Ghantasala

Occupation:
Music Director, Producer, Singer
Years Active:
1942–1974
Ghantasala
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Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao (Telugu : ఘంటసాల వెంకటేశ్వర రావు) (1922–1974) was a popular South Indian singer and music composer of Telugu films and many other languages such as Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu and Hindi. He is the recipient of Padmashree award, the fouth highest civilian award. For nearly quarter of a century, he was the voice of Telugu films. He was Telugu cinema's one of the first playback singer for movies.He Sang 10000 songs Approx., in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu and Hindi. He Composed music for more than 100 Movies. He Sang Bhagavad Gita just before his death in 1974 which became Highly Popular. On Feb 11 2003, a stamp was released in honor of Sri.Ghantasala at Telugu Lalita Kala Toranam, Public Gardens, Hyderabad.

Early life
Ghantasala was born to Soorayya, who was a local singer, in a traditional Telugu Brahmin family in 1922. During his childhood, Ghantasala used to dance to his father's Tarangams. He lost his father when he was a child, and was brought up by his maternal uncle Ryali Pitchi Ramaiah. He took formal music training from Patrayani Sitarama Sastry, also known as Saluru China Guruvu Garu, and he joined Maharajah's Government College of Music and Dance in Vijayanagram without informing his family. He went through a number of hardships to learn music and went on to become a "Sangeeta Vidhwan".

Career
Ghantasala participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942, for which he was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After coming out of jail, he met "Senior Samudrala", who advised him to try his luck in the film industry as a singer.1 Ghantasala got his first break as a singer from All India Radio. Later on, Peketi Siva Ram from HMV studios recorded his private songs. Ghantasala debuted as a chorus singer and for a character role in Seeta Rama Jananam by Pratibha Films. He became popular singer with the early films like Balaraju and Keelugurram, and later sang for most of the movies for all actors for next two decades. He introduced the technique of changing the voice pitch and diction to suit the actor singing the songs on the screen. People were so enamored by this that they started imagining the hero of the movie just by listening to him sing over the radio. After this, he worked with famous music directors like Gali Penchala, C.R. Subbaraman. His first movie as a music director was "Laxmamma".

Producer Krishnaveni gave him first chance as full music director for her film Mana Desam, which incidentally was NTR's first film. He later composed music for many popular Telugu movies like Patala Bhairavi, Gundamma Katha, Paramanandayya Shishyula Katha, Pelli Chesi Chudu, Mayabazar and Lava kusa. He gave his voice for all the popular heroes of Telugu film industry at that time.

He also served as the Aaasthana Gaayaka (Court musician) for the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. The famous renderings of Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao also include private albums, like Bhagawad Gita, Patriotic Songs, Padyalu (unique genre of Telugu - singing the verses in dramatic style), Pushpa Vilapam and folk songs. His private songs were equally popular and his devotional songs are popular even today. Gifted with what V.A.K.Ranga Rao called "The most majestic voice", and he helped Telugu film music develop its own distinct character.

He has given performances in America, England, Germany etc and had the distinction of performing in the United Nations Organisation. Andhra pradesh Government felicitated him on the occasion of 25 years of his film career as Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Ghantasala in Hyderabad on February 1, 1970. More than 30,000 people attented the function celebrated at Lal Bahadur Stadium, Hyderabad.

Personal life
Ghantasala was married to Savithri and Late(Sarala Devi). Ghantasala had 8 children, 4 sons - Vijaya Kumar, Ravi Kumar3, Shankar Kumar, Ratna Kumar45, 4-daughters,Meera, Shyamala, Suguna and Shanti.