S Janaki.

As a music director he composed music for 118 movies in all languages. Some of these famous movies – Patala Bhairavi, Mayabazar, Lava Kusa, Govula Gopanna, Pandava Vanavasam, Rahasyam, Gundamma Katha, Paramanandayya Shishyula Katha, Bratuku deruvu, Manchi Manasuku manchi rojulu, Sabhash Ramudu, Pelli Chesi Chudu, and Mayabazaar – would never have been as blockbuster hits without his background music and the songs.

Though Ghantasala was the best playback singer from his first movie until his death, and most directors would want him to sing all their songs, he always encouraged upcoming singers like PB Srinivas, AM Raja, Madavapeddi, Pitapuram, S P Balasubramanyam, and V Ramakrishna. The legendary SP Balasubramanyam always attributed his success to his beloved “maastaru garu” as he addressed Ghantasala with reverence.

The Indian government recognized Sri Ghantasala with a PadmaShri in 1970. A postage stamp was released in his honor in 2003. However, for all his contributions to the field of Indian Music, it is appropriate that he be given the highest civilian honor of the land in India, the Bharata Ratna. Since his birth centenary celebrations are being celebrated this year, this will be the best opportunity to honor him now!

The petition can be signed here: https://www.change.org/BharatRatnaforGhantasala

National Associations that are supporting this effort in USA are listed in Alphabetical order:

AAPI, APTA, ATA, ATS, GMCANA, GSKI, IAMA, NATA, NRIVA, Sankara Nethralaya USA,

Silicon Andhra, SEWA International, SPB Music International, TANA, TDF, and TTA.

The following USA National Telugu Associations participated on Tribute to Ghantasala Ratnakumar on June 9th, 2021: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Simha (Sakshi TV)

  • Singer Gangadhar Sastry, Bhagavadgita Foundation, Hyderabad India.
  • Dr. Raghava Reddy Gosala, NATA, Philadelphia PA, USA
  • Jay Talluri, TANA, New York USA
  • Mohan Patalolla, TTA, New Jersey USA
  • Narender Chemarla, ATS, Chicago IL, USA
  • Dr. Anand Kuchibhotla, Silicon Andhra, San Jose CA, USA
  • Eswar Arige, APTA, Los Angeles CA, USA
  • Dr. Jayasimha Sunku, NRIVA, Pueblo CO, USA

Ghantasala Centennial celebrations Kick-off: Dec 12th, 2021: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Shyam Appali (Sakshi TV)

USA National Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on January 8th, 2022: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Simha (Sakshi TV)

  • Dr. Raghava Reddy Gosala, NATA, Philadelphia PA, USA
  • Anjai Chodhary Lavu, TANA, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Kiran Reddy Pasham, ATA, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Dr. Anand Kuchibhotla, Silicon Andhra, San Jose CA, USA
  • Dr. Jayasimha Sunku, NRIVA, Pueblo CO, USA
  • JJV Subramanyam, APTA, New jersey USA

USA National Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on January 16th, 2022: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Viju Chiluveru (manaTV, TV5)

  • Krishna Kumari Ghantasala, W/O Ghantasala Ratnakumar – Chennai India
  • Dr. Raghava Reddy Gosala, NATA, Philadelphia PA, USA
  • Narender Chemarla, ATS, Chicago IL, USA
  • Dr. Anand Kuchibhotla, Silicon Andhra, San Jose CA, USA
  • Vamshi Reddy, TTA, Seattle WA, USA
  • Hari Raini, NRIVA, Chicago IL, USA

USA National Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on January 29th, 2022: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Prasanna (TVAsia)

  • Krishna Kumari Ghantasala, W/O Ghantasala Ratnakumar – Chennai India
  • Dr. Raghava Reddy Gosala, NATA, Philadelphia PA, USA
  • Karunakar Asireddy, ATA, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Anjai Chodhary Lavu, TANA, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Vamshi Reddy, TTA, Seattle WA, USA
  • Dr. Jayasimha Sunku, NRIVA, Pueblo CO, USA
  • Kavita Challa, TDF, Herndon, VA USA

Eminent Panelists participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on February 6th, 2022: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Shyam Appali

  • Actor/Writer/Director Tanikella Bharani – Hyderabad India
  • Dr. M.S. Reddy, 10 times nobel prize nominee, Denver CO, USA
  • Dr. Lakireddy Hanimireddy, Merced CA, USA

USA National Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on February 13th, 2022: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Shyam Appali

  • Singer Gangadhar – Hyderabad, India
  • Dr. Srinivasa Reddy Alla, GMCANA, Dallas TX USA
  • Dr. Raghava Reddy Gosala, NATA, Philadelphia PA, USA
  • Jay Talluri, TANA, New York NY, USA
  • Dr. Sridhar Reddy Korsapati, NATA, Dallas TX, USA
  • Dr. Vamsee Ramaraju, Vegesna Foundation, Hyderabad, India
  • Bhaskar Ganti, SPBMI, Rockville MD, USA
  • Moorthy Rekapalli, Sankara Nethralaya USA, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Damu Gedala, GSKI, New Jersey USA

Asia Pacific Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on March 6th: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Shyam Appali

  • I. Ganapathi Reddy, Enc R&B, Hyderabad India.
  • Dr. Sharath Chandra Tamada, Hyderabad India.
  • Adiseshu Kota, Tabla Player, Sydney Australia.
  • Karunakar Rao, Hyderabad India.
  • Srilatha Magatala, New Zealand Telugu Association – New Zealand
  • Vijaya Tangirala, Telugu Association of Australia In – Australia
  • Ratnakumar Kavuturu, Shri Samskruthika Kalasaradhi – Singapore
  • Dr. Achaiah Kumar Rao, Telugu Association of Malaysia – Malaysia

