Keeravani composes music for Telangana anthem: Congress, BRS in war of words

Telangana CM conferred with Ande Sri and Keeravani on 26 May and finalised the tune for the song at the music director's studio in Hyderabad.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 31, 2024 | 8:00 AM Updated May 31, 2024 | 8:00 AM

Telangama Formation Day

After wriggling through a raging controversy, Jaya Jayahe Telangana – penned by Dalit poet Ande Sri – is all set to be unveiled as the Telangana state anthem at the Telangana State Formation Day celebrations in Hyderabad on 2 June.

The Dalit poet’s song was very popular during the Telangana movement. It had roused the youth in the state to take a headlong plunge into the Telangana movement.

Ever since Oscar-fame Tollywood music director MM Keeravani was roped in to compose a new tune for the state anthem Jaya Jayahe Telangana, a section of Telangana protagonists have been up in arms against the government, contending that the music director hails from Andhra Pradesh.

Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, apparently to leave his mark on the annals of Telangana history, hand-picked Jaya Jayahe Telangana to be the state anthem for playing it at official functions.

Revanth Reddy conferred with Ande Sri and Keeravani on 26 May and finalised the tune for the song at the music director’s studio in Hyderabad.

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Opposition against Keeravani as anthem composer 

The Opposition BRS has taken serious objection to roping in Keeravani to set the tune for the song. BRS leader RS Praveen Kumar disapproved of Keeravani – hailing from Kovvur in West Godavari district – setting the tune for the song.

In a post on X recently, he asked: “Who is Keeravani to set the tune for Ande Sri’s Telangana anthem? Where was the need for composing a new tune for the song, that too 10 years after the formation of Telangana state? How long should the music directors of Andhra continue their dominance on Telangana poets?”

The BRS leader also took a swipe at Revanth Reddy that if he wanted to promote Andhra artists, maybe he should move to the neighbouring state and become the CM there. He reminded the CM that the Telangana anthem was not “Natu Natu” for music for it to be composed by Keeravani.

He also said: “If you sit on the CM’s chair, you must respect the emotions of Telangana people and encourage Telangana talent. We had enough of the rule by proxies and Andhra agents. Many generations vehemently fought against such exploitative rule and lost their lives.”

Praveen Kumar said Revanth Reddy should know the difference between Tollywood and Telangana movement. He said: “Tollywood and Telangana movement are different. Tollywood is for entertainment but the Telangana Anthem is a common thread of emotion that brought all hearts of Telangana together during the movement. It’s not the Hollywood that gave the tune to Jana Gana Mana and Vandemataram.”

Related: Formation Day: Revanth Reddy sees an opportunity to efface KCR from Telangana movement

Telangana CM Revanth Reddy

Revanth Reddy, after becoming the Chief Minister, had decided to bring into limelight the Telangana protagonists who had been sidelined under the BRS government during the last 10 years. As far as Ande Sri’s song Jaya Jayahe Telangana is concerned, Revanth Reddy felt that KCR did not give the importance that the song and the poem deserved. As Ande Sri is a Dalit, Revanth Reddy apparently felt that honouring him would also brighten his as well as his party’s image.

Though no Telangana activist had taken objection to the selection of Jaya Jayahe Telangana, what riled them was that Keervani had been brought in to compose the tune. They believe that there were enough music composers in Telangana and that the state did not need an Andhra composer to set a new tune for the song. They recall how Telangana folksongs had become immensely popular during the Telangana movement, without any Andhra music director setting tunes for them.

The Telangana Cine Musicians Association, in an open letter recently, did not take kindly to the decision to entrust the task of setting music to the song to Keeravani. In a statement, it said that it would be a historic mistake and found fault with the previous BRS government for not taking the song as the state’s anthem. Roping in music directors from other states would be like insulting Telangana’s musicians, association president Ballepally Mohan said. The association, however, said that they meant no disrespect to Keeravani, who is a great music director, but that their objection was to appointing him, who hails from Andhra, to set the tune for the Telangana anthem.

The chief minister, speaking to reporters informally in Delhi recently, said he had no role in roping in Keeravani for setting the tune for the song. “Keeravani was not my choice. Ande Sri wanted Keeravani to set a new tune for the song,” the CM had said, washing his hands off the controversy.

(Edited by Neena)