They are united in their passion for music and have churned out hits in many languages. Sudhish Kamath meets the singer-couple Harini and Tipu
As they playfully pose for photographs together, you can tell they are still a couple in love after over a decade of marriage. Between them, they have over 8,000 movie songs to their credit. Harini started singing when she was 13 and Tipu, when he was 19. But he caught up with her by singing the most number of songs in 2004-2005 in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. Given that they are of the same age, Tipu acknowledges Harini as his senior in the industry.
How did they meet?
“We met in Australia. We were there for a show. We came back to Chennai and informed our parents about our love and they approved. Both of us were 22 then,” says Tipu.
But that wasn't the first time they had heard each other sing. “I was always attracted to her voice,” says Tipu. “I remember seeing him at Rahman sir's studio during the recording of ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain'. We didn't know each other then but I always admired his style of singing,” Harini reminisces.
“The greatest thing I have learnt from her is patience. She adjusted very well into my family. I am trying to learn from the way she takes care of the kids and all at home,” says Tipu.
When asked the same question, Harini takes her time to think. “I am thinking because there are so many things that I don't know where to start. I used to be very conservative. I didn't look at life outside my profession. He taught me how to enjoy life,” she says.
Have they watched “Abhimaan”?
“Yes, they had played it on TV recently. The ego clash like in the film can never happen with us,” says Harini. “When I am wrong, she corrects me and vice versa. As professionals, we learn everyday,” adds Tipu.
While Harini started learning Carnatic music at the age of three and had planned to be a Carnatic singer, Tipu never intended to be a playback singer. He was a cricketer until a cricket ball hit his eye and his guru told him to give it up for singing. “Shekhar Narayan was my guru and he told me that my voice was dramatic and suited cinema.”
Harini learnt music from Radha Vishwanathan for over a decade and also from Sudha Raghunathan and Suguna Purushothaman. She performs kutcheris during the December season. “I am still learning,” says Harini, who got her break in cinema when she sang ‘Nila Kaigirathu' from “Indira” for A.R. Rahman and her life changed.
Their children, Sai Smruti and Sai Prathyankar are also learning music. “But not from us,” smiles Harini.
Tipu attributes his success to Sai Baba and the couple even got married in Puttaparthi.
The duo plans to do a non-film album together. But for now, Harini and Tipu have their hands full with recordings, concerts and kids.