Music

Balancing act

Young singer Prachotan Photo:Satyanarayana Gola   | Photo Credit: PHOTO:SATYANARAYANA GOLA(INTERN

In the corridors of an apartment complex in Yellareddyguda, Devulapalli Lakshmi Prachotan is studying while humming a complex raga. He takes a break to watch his favourite television programme and this time, he hums a different raga. As one meets him on a cloudy evening, the teenager is relaxing and talks about balancing Carnatic music with studies.

A display of photographs showing little Prachotan with stalwarts of Carnatic music catches one’s attention in the drawing room. “The cupboard was filled with awards and momentos but for Prachotan’s upanayanam, we had to whitewash the house and remove them,” smiles his mother Sirisha, who is his first guru too. Now, he is under the tutelage of Raghava Chary of Hyderabad Brothers. “My husband was posted in Tamil Nadu and to kill time I would listen to different compositions,” she recalls. “Once the song, Ra ra maa inti daaka was playing in the background and I casually told Prachotan, who was a 1 1/2 year-old-boy that the composition is in Asaveri raga. Next day, when the same song was being played, he identified the raga. He has a flair for identifying ragas.”

The happy mother encouraged her little son and introduced him to Carnatic music. “He started singing when he was three,” shares his mother. While going to school and pursuing his studies, Prachotan charted his course in Carnatic music too winning awards and accolades including the Limca Book of Records in 2003.

He gave around 160 concerts in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra including the December season and different sabhas in Chennai. He is like any other teenager playing and chitchatting with friends. “Some of my friends are not aware that I sing Carnatic music. I don’t like to reveal,” he tells sheepishly.

He practices music religiously and especially before a concert. “I prepare a list and start practicing a month before the rendition. One cannot repeat the kirtanas,” he states. Be it manodharma or Ragam Taanam Pallavi… Prachotan listens to stalwarts, takes feedback and creates his own niche. “When real Carnatic rasikas tell my mistakes, I try to improve. At a concert in Vizag, I sang RTP in Roopaka talam. After the concert, Manda Sudharani gave me a technical advice and I have been following it,” he says. Now with long hours at college, he is not able to do many concerts.

He plans to do IIT while pursuing Carnatic music. Is it not difficult? “There are many Carnatic singers who are also professionals in other fields,” he quips. “My favourite singer is Sanjay Subramanium who is a chartered accountant besides being an accomplished artiste in Carnatic singing. There are instrumental artistes who are IITians too. In fact, they have been my accompanying artistes during my concerts at the December season in Chennai,” he says.

For Rajnikanth’s 60th birthday celebrations at his house, Prachotan sang Chitraratnamaya in raga Kharaharapriya and the English note composed by Muttaih Bhagavatar. In Kamal Haasan’s studios, he has sung Ododi Vanden Kanna in Dharmavati raga and other kirtanas like Omkara kaarini in raga Lavangi and Jagadodharana in Kapi raga.

Prachotan says he is like any other happy-go-lucky guy who is also passionate about cooking and often cooks at home. “When I am in a good mood, I might sing Sankarabharanam or Bilahari,” he says with a smile. And, when he is in a sad mood, “I prefer to sleep.”

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 2:36:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/iit-student-plans-to-pursue-carnatic-music/article6356631.ece

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