ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rajani (1920–2018)

The prolific Balantrapu Rajani Kantha Rao’s 80-year-long career represents the very literary and musical ethos of Andhra Pradesh.

Three Sundays ago, I journeyed to Vijayawada under a relentless sun to present a concert comprising my grand-uncle’s compositions, to be held in the large house in which he lived. He would be there, albeit on bed rest—his 98-year-old body slowly failing him—as would some of his greatest fans. I braced myself for criticism: Balantrapu Rajani Kantha Rao’s 80-year-long contribution to the fields of Telugu music, dance, poetry, film and drama is unparalleled. His music was everybody’s, his poetry more precious to the Telugu people than to his own family, and no error on my part would be forgiven easily. Later that night, I walked into the little room he occupied in the annexe of the large house, its white wooden door framed by slender, pink-tipped adenium flower buds. He beamed wordlessly from the bed, and extended a frail, veined hand that I held gingerly. Exactly one Sunday later, I learnt that this would forever be my last memory of his toothless smile, the kind grey eyes in his wrinkled face, and his soft, but cold, skin.

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Updated On : 25th May, 2018
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