Fidaa isn’t her first in films. Chaithanya was part of the writing team that came up with the famous dog episode in Godavari.
Writer, lyricist Pingali Chaithanya, who rose to fame with Fidaa and her Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar win for Chittagong Viplava Vanithalu, was brought up in an immensely guarded atmosphere. Her journalist father was murdered under mysterious circumstances when she was three.
Ever since, her mother made it a point to insulate children from his writings out of fear. She was encouraged to read a lot but not write. Though writing began on a playful note from school, the great-grand daughter of Pingali Venkaiah claims that her father’s copy of Sri Sri’s Maha Prasthanam (the first book she’d ever read) continues to be her most prized possession to date.
she was deeply affected by read about the first generation of woman-freedom fighters and revolutionaries like Kamala Das. That made to write Chittagong Viplava Vanithalu. As history was rarely documented from a woman’s perspective, the research was tasking.” Being her first book and unsure of the response,in her words “I felt the need to tell what women were capable of. The Sahitya Akademi win, three years later, was truly gratifying. I came up with another book Manasulo Vennela then.”
Chaithanya feels the restlessness in her made her a writer. “My mother had always wanted me to take up a secure job, she wondered why should I even write, she wanted me to take up a government job as a teacher and settle well. She wasn’t happy
when Chittagong… released. She refused to give a copy of it to her friends, the cover picture of a gun didn’t please her at all. Even when I write about women-atrocities, she’s concerned about my safety.”
Having worked as a journalist for a few years helped Chaithanya understand life from various perspectives and mature as a writer. “When you have a journalistic mind, logic takes precedence. Authors somehow tend to feel they’re above that. I don’t think Chittagong… would have happened without my journalism background. You know how to play with words and present a wider picture sub-consciously.”
When she was approached by Sekhar Kammula for Fidaa again, Chaithanya insisted that film writing was entirely a different ball game. Having contributed her bit in the writing and as a lyricist, she added, “They advised me to focus on the content and not the form. You need to say a lot in little time, you need to use the right words, you can’t afford to write more.
On the need for woman-writers to be a part of films, she states, “Films are a part of the society, they reflect us and give us a direction too..