ఉప్పొంగెలే గోదావరి – Uppongele Godavari

I was browsing through my albums recently and got all nostalgic after looking at the pictures of my trip to the Godavari an year ago. Also, one of the readers has given a wonderful suggestion of doing a post on the song from Sekhar Kammula‘s classic, which gave Veturi his last Nandi award. The song which plays during the titles is however a classic poem by Adavi Bapiraju and really sets the backdrop for the movie. I’m sure Veturi was inspired to some extent by this jewel in Telugu literature.

So, here goes! The video link is obligatory and I would strongly recommend that you watch the movie and wait for this song to pop up if goosebumps are what you want.

ఉప్పొంగెలే గోదావరి
ఊగిందిలే చేలో వరి
భూదారిలో నీలాంబరి
మా సీమకే చీనాంబరి

చేల = cloth
వరి = rice crop
చీనాంబరము = costly Silk cloth (చీనా – from China)

I guess Veturi just can’t write a song without using the word ‘నీలాంబరి’

‘The Godavari burst forth and the cloth of paddy fields swayed!’
‘It is the earthly form of the Neelambari raga and the silk of our land’ (not to be confused with her, despite similar origins)

వెతలు తీర్చు మా దేవేరి
వేదమంటి మా గోదారి
శబరి కలిసిన గోదారి
రామ చరితకే పూదారి
వేసెయ్ చాప దోసేయ్ నావ
బార్సేయ్ వాలుగా
చుక్కానే చూపుగా
బ్రతుకు తెరువు ఎదురీదేగా

వెత = distress
దేవేరి = queen
శబరి = An old tribal woman in Ramayana. Also, the river Sabari is a tributary of Godavari.
I was pretty ecstatic when I discovered this, which was THE article which introduced me to these myths.
చాప = sail
చుక్కాని = rudder
బారె = at once
తెరువు = way

‘O Queen who is like the Vedas! Put an end to all our suffering’
‘The place where Sabari met Rama and paved a path for the Ramayana’
‘Deploy the sails, let the boat move, doesn’t it push forth at once in the direction of the rudder’
‘Isn’t the way of life always a swim against the tides?’

సావాసాలు సంసారాలు చిలిపి చిలక జోస్యం
వేసే అట్లు వేయంగానే లాభసాటి భేరం
ఇల్లే ఓడలైపోతున్నఇంటి పనుల దృశ్యం
ఆరేసేటి అందాలన్నీ అడిగే నీటి అద్దం
ఏం తగ్గింది మా రామయ్య భోగం ఇక్కడ
నది ఊరేగింపురా పడవ మీద రాగా
ప్రభువు తానూ కాగా

This verse beautifully describes the life on the river.
భోగము = possession

‘Friendships, families and the comical fortune telling with a parrot’
‘The Attu just when done. is sold for a profitable price’
‘The sight of household chores on homes which are turning into boats’
‘The water mirror (Godavari), which is asking for the exquisite fabrics left to dry’
‘Who said the faith in Rama has decreased here? The procession on the river! Hasn’t it come via a boat when Rama became the ruler?’

గోదారమ్మ కుంకంబొట్టు దిద్దే మిరప ఎరుపు
లంకానాధుడింకా ఆగనంటు పండ్లు కొరుకు
చూసే చూపు ఏం చెప్పింది సీతాకాంతకి
సందేహాల మబ్బే పట్టె చూసే కంటికి
లోకం కాని లోకంలోన ఏకాంతాల వలపు
అల పాపికొండల నలుపు కడగలేక నవ్వు తనకు రాగా

ఏకాంతం = a retreat

‘The redness of  chillies which decorate the Godavari like a Bindi’
‘Ravana, clenching his teeth with anger, for he has lost his patience’
‘What did his sight convey to Sita? The eye could see a cloud of doubts’
‘In this secluded place, the feeling of solitude!’
‘The tide, doesn’t it feel like laughing for not being able to wash away the colour of the Papi Hills?’

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2 thoughts on “ఉప్పొంగెలే గోదావరి – Uppongele Godavari

  1. hi gpavanb, really appreciate your efforts in making telugu songs understandable. being a telugu brought up outside ap and realizing only much later that the language is so beautiful, your site is one of the very few helpful ones I found for learning telugu through english…

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