G. JAYAKUMAR speaks to Arjun B. Krishna who has sung 10 songs in Jayaraj's movie `Anandabhairavi'

Thirteen-year-old Arjun B. Krishna is the latest playback singer to make his mark in the music firmament. The teenager, a student of class eight, Christ Nagar School, did not sing just one song but 10 in Jairaj's latest film `Anandabhairavi,' which was released on Friday. Says Jayaraj: I had been planning `Anandabhairavi' for a long time. But I was on the lookout for someone who could sing the songs for the child actor who donned the role of a child prodigy in the film. Although I tried many female voices, I was not satisfied. It was then that a friend of mine suggested Arjun, who had topped in the juniors category of `Gandharva Sandhya,' a talent hunt on a private channel. I got in touch with Arjun's father and asked him for a CD of his songs. Once the music director and I heard it, we were left with no doubts that Arjun was the ideal person to sing for the film,'' says Jayaraj.

Musical sense

According to the film's music director, Veena Parthasaradhi, it was Arjun's musical sense that impressed him. Displaying a mind sharply attuned to music, Arjun has the amazing ability to identify and sing the swaras (notations) that make up a song. He is also adept at sruthibhedam, which only experienced musicians can perform. "That is why we gave him the freedom to sing the songs his way," says Parthasaradhi. Both Veena Parthasaradhi and Jayaraj are all praise for Arjun's performance. Arjun sang and recorded the 10 songs within a period of one week. "Usually, it would have taken three weeks, and that gave further evidence of his musical ability," feels the director. Arjun's music sense seems to be in his genes as his parents are teachers of music. His father, Vandiperiyar M. Balachandran, teaches music at a school in Karikkakam, and mother P.K. Omana teaches the veena. In fact, Arjun's guru is his father. He started learning classical music from his father when he was around three years old. According to Arjun, he wasn't aware that he was to sing so many songs in the movie. "At first Jayaraj Sir said that I was to sing for `Samajavaragamana,' `Karuna cheyvan' and `Vuyyalaluga.' It was only when we reached Chennai for the recording that he said I was to sing 10 songs. Veena Parthasaradhi Sir taught me the songs and Jayaraj Sir explained the situations behind the lyrics," says Arjun. Told to sing according to the mood, there was no track singing system. "I was able to sing two kritis a day," says Arjun who adds that he found singing `Karunacheyvan enthu thamasam' a challenge. "The scene in the film was such that I had to cough and cry in between without losing the sruthi and rhythm."However, Arjun is no stranger to playback singing. He has sung the lead in the group song `Theeprori' in the movie `Oruvan.'

Favourite raga

Arjun's favourite raga is Varali and the composition is Swati Tirunal's `Mamava Padmanabha.' His favourite singers are K.J. Yesudas and K.S. Chitra. Arjun says he was quite excited to meet Yesudas who "advised me to continue my studies in music and do sadhakam.''Arjun aims at becoming a doctor. He feels that a doctor and a singer have something in common -both bring relief to people.

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