Of foreign notes
With singers from outside the State calling the shots, local singers are crying hoarse
LIMELIGHT Are they at centre stage or do their songs top popularity charts?
Kannada playback singers have hit a discordant note. Trouble was simmering with rumblings of discontent, but it touched a crescendo last week with the fraternity flaying filmmakers for not only using Mumbai singers like Sonu Nigam, but also paying them exorbitantly. Also, lack of proper pronunciation and enunciation was the bone of contention.
Cinema integrates the most diverse of people. Heroines from Karnataka should have gone on strike long back if language were the criterion. There are many who are far more talented than the Mumbai mannequins. There are cinematographers and choreographers from Chennai and stunt masters from elsewhere. “Excellence and dedication should be the sole criterion,” opines Jayant Kaikini whose lines “Anisuthide Yaako” have become Karnataka’s anthem. “Nobody planned this. It’s decided by market forces and it’s not as if filmmakers are trying to sabotage local talent. We did not know that the song from ‘Mungaru Male’ would be on everyone’s lips. The argument is that anyone here could have sung the song as well as Sonu has. I feel it would have just been different perhaps not better.” The problem seems to be with the pronunciation I point out. What about Sonu saying ‘Hanisuthidhe’ instead of ‘Anisuthidhe’? “Well technologically it was possible to correct that, but I think it happened because of emphasis. There are singers who sing with a Tamil accent. The only man who sang with an authentic accent was the late Rajkumar. It is a pleasure listening to his flawless diction,” says Jayanth. Professionalism is another point. Rajesh Krishna is not very popular because of his highhanded behaviour. “He rarely picks up calls and doesn’t bother to call back,” says a disgruntled music director. “The fact is that there’s ample space for everyone,” says Jayanth. “In fact if hundred songs are recorded in one year only about ten are sung by singers from the North. The rest are sung by local singers. It’s nobody’s fault that those ten songs turn out to be chart-busters.” Sonu Nigam has just finished an album of love ditties tuned by Mnao Murthy and written by Jayanth. “Believe me it was Sonu’s idea,” says the celebrated lyricist. “This is his way of repaying the abundant love Kannadigas have showered upon him.”
There were two releases last week. While the posters of “Tata Birla” seemed to shoo you away from theatres, “Meravanige” starring a young pair and directed by Mahesh Babu who showed promise in “Arasu”, looked more palatable. Sadly, the film is a damp squib. It’s the usual tale of a pair who loath each other in the first half and are inseparable in the second.
The script is as puerile as any by Janardhan Mahirishi, the highest paid and most sought after writer in Kannada cinema today. He puts five DVDs of Telugu blockbusters into the mixer and churns out a mishmash. The film has the most moronic set of parents I’ve watched on-screen. When terrorists kidnap the two kids they react like they’re in a safer place. Ironicall,y the fathers of the protagonists are senior Police officers!
Prajwal has a long way to go especially with his dialogue delivery. It’s the petite Andrita who’s like a balm for burning eyes.
S. SHIVA KUMAR
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