Fidaa is one of the biggest blockbusters of 2017, as a result of which everyone who has worked in and on the film became a hit too. Even the songs of the film became popular and where most lyricists in the industry are men, two of Fidaa’s songs were penned by a woman — Chaitanya Pingali, who wrote Oosupodu as well as the title track for the film.
Chaitanya, who is a published author, also co-wrote the film along with director Sekhar Kammula. “I told Sekhar that I wanted to work in the direction department. I met him during Godavari, but it was not possible to work with him then. After my book Chittagong Viplava Vanithalu released, he called me to assist him in the writing department,” says Chaitanya, whose aforementioned book even won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar.
Talking about her surname — Pingali, doesn’t it strike a chord? Pingali Venkayya designed the Indian National Flag and his grandson Pingali Dasaradharam was the first investigative journo in Telugu. “Yes, I am the daughter of Pingali Dasaradharam and I was three years old when my father died,” recalls Chaitanya. She adds, “After my father’s murder, my mother got scared and did not talk about him with me or my two younger brothers.” It was much later that she found out about her family history.
After completing her schooling in Nandigama, she moved to Hyderabad and pursued her graduation in BSc (computers). “After my marriage, I read the story of Kalpana Datta, who is among the first generation of ten women fighters for Indian Independence against the British in Chittagong. I wanted to write about women who participated in that movement,” she says.
Chaitanya worked hard to gather information about the ten women. “It took so much time for me to do the research and also write to the British Library, National Archives and other old libraries for the information,” says Chaitanya, who wrote another book called Man-asulo Vennel, a collection of short stories.
She also visited Manipur and other parts of Northeast India to plan a film. “I want to make documentaries on these issues and that’s why I prefer films, to gain knowledge. I also want to write a book on the issues of the Northeast,” says Chaitanya, whose husband is an assistant professor at the Nalla Malla Reddy Engineering College.
About the fact that it’s rare to see female lyricists, she says, “The film industry is completely different for women when compared to other jobs. If a woman joins a regular job, she can easily take leaves or join work after some time. That’s why many women don’t join the film industry. As for me, my son is grown up.”
The ace writer wraps up by mentioning that she would love to pen lyrics for many more films....