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Song of the land

The inspiration of his lyrics helps Ashok Teja move on in life and profession


A LESSER soul might have been crushed. But, this unassuming star was destined to rise, to scale great heights and do yaavat Telugu jaati proud. There were setbacks when he ventured out of Suddala, a tiny sleepy village in Nalgonda district, to seek a fortune in tinsel town. In a freewheeling interview , Praja Kavi, Suddala Ashok Teja, recipient of the National Award (2003) for penning a soul-stirring song Nenu saitham... in Chiranjeevi-starrer, Tagore, makes you feel every minute that you are at the right place talking to the right person and doing exactly what is the most right thing.

Thought-provoking

His songs are not the mantra of happiness and prosperity that opens the door to all the good things of life, family, happiness and the joy of living. His thought-provoking lyrics prompt you to slow down and take a peek into the travails of the commoner who forms the lowest stratum of social set-up.

When fagged out, Teja goes back to village to refresh and rejuvenate. "A typical rural backdrop is my treasure trove. It is a great source of inspiration for my songs," says the bard who is very upfront about his background and emphasises that it is because of the adverse conditions he faced that he emerged a winner.

The pain and anguish he underwent since his childhood infused a unique creativity in him forcing people to drown themselves in the soulful depth of his lyrics.

Though the thunderous applause he received reverberated in the gullies of Delhi, his passion lies in villages. Ashok Teja has revolutionised the folklore even while preserving its traditional feel. His writings are touchy, classy, timeless and absolutely fabulous.

The National Award bestowed in recognition of his innate talent has placed the young lyricist on a pedestal adorned by the likes of the legendary Sri Sri and a veteran like Veturi Sundararama Murthy. Sri Sri bagged the coveted honour for his inspiring number Telugu veera levara... penned for the film, Alluri Seetaramaraju and Veturi was adjudged the best lyricist for churning out a moving song Raali poye puvva...neeku raagaalenduke... in film Maatrudevo Bhava.

Nature wise

Teja has his own style of unwinding himself. He escapes to the countryside, huddles in the lap of nature and walks down the long streets to view the breathtaking scene of village belles crooning the harvest song as dawn breaks out. "I let my eyes drink in the beauty of small things around me which clearly reflect in my writings. I get a rush of ideas at the mere sight of a village," he confesses.

"I have read them all, from Nannaya to Narayana Reddy and Kandukuri Veeresalingam to Yandamuri Veerendranath," says he who has rendered over 1,000 lyrics for nearly 500 Telugu films. His diminutive stature belies the towering personality that he is within. A blend of humility and brains, Ashok Teja is a survivor all the way.

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