In ever loving memory of Late "Veena" Maestro Dr. Chitti Babu

Early Childhood

About "Veena" Maestro Dr. Chitti Babu
The Chitti Babu "Baani" (Style)
Early Childhood
His Early Career as a Film Musician: 1948-1962
As a Music Director for Movies
As a Performing Artiste
Awards, Titles and Honors
Concert Tours Worldwide
His Albums and Creative Work
His "Quotable Quotes"
His Hobbies, Pastimes and Trivia
Anecdotes - Funny, Touching & Insightful
Photo Gallery
His Guru - "Maha Mahopadhyaya" Dr. Emani Sankara Sastry
His Disciples
His Accompanists
His Better Half
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1936-1948 - in Pithapuram/Kakinada, AP

Chitti Babu Challapally was born on October 13th, 1936, in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India, to music-loving parents, Ranga Rao Challapally and Sundaramma Challapally, who named him Hanumanlu, when he was born


Chitti Babu was his nick name at home, which came to stay eventually, after his father formally changed it to be so. He was a child prodigy who started playing Veena at the tender age of 5.  


He had a providential beginning, when at that tender age, he corrected his father playing the Veena and the stunned father spontaneously decided to let go of his own practice and chose to focus on getting his son started on the Veena and nurture the child's inherently prodigious talent.  He had his basic training very early from Shri. Pandravada Upmakaya and Shri. Eyyuni Appalacharyulu, both whom recognized the boy's genius very early, and strongly urged Ranga Rao to encourage his son in pursuing the art.



He gave his first performance at the age of 12.


  • Initially named Hanumanlu Challapally
  • Nickname at home - Chitti Babu, and this came to stay
  • Later, formally changed by his father to be Chitti Babu

  • Started playing the Veena at age 5
  • Gave his first full fledged concert at the age of 12
  • Moved to Chennai in 1948

1948-1962 - Chennai, Tamil Nadu

In 1948, they moved to Madras (now Chennai) primarily because they got the opportunity for Chitti Babu to act in a Telugu movie “Laila- Majnu” as a child artiste. However, Chitti Babu even as a child of 12, was very focused and determined on becoming a musician, after the movie assignment. He was inspired by the original style of another renowned Veena maestro Emani Sankara Sastry (1922-1987) and was under his tutelage, learning all the nuances and honing his skills.

Like any struggling artiste of that era, it was also difficult for him to get the first major breaks as a performing artiste and more so as a teenager. So, he had a significant stint in film music from 1948-1962, when he worked in the South Indian Film Industry as a recording artiste, playing Veena for background scores in movie soundtracks under the batons of many eminent music directors of the time.

However, the burning ambition inside him to break away and establish himself as an independent, freelancing performing artiste made him declare at a very young age – “Veena is my Mission in Life”.

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