Meet Charulatha Mani whose song in Vettaikaran is scaling music charts
In her twenties and grounded in music with oodles of confidence, it is not surprising that Charulatha Mani is busy dividing her time between performing on stage and recording.
A mechanical engineer, she followed her heart and made music her career. "I just want to be connected with music," says the young crooner, "whether it is kutcheri or films does not matter. Each has its own charm and challenges."
Right now, Charulatha is excited that her song En ucchi mandaila from the forthcoming Vijay-starrer Vettaikaran is scaling music charts. It's a peppy folk song and the music is by Vijay Anthony. "I am thankful to the music director for giving me a break in films."
Her first film song was Kaakka Kaakka from the film Naan Avan Illai. She has also sang the Teenage number with Harish Raghavendra for Kadhalan Kadhali.
"Though I am basically a Carnatic vocalist, I wish to sing different types of songs in films. It's extremely satisfying for any artiste to be versatile," says Charulatha, who's looking forward to her songs in Arjunanin Kadhali for music director Srikanth Deva, Muthulakshmi for Sabesh-Murali and Ennai Edho Seidhuvittai for Raihanah.
But it was a weekly show on Jaya TV that first brought Charulatha's talent to the fore. Isai Payanam, a film songs-based show on classical ragas, conceptualised and anchored by her, was telecast for two years.
"The programme was so successful that I still get offers from outside India to do Isai Payanam concerts." This October, she performed at various places in the U.K. and is now preparing for her Carnatic concerts in the Middle East. The DVDs of Isai Payanam have been released and it is also available on youtube (www.youtube.com/isaipayanam).
"The idea came up during the usual family discussions at the dinner table. Then during a concert recording for Vijayadashmi on Jaya TV, I happened to casually mention it to some of the staff and they instantly liked the idea," smiles Charulatha. She feels such shows can help more people understand the beauty and nuances of classical ragas. Her sound classical training - first under her mother Hemalatha Mani, a veena artiste and then the renowned vidwan Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao, the late Calcutta K.S. Krishnamurthy and Venkatrama Iyer — ent an edge to the programme.
"When in school, I remember sitting with my mother on stage during her performances," says Charulatha. This exposure and experience have given her the confidence to venture on a musical journey.