'Director C Prem Kumar wanted me to write a soul-stirring song for Jaanu'
...says lyricist Shreemani as he talks about writing Oohale Oohale in the upcoming film and traces his journey in films
Young and soft-spoken, Shreemani is one of the talented lyric writers trying to reinvent the lyrical landscape of Telugu cinema with fresh words and new expressions. From playing around with mathematics formulas to romantic lines to youthful slangs in foot-tapping numbers to gently teasing songs, he has done it all. "A lyricist should be able to write any kind of song and should possess the quality to share his knowledge with his expressions," he begins.
Shreemani used to write poems when he was a child but was drawn towards lyric-writing while pursuing his Intermediate first year. He began his career in the industry with Devi Sri Prasad's musical 100% Love, directed by Sukumar, and he has worked with several other leading music composers including Mani Sharma, SS Thaman, GV Prakash Kumar, Anoop Rubens, Ghibran, Gopi Sundar, and Anirudh Ravichander. His latest songs Mind Block and He is so cute from Sarileru Neekevvaru, and Oohale Oohale (Jaanu) have turned out to be chartbusters.
The circulation manager-turned-lyricist has several exciting films lined up this year. He is teaming up with Devi Sri Prasad again for Chiranjeevi's nephew, Panja Vaisshnav Tej's debut, the revenge drama Uppena. He is also working on Nithiin's upcoming films Bheeshma and Rang De.
Shreemani's words always speak of attitude, love, passion, motivation, and painful partings. He says, "All the songs that I have written so far are different from each other. They are contemporary and come straight from the heart."
The lyricist, who likes to use catchy words, says, "Oohale Oohale is one such song which is poetic and emotional. We come across many love songs daily, but only songs that convey the meaning in a simple language will create an impression and set benchmarks."
Shreemani continues, "Director C Prem Kumar wanted me to write a soul-stirring song which should sound fresh and emotional at the same time. As we know, Kadhale Kadhale from 96 was magical and was an instant hit. The idea is to convey something in a single song that we cannot show in 10 scenes. The audience comes to know the story of the film through this song. It’s all about modern love and its feelings."
He asserts that lyric-writing is indeed challenging. "You need to be flexible and have the ability to write lyrics to suit a tune when required. For instance, I had to come up with lines to fit the tune for the songs Mind Block and Padara Padara (Maharshi). However, for Idhe Kadha Nee Katha (Maharshi), lyrics were written first," he says. "It’s important to blend the ideas of the director and music composer with my words. It’s imperative to be on the same page as them. I try to write lines that gel with the director’s vision, stay true to the story, the situation of the song, the character, and the tune. However, the challenge is always to find something good, new, and interesting to write," he explains.
So, how long does it take for him to write a song? "Some songs take one hour, while others like Oohale take two-three days. For Aradugula Bullet (Atharintiki Dharedi), I took 45 days. It varies," says the lyricist who prefers writing on paper, though he carries an iPad.
Having worked with so many different filmmakers, Shreemani wishes for the opportunity to collaborate with director SS Rajamouli. "I have grown up watching his films and he is currently the numero uno director of Indian cinema. Given a chance, I would love to work with him. Having said that, I like working with all the directors and actors who are working passionately to entertain the audience,"
About the industry being dominated by male lyric writers, he says, "We have four-five women lyricists at the moment. They are doing amazing work, and are creative and unique in their own way. More than men, I think women lyricists can convey emotional expression more intensely. I believe we will come across a day where women and men equally lead, participate in, and entice the audience with their work."
Shreemani, who is an ardent admirer of Veturi Sundararama Murthy and Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry, ends by noting that he has been fortunate to get the backing of directors and music composers in the industry. "I am happy to have worked with some of the finest talents of our times. They all have been encouraging and I am delighted to be part of some good cinema," he signs off.