Telugu Associations participated in BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on on March 20th: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Dr. Reddy Urimindi

  • Padma Shri Dr. Shobha Raj – Annamacharya Bhavanavahini – Hyderabad, India.
  • Ratnakumar Kavuturu, Shri Samskruthika Kalasaradhi – Singapore, Asia
  • Srini Vangimalla, Sankara Nethralaya USA, Atlanta GA, USA.
  • Vikram Kumar Petluru, South African Telugu Community
  • Anil Kumar Kadimcherla, Telugu Kala Samithi Oman, Gulf of Oman
  • Tataji Usirikala, Telugu Kala Samithi, Qatar Doha
  • Venkatapathi Tarigopula, Veedhi Arugu. Norway, Europe
  • Venkata Suresh, Telugu Tarangini, UAE, Arabian Peninsula
  • Rajesh Toleti, Cambridge University, Telugu Association of London, UK

Telugu Associations participatedin BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on March 27th:Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Viju Chiluveru

  • National award winner, Singer Unnikrishnan – Kerala – India
  • Ratnakumar Kavuturu, Shri Samskruthika Kalasaradhi – Singapore
  • Kalpana Moturi, Telugu Association of Canada, Toronto Canada
  • Jaya peesapaty, Hong Kong Telugu Samakhya, Hong Kong, Asia
  • Ravikumar Bobba Durga, Telugu Association Thailand, Thailand, Asia
  • Siva Yellepu, Telugu Kala Samithi, Bahrain, Asia
  • Annapoorna Mahindra, France Telugu Association, Paris France, Europe

Telugu Associations participatedin BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on April 3rd: Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Neelima Gaddamanugu

  • Tollywood Lyricist, BhuvanaChandra Raju – Hyderabad, India
  • Shyamala Ghantasala (D/O Padma Shri Ghantasala) – Adelaide, Australia
  • Ravi Ponangi, India Tribune, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Rudra Kottu – Telugu Association of Canberra, Canberra Australia
  • Siva Ramakrishna Bandaru – Indonesia Telugu Association, Jakarta, Indonesia

Telugu Associations participatedin BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on April 10th: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Ratnakumar Kavuturu

  • Padma Bhushan Dr. Jag Sheth, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Tollywood Director, V.N. Aditya – Hyderabad, India
  • Singer Ramachary Komanduri, Little Musicians Academy – Hyderabad, India
  • SV Acharya, Sankara Nethralaya USA, Rockville MD, USA
  • Dr. Raj Modi, Sankara Nethralaya USA, New York USA
  • Dr. Vanguri Chittenraju, Vanguri Foundation, Houston TX, USA
  • Dr. Madhuri Namuduri, Sankara Nethralaya USA, Atlanta GA USA

Telugu Associations participatedin BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on April 17th: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Ratnakumar Kavutu

  • Music Director, Suresh Madavapeddi, Hyderabad, India
  • Dr. Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, Chennai India
  • Dr. Anupama Gotimukala, AAPI, San Antonio TX, USA
  • Dr. BK. Kishore, Salt Lake City UT, USA
  • Swadesh Katoch, SEWA International, Atlanta GA, USA
  • Venkata Ramana (Nani), Brunei Telugu Samajam, Brunei Asia
  • Venkat Thotakura, Telugu Association of Botswana, South Africa
  • Seemadree Latchayya, Telugu Maha Sabha, Mauritius, Island Country in Indian Ocean

Telugu Associations participatedin BharatRatna for Ghantasala Zoom Program on April 24th: Bala Reddy Indurti, Anchor: Neelima Gaddamanugu

  • Dr. Suresh Reddy, IAMA, AAPI, Chicago IL, USA
  • Krishna Kumari Ghantasala, W/O Ghantasala Ratnakumar – Chennai India
  • Adiseshu Kota, Tabla Player, Sydney Australia
  • Ratnakumar Kavuturu, Shri Samskruthika Kalasaradhi – Singapore
  • Amarnath Potluri, Denmark Telugu Association, Northern Europe.
  • V. Parthasarathi, Telangana Association of Uganda, East Africa.
  • Deepika Raavi, Saudi Arabia Telugu Association, Saudi Arabia, Middle East.
  • Naveen Jalagadugu, Telugu Association of Sutton, London, UK.
  • Upendra Rachupally, Sankara Nethralaya USA, Atlanta GA USA.
  • Aravinda Kollipara, Yogitha Foundation, Hungary, Central Europe

TV and Media partners recognized for supporting BharatRatna for Ghantasala campaign. manaTV (Sridhar Chillara), TVAsia Telugu (Srinivas Ganagoni), Sakshi TV, US1 (Simha Hanumanth), TV5 (Raagini, Harish Bennuri, & Sharat Pasumathy), 99TV (Harikrishna Inturu), GNN (Rama Mohan Reddy Yellampally), Singapore TV (Radha Krishna Ganesna), manaGULF.com (Srikant Chittaruvu). News Media: Sakshi, Andhrajyothy, Namaste Telangana

Thanks are due to Krishna Kumari Ghantasala (India), Ratnakumar Kavuturu (Singapore), Srilatha Magatala (New Zealand), and Adiseshu Kota (Australia) for providing the leads to reach 25 countries Telugu Associations leaders.

Coordinator: Bala Reddy Indurti, President, Sankara Nethralaya USA.

Please click the below link to complete signature campaign. Also forward the link to your network.

Please sign the petition: https://www.change.org/BharatRatnaforGhantasala

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