P. K. AJITH KUMAR
Playback singer G. Venugopal's voice and expressive rendition have helped him carve a niche in the Malayalam music industry.
A few weeks ago, G. Venugopal was pleasantly surprised to see three of his songs topping the charts at the same time. `Shyamavanil... ,' (`Anachantham'), `Kando kando... ,' (`Mahasamudram') and `Nilavinte... ' (`Moonnamathoral') . "It felt great to have three songs doing well at the same time. I am glad that music directors are giving me the opportunity to sing some fine melodies," says Vengupopal, who was in Kozhikode recently to record an album. Venugopal has indeed done well to survive for over two decades in the competitive music industry. It did not take him long to make a mark because he had a voice that had an identity of its own.
And composers like Johnson gave him soulful numbers because the singer knew how to give expression to meaningful lines. His rendition of Sachidanandan's poem, `Meera Padunnu,' from the album `Kavyaragam,' is a good example of how a singer could enhance the charm of lyrical poetry. He says he enjoyed reciting the poems for `Kavyaragam' and `Kavyageethikal,' both of which featured well-known poems set to music. "I enjoy poetry and literature. Now, it is the visual aspects of a song that count more, thanks to television," he says. Television turns even wannabe singers into celebrities. Does he regret that television was not this big when he began his career? "Not really. Exposure is good for new singers, but overexposure could harm them too. "Venugopal feels today's singers are better off than those of his generation. "Young singers these days can make more money from television and stage shows than from a Government job. I did lose out on some good songs because of my job, as I could record only during the weekends. There were of course music directors like Johnson who would wait for me patiently with a song like `Thane poovitta moham... ' (`Sasneham'), but there were also many others who didn't want to wait."He feels he was fortunate to sing quite a few memorable songs in the late `80s and the early `90's when melody reigned supreme in Malayalam film music. "Johnson had given me some of the best songs of my career, including `Poothalam... ' (`Kalikkalam') and `Mainkaponmudiyil... ' (`Mazhavlikavadi')."
From light music, Venugopal, who grew up listening to his aunts (the `Paravoor Sisters') sing, wants to move on to classical music. "I am planning to do a concert next year," he says.