Sunday, December 30, 2012

Celebrities to croon for ‘One Love’

Budding music composer P V Unnikrishnan has come out with a novel  initiative, a music album ‘One Love’, which will be a celebrity treat with   actors Suresh Gopi, Ananya and Sharanya Mohan lending their voice.  

P V Unnikrishnan, who composed the music for the songs in the album, says  the concept of a celebrity album sprouted from a casual talk which happened between him and his friend Vijay Madhav.

“We have already started working for ‘One Love’. Six melodies have already been composed which were penned by my friends Rajeev Alunkal and

Sreenath V P. Since Vijay is a good friend of Suresh Gopi, he discussed   about the album to him. To our surprise, he was willing to sing for us.   That is how the idea of celebrity album popped up,” he says.

Unnikrishnan says that he then held talks with many actors who expressed  their inclination to work with them. “That is how Ananya and Sharanya Mohan came to the scene,” Unnikrishnan says.

Other prominent singers in the album are Vijay Madhav, Mridula Warriar and Sudeep Karat. Besides singing solo songs, Vijay Madhav has sung the main   lead male portions of other songs along with Sharanya Mohan and Ananya. Unnikrishnan says the professionalism showed by the stars were amazing.

“When it comes to Suresh Gopi, there were no starry airs. He showed real professionalism and always came to the studio after learning the song well”.

Unnikrishnan started his career as a music director at the age of 19. He did several works like title songs for famous TV Shows Vodafone Comedy Stars,  Ranankanam ,Star Utsav, Neelambari, theme song for Malayalam TV USA and has    worked with renowned director M P Sukumaran for his work ‘Smaraka Shilakal’ and ‘Nangyarkoothu’ and the much-discussed docu-fiction ‘Ekaroopam’.

Though this is the case, Unnikrishnan is not fully satisfied with the current scene of music.

He says the current trend is that musicians need the backing of films.

“Our music is mainly recognised with films. It is a long wait for the  musician to get recognised,” he says.

Besides, he adds that the musicians are in a dilemma regarding what people really seek in a song.  “Recently  I made a Malayalam cover to PSY’s world hit Gangnam Style - ANNA KINNAM STYLE’ with my friend Nithin. It has been a few weeks and now it has crossed 86,000 views. Unfortunately, the real and serious music is brushed aside,” he laments.

A dam song: To Tamil Nadu, with love

What if Mullaperiyar breaks? This question has left many people from Kerala and Tamil Nadu without sleep. The thought of awaiting disaster is bringing out the pessimists in the people. However, there are some trying to make people think otherwise. That’s how a Tamil song‘Pesi Tholeda’ (Speak Out!) was penned down by some Malayalis. “It was not pre-planned. We used to hang out in Chandrettan’s (Chandrasekharan R) studio, where we shot this song, and used to have lengthy discussions on this issue. This song was an offshoot of those discussions,” said Ajay Rahul, lyricist of the song. Ajay said that they wanted a different song with different feel to lure the attention of both Malayalis and Tamilians. “Songs and albums based on Mullaperiyar issues is quite common and we could not follow the same path trodden by other people. Moreover, we wanted to provide a shade of positivity through our song. Hence, we decided on a fast number,” Ajay added.

Ajay said, while preparing the song the language and the feel of the song were given top priority. “We decided to use Tamil as it would attribute our feelings quite clearly to them. Moreover, the language we used is simple,” he said.

Ajay believes that it is easy to write something on the cause one really believes in. “It just took five hours to write the lyrics and to give music. The process picked up the pace when Jayahari did not take much time in giving music to my lyrics ,” said an enthusiastic Ajay.

The significant feature of this song is that though it is speaking of Mullaperiyar issue, no where in the song have appeared terms like ‘Mullaperiyar’ and ‘Dam’. “It was a deliberate decision to keep these two words out of this song to avoid any kind of offensiveness. Making this song a medium, we need the Tamil authorities to give in to the demand of Kerala to build a new dam,” said Jayahari P S, who composed the music for the song.

