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Making waves with his music

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Manikanth Kadri
Manikanth Kadri

N. Venkateswaran

Manikanth has his hands full and is working in different languages and genres "Awards are always welcome, but I do not feel let down if I do not win any"

Chennai: He has composed more than 500 jingles for radio and television and worked on 10 devotional albums. But only after receiving a State award does music composer Manikanth Kadri feel he has hit the big league.

Manikanth Kadri is on cloud nine. His first work in Malayalam the music score for the telefilm "Annum Mazhayayirunnu" has won the Kerala State Television Award 2005 for best music. The telefilm, which was telecast on Amrita TV, also won six other awards, including for director P. Unnikrishnan.

Though the awards were announced last week, the young composer is still celebrating. He is happy that his work has been noticed, but he has another, more personal reason to feel pleased initially, he was asked only to compose a song for the movie. "I just spoke to the director over the phone, and he told me what the song was about. I just recorded it and sent it to him," he told The Hindu

Unnikrishnan was so pleased with the song that he phoned him immediately and asked him to do the background score too. "The director said I had given him what he wanted, and that our thoughts were completely in sync. He said I was the only person who could deliver the background score he had in mind. That meant a lot to me."

They seemed so tuned into each other's thoughts that they only met on the day of the movie's preview. "Till then, we just interacted over the phone. At first Unnikrishnan told me what sort of music he wanted, but after listening to the song he gave me a free hand."

Manikanth took his first steps in music under the guidance of his father, noted saxophone player and Padma Shree awardee Kadri Gopalnath. He learnt the clarinet and the saxophone, but was drawn to fusion music and jazz.

He released his first instrumental fusion album "Dream Journey" in 2001, which was released to rave reviews and very good sales figures, not only in India but also abroad. Since then, he has worked on two more volumes, and is working on "Dream Journey-IV" now.

He did the background score for an English feature film, "Tantric Journal," for 3-D Max Media, a Florida-based company. The film was screened in more than eight international film festivals, including at San Francisco and Hawaii.

Manikanth seems to be a lucky mascot. His second work in Malayalam was for the art movie "Chandranilekkoru Vazhi" directed by Biju Verghese. The film won the John Abraham Award, but he wasn't as lucky. "Awards are always welcome, but I do not feel let down if I do not win any. I only want to do interesting work that challenges me and inspires me to give my best."

How he bagged "Chandranilekkoru Vazhi" is another interesting story. "The director, Biju Verghese, saw "Annum Mazhayayirunnu" on television on the first day it was telecast and was so impressed with the music that he tracked me down the very next day and signed me on to do the music for his film."

Manikanth has his hands full and is working in different languages and genres. In the works is another Malayalam movie and two in Kannada, and a contemporary music album in Kannada, for which he sang two songs and also composed the music.

International recognition also does not seem far away. He has just finished two tracks for an international crossover album, "Making Tracks, The Sea," by Damian Montagu. He was the only one in India to work on the project, which aims at chronicling the effect and influence the sea has on different peoples and their cultures.

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