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Manjari on a winning note

G. JAYAKUMAR

Manjari's strength is her ability to sing both Carnatic and Hindustani music.


Anyone can sing the first two lines of `Mukilin Makale.' But after that, it's difficult. It was a challenge and I worked very hard on it. MANJARI



TUNED TO SUCCESS: Manjari's `Mukilin Makale' is the song that fetched her the award. Photo: C. RATHEESH KUMAR

It is hard to believe that Manjari, who has bagged the State award for the best singer (female), is a final-year student of music. She has already sung for music directors like Ramesh Narayan, Ilayaraja, M.G. Radhakrishnan, Kaithapuram Viswanathan, Vidyasagar, M. Jayachandran, and the late Ravindran. The movies include `Garshom,' `Makalku,' `Achuvinte Amma,' `Ponmudipuzhayorathu,' `Vadakkumnathan,' `Ananthabhadram,' `Kasturiman,' `Oru Naal Oru Kanavu.' She has also sung for albums such as Balabhaskar's `Mazhayil Aaro Oral.' Manjari is currently recording for a Tamil movie for which Keeravani has scored the music.

Excerpts from an interview with Manjari.

On her award winning song, `Mukilin Makale'

Anyone can sing the first two lines. But after that, it's really difficult. It was a challenge and I really worked hard on the song under the guidance of Ramesh Narayan sir. Another favourite song of mine is `Parayaan maranna paribhavam,' a similar song in `Garshom.'

On her initiation into music

My teachers were from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and other places. That helped me sing in different languages. My arangetram was at the Krishna temple in Ruwi (Muscat). My first public performance was with the Kolkata-based Shiva rock band. I was in class eight then.

On her first break in Malayalam films

I took part in `Symphony' on Kairali TV. Then I sang for director Renjith's film `Hello,' for some reason it wasn't released. Then came `Vamanapuram Bus Route.' Ravindran master noticed me in a music programme on Surya TV, and called me to sing for `Vadakkumnathan.' He was a genius, very caring and affectionate, like a father.

On Hindustani music

Baburaj's Hindustani compositions, which I have been hearing since I was six, inspired me. One of my teachers at school felt that my voice was suited for Hindustani music. So, I started learning Hindustani music under Ustad Khalid Anvar Jan, who hails from Pakistan. Then there was one Mushtaq who sings like Mehdi Hasan.

He taught me how to pronounce Urdu and Punjabi. I started off by singing ghazals. I'm still continuing my training in Hindustani classical singing.

Her training in Carnatic music

I was taught Carnatic music from the age of five. Syamala Vinod was my teacher. Now, Perumbavoor G. Ravindranath is teaching me Carnatic music. In fact, Carnatic music has helped me grasp the fundamentals of Hindustani music easily. I love to sing both Hindustani and Carnatic because I feel there is divinity in it.

On K.J. Jesudas who is her `role model'

When I was at school in Muscat, we went to meet Das uncle (K.J. Jesudas). He heard me singing and encouraged me. As a child I didn't realise his greatness. He used to play chess with us and joke around. When I grew up, I have wondered how such a great artiste can be such a simple person. Das uncle continues to be a source of encouragement. He is my role model. He is my favourite singer too. It was he who told me that there is a raga by my name, and taught me a composition `Patti viduva ragam.'

On singing solo for Ilayaraja's `Thiruvasagam'

I was fortunate to be given a couple of lines, a shloka, to sing solo in Ilayaraja sir's classic symphony `Thiruvasagam.' It was a thrilling experience of teamwork. There were about 200 artistes from Chennai, Bangalore, Kerala and other places. He is really particular about making you `feel' the song so that you can give your best.

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