‘Sirivennela’ Sitarama Sastry, noted Telugu film lyricist, dies at 66

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Hyderabad: Veteran Telugu film lyricist ‘Sirivennela’ Sitarama Sastry, a recipient of the Padma Shri and numerous other awards, died due to lung cancer-related complications at a private hospital here on Tuesday. He was 66.

Sastry was admitted to the hospital on November 24 with pneumonia and was in the Intensive Care Unit.

He was put on ECMO to support his lungs with medical professionals closely observing his condition, the hospital said in a release.

Paying a tribute, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by Sastry’s demise.

“His poetic brilliance and versatility could be seen in several of his works. He made many efforts to popularise Telugu. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.

Sastry, who has left an indelible impression on Telugu speaking people with his magnificent songs in films like ‘Sirivennela’, ‘Swarna Kamalam’, ‘Subha Lagnam’, ‘Rudraveena’ and a number of others, became popular with veteran director K Viswanath’s film ‘Sirivennela’ in 1986.

He came to be known as ‘Sirivennela’ Sitarama Sastry though his surname is Chembolu.

Since then, he has penned about 3,000 songs and bagged the Andhra Pradesh government’s Nandi award several times, besides other honours.

He formed a powerful combination with legendary playback singer S P Balasubrahmanyam, especially in the films of K Viswanath.

The songs of Sastry, sung by Balasubrahmanyam, captivated the audience, be it those of the Carnatic classical music genre or peppy mass numbers.

Expressing anguish over his demise, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said he was among those who admired the songs of the departed lyricist.

Sastry gave primacy to Telugu language and values in his songs, the Vice President said.

Naidu said he enquired with the doctors treating Sastry after coming to know about his ill-health and had hoped for his recovery.

He conveyed his condolences to Sastry’s family members.

Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu also condoled the death of Sastry.

Several stars, including Mahesh Babu, Ravi Teja, Chiranjeevi and Siddharth, also paid tributes to the veteran lyricist.

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