When asked about the lyrics, zealous Jayahari hummed the song “Machi, entra pesame irukke ( Why do you keep mum?) Namukku vendum oreyoru vartha thaan ‘OK’ (We need just a single word from you - OK, a nod to build a new dam).” “It’s a matter of life and death. Speak out! Machi before it is too late. This is what we want to convey through our effort,” Jayahari said. “This venture became fruitful when Santhosh Kumar T V agreed to lend his voice and Riju B Sarajan agreed to finance it,” they added.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The beauty of stones

 picture courtesy : Mithun Vinod

The grinding stones, which was lying scattered at one side of Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, reminds one of the famous quote by Michaelangelo, one of the world’s greatest sculptors. “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”

But when it comes to artist Sheela Gowda from Bangalore who has accumulated these stones from three localities in Bangalore, the statement of Michaelangelo has to be changed a little.

For Sheela is not about to carve new statues out of the stones, but to show the public, at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the art which is hidden inside.

Titled ‘Stopover’, these stones reveal the hidden history behind them. “They were once a part of every household in Karnataka,” she says. “You can see that they are not finely cut, except at one part, where there is a perfect square.”

In olden times, the stones were buried, except for the hole in which the spices would be crushed. Now the stones have been neglected as people have found other ways to grind spices.

“But I see an art hidden in it,” says Sheela.  “That is why I have decided to showcase the long-lost tradition through these abstract sculptures.”

Sheela, who has been accompanied by her colleague, Christopher Storz, says that they could procure the stones in an intact condition as the people, who had discarded it, did not break it.

“It might be because of the emotional connect,” says Sheela. “Hence, they just threw them away without causing any damage.”

She says that through their work they want to show how a piece of stone, which has become invisible in the locality, can become visible through an art form.

“The stones, which I have got, are negligible in number,” says Sheela. “I am sure there are several more. Hopefully, through our work, people will become aware of them.”

Sheela says that she decided  to showcase this work at Fort Kochi because it has such a rich history in spices.

“Such a history makes it a suitable environment to showcase this artwork,” says Sheela.

published in The New Indian Express

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Personal experience encourages Peter to feed the needy

K J Peter stands tall, both literally and figuratively as he has dedicated his life for the poor and the needy. Everyday, he reaches the isolation ward of the Ernakulam general hospital at the crack of the dawn to bathe the patients
and dress them up, and also distributes food to the patients. It has been eight years since he has commenced his mission of offering service to those in need.

 Interestingly, Peter says that for the past eight years his service has never encountered a single hurdle. However, there was a phase in Peter’s life when he was hardly aware of the melancholy
of life until he was struck by an illness which affected his mobility. He says that during those days, the patients could get free food only thrice a week.

The rest of the four days were a real nightmare without food. “My disability and the difficulties I encountered during my course of treatment made me think of an arrangement that could be of immense help to the people,” he says. Peter says, seven years back, taking up such a venture was not an easy task. “I knocked many doors for help but could not get favourable answers. Hence, I went and collected money from various sources which helped me to distribute food to the patients,” he said.

Currently, Peter distributes food for around 1,200 patients in five government hospitals in the district. The destitute patients of Taluk Hospital, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry Women and Children’s Hospital, Malipuram Health Centre and Fort Kochi Dharamshala gets his help. The Ernakulam District Collector has honoured him for his services in April and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has honoured him for his service.
The seven-year-long service has now enabled him to garner other arrangements to help the destitute patients.

His trust, Rosary of Divine Charitable Trust, now has two ambulances for emergency situations. The food for patients is prepared at his house at Oachanthuruthu. Peter says that he gets incessant help from his family and neighbours to prepare the required food. “About 110 kg of rice is prepared here and half of it is cooked in the kitchen entrusted
by the Ernakulam General Hospital at,” he says. Sadly, the number of destitute patients in the Ernakulam General Hospital is increasing day-by-day, but Peter’s presence proves to be true solace for all of them.

Published in the New Indian Express