Catchy amalgam of styles



He gave up engineering for music. Meet Malayalam composer M. Jayachandran

His raison d'etre is music. Drawn by its irresistible pull, he chose to give up his job as an engineer and instead, travel the arduous road to the realisation of a long-nurtured dream of becoming a composer. Today, with a clutch of awards and basking in the glow of recognition, Malayalam cinema's noted music director M. Jayachandran is a happy man. "It has been a rewarding journey," he says.In Chennai for a fund-raiser to facilitate free paediatric heart surgeries, he is all praise for the generous response. "We collected a sizeable amount. The audience turnout and enthusiasm level was amazing." As was the 14-lakh-strong international fraternity in attendance at the mammoth silver jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living Foundation held recently at Bangalore. "An unforgettable experience where I conducted an orchestra of 4,000 Carnatic musicians, which included several eminent artistes I revere. It was an honour to be selected." Not all that surprising though, given his solid grounding in the classical idiom. "I gave my first vocal recital at the age of 9. My father has always had an abiding passion for Carnatic music, travelling distances just to listen to kutcheris of classical greats, taking me along. This treasure trove of listening experience made for the best lessons I learnt and still draw upon."His early association with composer M. B. Srinivasan opened up new vistas. "He introduced me to Western classical music. For me, it was a voyage of discovery that broadened my horizons, yet brought me closer to my cultural ethos." Hindustani music was another addiction. "A confluence of these diverse influences as well as my stint as an apprentice to music director G. Devarajan was later of invaluable help."His songs are a catchy amalgam of free-flowing melody with undertones of nostalgia and interludes of harmony, representative of his sources of inspiration, ranging from Balamuralikrishna and Rashid Khan to Mozart and Beethoven. He adds, "Inspiration may stem from a single phrase lodged in memory, a snatch of suggestion borne by the breeze; the only pre-requisite is a receptive mind."Currently working on the Mohanlal-starrer Mahasamudram, he muses, "The song of the sea - kadalinte sangeetham - has always held a powerful attraction for composers. This is my opportunity to capture the essence of a landscape that is so much part of Kerala - the swell of the waves, the soughing of the coconut palms. I find it challenging and fulfilling."

Several awards

In the awards department, he has scored a hat trick of sorts. In 2003 and 2004, he received the Kerala State Award for Best Music Director and for Best Male Singer in 2005. Singer? He looks suitably modest. "I had sung the track for my composition in Nottam. But the director liked it so much that he retained it for good."His family, keenly involved in his craft, is his support system and sounding board. He says with a mischievous twinkle, "My father is still a staunch classical purist!" Professional commitments leave little time to pursue hobbies, but, "I love catching up on my sleep and watching cricket," he confesses. To chill out, he heads for the soft sands and spectacular sunsets of Kumarakom. "I also enjoy visiting my brother at Kuala Lumpur. He is a globe-trotter and makes it a point to pick up CDs of various genres to spice up my music collection." KLT

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