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A fresh start

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Although Mammootty-starrer Jawan of Vellimala didn’t set the cash registers ringing, the movie has given a new lease of life for singer Rakhesh Brahmanandan. Despite his illustrious lineage – he is the son of yesteryear singer, the late Brahmanandan – the going has not been easy for Rakhesh.

He isn’t complaining, in spite of having to wait six years for a solo, after his debut in 2006 with the duet ‘Arikil…’ from Anachantham. His first solo – ‘Puraniranjoru paathira…’ from Jawan of Vellimala , a rustic, catchy number composed by Bijibal, has found a place on the charts.

“Yes, the song is special. People have liked it a lot. Plus, it is picturised on my favourite actor, Mammootty. I’ve been a hardcore fan of his, be it his acting or lifestyle,” says Rakhesh who is obviously full of gratitude to Bijibal.

“It is a fact that I did not have a flourishing career in playback singing, but I was busy singing for audio albums. A couple of years ago I sang in an album that had orchestration by Bijibal. We had exchanged pleasantries. I never ever thought that he would remember me and give me the song ‘Puraniranjoru…’. Till I was shown the video of the song, I didn’t know that I’d sung for Mammootty,” Rakhesh says.

His excitement is evident as he gushes about how many likes and views the song has garnered on YouTube and how he was introduced by Mammootty to the audience at the audio launch of the movie.

Rakhesh would rather not talk about the lows of his career. “There have been many reasons why I didn’t get a break. The film industry has got its own drawbacks. New voices are lucky to have got a break as playback singers during this period. The fate of a singer depends much on the support he/she gets from the director or the music director. In Anachantham , it was director Jayaraj who insisted that I should sing the song. In Jawan of Vellimala , Bijibal was happy with my voice, so too Anoop Kannan, the director,” says Rakhesh.

All said and done, Rakhesh insists that he wouldn’t like to restrict himself to film music. “You can’t compartmentalise music into different genres. Ultimately, all of them come together to form, what you term, world music. I firmly believe that an artiste can’t grow if he/she restricts oneself to film music,” he says.

That is why he is planning to launch a seven-member band, Rakhesh Band, which would render all kinds of songs. Also, he is taking lessons in classical music and is seriously contemplating about giving classical concerts. Ambalappuzha Vijayan, Vazhamuttom Chandrababu and Ramesh Narayan have been his gurus.

Father’s influence

Born and brought up in Chennai, Rakhesh never thought of pursuing a career in music until the family shifted to Kerala. “My father did initiate me into music. But he never wanted me to take up a career in music. He wanted me to balance work and music. I wanted to go abroad and work. It was serendipity that made me a singer. I was asked to sing at a function when the organisers came to know that I was Brahmanandan’s son. I did my first song recording, for a telefilm at the age of 24. Once I started concentrating on singing, my father insisted that I should learn music thoroughly,” says Rakhesh.

A huge fan of Ilayaraja (he has sung for the legend in the Malayalam movie SMS ), Rakhesh admits that A.R.Rahman has also influenced him a great deal. “When Roja came out, every one was raving about Rahman. I was in for a pleasant surprise when my father told me that Rahman had come to our home as a kid with his father, the late R.K. Sekhar. Rahman’s talent was a kind of inspiration for me,” he says, adding: “I soon started learning keyboard and piano, before going for music lessons.”

Rakhesh’s upcoming songs are from the movies Mad Dad and Abhiyum Njaanum .

The fate of a singer depends much on the support he/she gets from the director or the music director

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