The Padma awardees for 2019 were declared on eve of India’s 70th Republic Day on Friday. Among the notable names was also lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, who has won the fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri.
Born in 1955 in Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam, the lyricist left his medical education to enter films with his song 'Tadaisina Andalalo' in Janani Janmabhoomi, a film directed by K Viswanth in 1984. He got the moniker Sirivennela after writing songs in the film Sirivennela which became a huge hit in 1986.
Before entering the film industry, Sastry wrote poetry under the pen name 'Bharani'. He had said that he was inspired K Viswanath's masterpiece 'Sankarabharanam' which inspired him to come into films. He eventually dropped out of his MBBS degree, and worked in the telephone department before getting a break writing lyrics for movies.
Sastry has also been conferred with the state's highest honour conferred to artists, the Nandi Award, 11 times. By winning the Nandi Awards consecutively in 1986, 1987 and 1988, he created a record of sorts. He has written hundreds of songs in Telugu. Contemporary lyricists like Chandra Bose and Rama Jogayya Sastri consider him as their guru.
The lyricist has also written books like Sirivennela Tharangaalu, Nandi Vardhanaalu, Kalyaana Raagalu, Enno Rangula Thella Kiranam, Shivadwarpanam, Kshirasaagara Madhanam, Nanna Puli among others.
Besides Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, others people from Andhra Pradesh who won Padma Shri include chess player Harika Dronvalli and Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli, an agriculturist.
Harika has won three bronze medal in the Women's World Chess Championship in 2012, 2015 and 2017. She won Arjuna Award for sports in 2008.
The recipients of the Padma Awards will be felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind most likely in March or April at a ceremonial function at the Rashrapati Bhavan.