Cinema

Tunes from the third generation

sounds interesting: Karthikeya Murthy

sounds interesting: Karthikeya Murthy  

Karthikeya Murthy makes his debut with Moone Moonu Varthai. nikhil raghavan in a chat with the music director

It is often said that a successful musician has music in his genes. For Karthikeya Murthy, it was two generations of musical talent — mridangam maestro T. K. Murthy as grandfather and film music composer T. K. Jayaraman as father — that made him bid goodbye to his CA dreams and opt for a career in music.

“While in Standard Ten, my friend Vijay and I formed a band called Pro-Teens and during the following years, we took part and won several inter-school competitions. This prompted us to enter the A. R. Rahman-judged Ooh La La La talent show on TV; we were one of the six finalists who were all selected as winners because Rahman felt each of us excelled in a particular genre. By then, another friend, Hari, had joined us as a drummer. Currently, the three of us form the core set of musicians on all our projects,” says Karthikeya.

Wise advice

“Working with veteran K. Balachander was another experience I can never forget. I was co-composer for his last project Oru Koodai Pasam along with my good friend Giridharan who introduced me to the director. There was one scene for which we had worked on a track for three days. However, KB said, ‘All this is fine, but I want a simple rhythm-based track’. Though I felt a little disappointed at that point, when I saw the play later I understood why he rejected our original composition. This was probably the biggest learning experience on score writing for me,” says Karthikeya.

On another occasion, for the city-based School of Audio Engineering, Karthikeya composed a song and was insistent that S. P. Charan sing it. “It was difficult as Charan was travelling and was busy with his commitments. I waited patiently, which finally led to Charan agreeing to sing ‘Thoongadi Kanney’, a single. That led to my eventual signing of Moone Moonu Varthai,” says Karthikeya.

The SPB magic

Director Madhumita’s third film, Moone Moonu Varthai (produced by Charan) has, besides Arjun Chidambaram, Aditi Chengappa and Venkatesh Harinathan, veterans K. Bhagyaraj and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam essaying important roles. “In fact, there is an emotional sequence with SPB. I suggested a song, incorporating dialogues into the lyrics and wanted SPB himself to sing it. Though hesitant at first, he agreed; this not only gave me the jitters but also presented me with the unexpected opportunity of having one of my idols sing for me!” exclaims Karthikeya.

Live sounds

Karthikeya loves to use live musicians for most of his work. Having learnt to play western music on the piano and Carnatic music from stalwarts such as Chengalpattu Ranganathan and DKJ Sukanya, Karthikeya is able to create rich sounds for his compositions. He also thinks highly about his associations with programmer and sound engineer Vijay and drummer Hari. The five songs in MMV have used varied instruments such as banjo, thavil, ghatam, trumpet, acoustic guitar, ukulele, flute, piano, violin, cello, kanjira, nadaswaram and trombone. “Currently, I am recording the background score and while using live musicians is a challenge, the final outcome is rich. Fortunately, both producer Charan and director Madhumita understand the need for acoustically rich sound in the songs as well as the BGM,” concludes Karthikeya.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:27:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/tunes-from-the-third-generation/article6818545.ece

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