Jyotsna breezed into Malayalam music scene with her distinctive voice. The soothing melody ‘Sukhamaane Nilavu…’ from Nammal was lapped up by the listeners and she followed it up with songs from films such as Swapnakoodu, Perumazhakkalam, and Manassinakkare, to name a few, which gave her a place among popular singers. She continues to please the music buffs with the same sweetness in her voice, having sung in over 250 films, including those in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. These days she is a television host as well, anchoring the chat show, ‘Duet’ on Amrita TV, a platform where musicians talk about their journey with music. Jyotsna talks about her experiences on the show and her career. Excerpts:
I’d once suggested a music show to Shyamaprasad sir [filmmaker and chief creative head, Amrita TV]. My idea was to do a live show, giving a new flavour to film songs. Later when the channel was planning a new music show, he remembered my suggestion. He re-worked that and ‘Duet’ was launched.
The show is essentially about showcasing good music. We bring music directors and singers on board and listen to their experiences.
The presentation of the songs is simple in that we use just three instruments – piano, violin and flute, played by Ralphin Stephen, Francis and Rajesh, respectively. Sometimes, we also use veena or others instrument depending on the songs we present. What is important is that it is pure, unadulterated music.
As a host
The show is actually a first-of-its-kind for me. I anchored ‘Music Live’ on Asianet long ago, but this one is totally different. I am enjoying this experience. Most of the guests are people whom I have worked with and it feels great catching up with them. Interacting with them have helped my singing also.
Composer Bijibal was our first guest. We’ve done episodes with singers Job and Akhila. Forthcoming episodes will feature musicians and singers such as Mridula Varier, Rajalakshmi, Pandit Ramesh Narayan, Sreevalsan J. Menon, Mohan Sithara, Bennet Roland, and Alaap Raju.
It has been almost 12 years since I entered the industry. I always wanted to become known as a musician and film songs came as a bonus. I started playback singing at a very young age. Offers came to me and before I knew it, singing became my profession.
Once you are in this profession you have to keep working on your singing. Also, when you do playback you have to maintain a graph. But then luck plays an important role in that.
I’ve done the best I could. I could bring out albums and I’m also doing shows with my band, Acoustika. I am learning Hindustani music from Dattatreya Velankar.
On the music scene
There has been a considerable change in the kind of music that is coming out. We often hear that today anybody can become a composer or a singer. Social media helps them reach out to people.
However, I strongly feel that only good work will be appreciated; only genuine talent has longevity. Even when I brought out my album, I was very sceptical. It was not something I did with any commercial interest.
I did it for my creative satisfaction. It was meant for a niche audience.
As for other singers, I’ve great rapport with all the singers out there. Most of us had started out around the same time and whenever come together we have lots of fun. Also, we appreciate each other’s work.
Lal Jose’s Vikramadithyan which has music by Bijibal, Arun Vaidyanathan’s Mohanlal-starrer Peruchazhi in which Navin Iyer has composed music and a Kannada movie, Hara, for Jassie Gift.
I hope to do another album, having got good response for my previous work Krishna the Eternal. Meanwhile, I am waiting for an opportunity to sing for A. R. Rahman…
‘Duet’ airs on Amrita, Monday to Thursday, at 8 p.m.