VISAKHAPATNAM: Ask any Telugu literary buff to name a prominent contemporary storyteller of humour, and pat will come the answer: Bharago.
Bhamidipati Ramagopalam, who breathed his last here today, was a prolific storyteller and good conversationalist. His writings, invariably tinged with humour and satire, never veered off the contemporary middleclass life. With an acute awareness of the complexities of the most ordinary occurrences, his characters come alive with all their inadequacies, embracing uncomfortable truths, which keep the reader in lither vein for a quite while.
Born in 1932 at Pushpagiri in Vizianagaram district, he penned his maiden story, Larger Canvas, for his college magazine, Kalinidi, in Vizianagaram.
With his story, Nenu Maa Aavida, published in Bharati, a highbrow literary magazine, in 1949, he had his maiden taste of the fruit of recognition, and had never looked back ever since. His class teacher had read it out to the entire class and complimented his writing skills. Bharago cherished that moment as the best in his life.His satirical dialogue, aglow with robust humour, is interesting and instructive.
The dialect, tone, idiom, punch and wit are such that they express the stark reality in directness and lucidity that captivate the readers.
He won the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of short stories, `Itlu Mee Vidheyudu’. His `Kadanakutuhalam’ and `Sarve Janah Sukhino Bhavantu’ are a class apart. Be it a feature or a story, laden with robust humour, his writings form an impressive hue in the rainbow of Telugu short story genre.
`Read, read and read’ was always his mantra for youngsters. Voracious reading and interaction with scholars in rich literary ambience of Vizianagarm inspired him to take up writing with passion and helped him reach a coveted position in the realm of letters. His affable presence in literary cirlces was conspicuous.
His outstanding contribution was bringing out rare books of writers. An untiring researcher and literary activist, he promoted other writers than himself. Once he told me that he wanted to translate `Cakes and Ale’ of Somerset Maugham and even obtained his permission to do so but could not do it.
``Had I done it, I would have been rich by now,’’ he would say.
Besides being an ace storyteller, he was also renowned columnist.
Bharago was also an ardent film music aficionado. His compilation of `116’ and `Maro 116’ Telugu `cine golden oldies’, which he had realesed as CDs, the `Maha Mahila’, a book on the life and works of celluloid giant Bhanumati, and the P Suseela Abhinandana Sanchika are collectrs’ delights.
A lesser known facet to his personality is that he was a good Carnatic musician and wonderful singer of KL Saigal and P Bhanumati songs.
Humour in writing and melody in music were the two sides of the coin of his life. May his tribe increase.