Vennelakanti Rajeswara Prasad, the Telugu lyricist and writer, died of a cardiac arrest on Tuesday night at his residence in Chennai. He was 63.
Vennelakanti wrote the lyrics to over 2,000 songs, as well as the scripts of several Tamil films for dubbing in Telugu.
Some of his most notable lyrics were in films like Murali Krishnudu (1988), Aditya 369 (1991), One By Two (1993), Seenu (1999), Bhalevadivi Basu (2001), Mitrudu (2009), Vastadu Naa Raju (2011), Raaj (2011), and Penguin (2020).
His dubbing work includes scripts for Panchathantiram (2002), Magic Magic 3D (2003), Prema Chadhurangam (2004, dubbed version of Tamil film Chellame), Saroja (2008), Manmadha Baanam (2010, dubbed version of Tamil film Manmadhan Ambu), and Prema Khaidi (2011, dubbed version of Tamil film Mynaa).
He also wrote dubbed scripts for Kamal Haasan‘s Tamil films Pothuraju (2004, the dubbed version of the Tamil film Virumaandi), Mumbai Xpress (2005), and Dasavathaaram (2008).
Vennelakanti is survived by two sons. His older son, Shashank Vennelakanti, works as a dialogue writer for dubbed films as well, and his younger son, Rakendu Mouli, is a lyricist and singer for dubbed films.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, singer Shweta Mohan, a colleague of Rakendu Mouli, said: “Very saddened to hear about the passing away of Sri Vennelankanti garu. He is a legend in the Telugu film industry and I have had the opportunity to sing many songs with his words. Although I have never met him in person, I have great respect for his work. I pray that the family finds the strength to tide over this big loss.”
Music composer Devi Sri Prasad shared pictures of some of Vennelakanti’s songs on his Twitter handle.
Sad to hear about the sudden demise of Shri.Vennelakanti garu..
An Amazing lyricist who wrote so many landmark songs..🙏🏻A D V E R T I S E M E N T
May his Soul Rest in Peace and May God give Strength to his Family..🙏🏻💐 pic.twitter.com/lhVfoKtEUf
— DEVI SRI PRASAD (@ThisIsDSP) January 5, 2021
Director Meher Ramesh, who has worked in Telugu as well as Kannada films, wrote on Twitter: “Desperate deficit for Telugu film industry.”
‘‘మాటరాని మౌనమిది… మౌనవీణ గానమిది.. గానమిదీ నీ ధ్యానమిది.. ధ్యానములో నా ప్రాణమిదీ.. ప్రాణమైన మూగ గుండె రాగమిది’’ 🙏🏻గొప్ప రచయిత వెన్నెలకంటి గారి మృతి కి ప్రఘాడ సంతాపం 🙏🏻తెలుగు చిత్ర సీమకి తీరని లోటు #Vennelakanti 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/kLvSaP1kHJ
— Meher Ramesh (@MeherRamesh) January 6, 2021
Filmmaker and screenwriter BVS Ravi tweeted that Vennelakanti’s iconic songs would be remembered.
In 2020, the Telugu film industry lost veteran music director and singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, actors Jaya Prakash Reddy, Narsing Yadav, Kosuri Venu Gopal, and Raavi Kondala Rao.