Monday, 6 September 2010

His passion knows no barriers

Into designing photo frameworks, Syam Narayana's collection includes original tunes and lyrics of the yesteryear's melodies in various languages apart from rarely found books, films and monographs of renowned personalities

The last three weeks have seen Syam Narayana bonding over innumerable phone calls and exhausting hours on browsing and mailing, day in and day out. "It's because of you guys," this owner of Right Angle photo frameworks shop at Ameerpet subtly points a finger at the media. Being journalists, our job demands it, while the overnight popularity has Syam Narayana give up on his sleep, at times, to consider the requests pouring in via cell phone and e-mail.

It's his leisure pursuit of collecting old songs and books that has garnered attention of many. "I'm not a celeb to get featured. Moreover, a chunk of folks I know own invaluable treasure than that I possess," he humbly turns down my appeal for a rap session; but changed his mind when I didn't give up.

Stockpiling around 20,000 songs from films (Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, English, Kannada, Bengali, Konkanai and other languages) released in 1920s and '50s... Ah! The very thought is awe-inspiring, isn't it? "I speak, read, write and understand only Telugu though. Nevertheless, love for music has no language barriers," he shrugs.

It all started when Syam Narayana was about 10 years old. "The lullabies by my aunts did influence me. The interest in music gradually developed into passion and then a hobby," he informs. A native of Firangipuram in Guntur district, Syam Narayana had quit the job with Animal Husbandry after he realized it isn't his cup of tea. "Six years of livelihood through meager tasks and I took to photo frameworks. I settled down in the city three years ago. However, the hobby continued."

More than the songs, it's the original tunes and lyrics of these songs that would for sure evoke interest among those obsessed with old melodies. The original track of 'Naa hridayamlo nidurinche cheli...' from ANR and Savitri-starrer Aradhana (1962) goes like 'Amar shopne dekha rajkonna thake...' from Bengali film Shagorika (1956). Wow, it's a ditto version!

The Tamil song, 'Malligai poo jati roja...' sung by Bala Saraswati (1954) in Raja En Kanmani sounds similar to one of the tracks in Spanish film La Violetera (1958). The tune of 'Maa mamayya vachchade...' crooned by Jikki in Mangala Sutram (1946) and that in Down Argentine Way (1940) are inspired from 'Mama Eu Quero...' rendered by Brazilian singer-actress Carmen Miranda in 1930s. And, the list goes on.

"I lost much in the process of digitizing the erstwhile gramophone record files and audio cassettes. Despite these efforts I realized recently, I had no tracks from Gundamma Katha. Don't you think I lag behind from others," he questions.

Going through the audio files (nearly 100) and scanned versions (even the 1844-published 'Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexandre Dumas!) of the works of Jules Verna, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift and others is an amazing experience.

The over 500 films including the 1907, 1925 and 1959-released Ben-Hur, stage and radio plays, monographs on singers and music directors like Kundan Lal Saigal, Pankaj Malik, KC Dey, Salil Choudhury and Muthuswamy Dikshitar, and philosophical teachings by Chaganti, Ekkirala, Ushasri and et al takes everyone by surprise.

"I've donated tons of books written by the likes of Bhamidipati, Kodavadanti, Mullapudi, Srisri, Palagummi, etc. Space and money are a serious problem, after all," Syam Narayana rues, surfing data in his computer placed in the storeroom at his shop.

Syam Narayana can be contacted over +91 9849262600.

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