Music

With magic in her voice

Renuka Arun   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

One can’t help falling in love with Renuka Arun’s voice. The texture, depth and composure make it addictive. So it is not a surprise that her song Seetha Kalyanam, from Bejoy Nambiar’s Malayalam-Tamil bilingual anthology Solo, just grows on you.

When we catch up with Renuka, a project manager with E&Y in Kochi, she is basking in the compliments coming her way. She has sung the song with its composer Sooraj S. Kurup, in World of Rudra, one of the four stories in Solo.

Seetha Kalyanam is just the second film song in the career of this Carnatic vocalist-cum-IT professional. Tell her that her voice reminds us of Bombay Jayashri, and she breaks into a laugh. “Many people have said that...I am floored! When I was working in Chennai, I tried to be at all her concerts. You don’t know how much I prayed for her when her song was nominated for the Oscar awards...,” gushes Renuka.

Renuka Arun

Renuka Arun   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A veteran on the Carnatic music circuit, having given over 550 concerts, Renuka took to music at the age of four. “My father, G. Vijayan Nair, loves music and he never missed any classical concerts in town. He encouraged me to learn. My maternal and paternal grandmothers have learnt music and so music is in my genes. I started learning music from teachers in Perumbavur, my home town. When I was in class four I became a disciple of Chandramana Narayanan Nambudiri and continues to learn from him,” says the 36-year-old.

Studies, marriage, job, and motherhood never came in the way of her passion for music. “My husband, Arun, continues to be a silent supporter since the day we got married.”

However she was not keen on doing playback because she “felt wouldn’t fit in into that scenario”. In fact she even stopped doing fusion concerts at a time when she found that the concept was “getting diluted”.

In tinsel town

But her playback debut was waiting to happen. She was recuperating after an accident when she got a call from Gopi Sundar’s studio to sing for him in a Telugu film, Bhale Bhale Magadivoy. “His guitarist had suggested my name. The song, Endaro, was based on the famous Tygaraja kriti, Endaro mahanubhavulu. It was a classical fusion number. The film did well at the box office and the song also got noticed,” she says.

However, that didn’t give her more opportunities. “People thought that I will be flooded with songs. Although I sang for another film I don’t know what happened to it.”

Solo happened after she met Sooraj at a studio in Kochi. “We bonded immediately. He had heard my Telugu song. When he told me about Solo, I didn’t imagine that it would be such a prestigious project. That might be because I am not much into what’s happening in movies! When I listened to the track of Seetha Kalyanam, I immediately liked it. I always analyse the technicalities of a song and this composition was unique,” she explains.

She would rather not take the credit for the song’s success. “A song belongs to the composer, the lyricist, the sound engineer, the mixing engineer... and many others. A singer’s contribution is minimal, I think,” she says.

All for music

Moreover, she is not resting on her laurels. Teaching music is a passion and she takes classes through Skype. This Navaratri, she will start classes at her music school, Aatma, in Kakkanad. “Right now I am balancing my job and music. But after a few years, I want to concentrate on music. A doctorate in music is a dream. The goals are all set, but I don’t know whether I am working enough towards it,” says Renuka, who considers Yanni her ultimate inspiration.

Meanwhile, she admits that she would love to sing in more movies. “Cinema has got its charm and I wish I get more opportunities. I don’t know whether that will happen because of my strong Carnatic base. It is easy to get branded. Still I am hopeful because we have a number of unique voices in the industry now. It was not the case some 10 years ago, when you needed to have a ‘high-pitched’ voice. I have already sung a dappankuthu number for an upcoming Tamil film...I felt so happy singing it...,” she signs off.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 4:13:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/renuka-arun-is-on-song-with-her-track-in-solo/article19559956.ece

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