This has been an arduous and a fascinating journey. The artistic sensibilities and the creative cravings have finally found a tangible expression. It has been a wonderful experience from concept to completion. Each obstacle gave way to a better opportunity. The long learning curve was indeed enriching and satisfying despite all the hardships.
It was unflinching belief that drove the project ahead; a belief in the originality of the compositions when you base your melodies on Indian raga-s; a belief in the inherent quality that results when you have a meaningful lyric written after a script; a belief in the individuality when you have a concept developed into a specific theme (chahat); and a belief that this quality will blossom when you are not enslaved to the so-called trend. It took a lot of brainstorming, and drawing from others’ expertise and experience; a lot of care, attention to detail and planning to conceptualize and complete this album. This is surely an original and an authentic music album. I believe that good music will find her lovers.
Based on the concept of chahat – desire, different storylines were written and given to the lyricists. The search for capable lyricists was long drawn. They were asked to pen appropriate lyrics with several structural and contextual restrictions. Some of them failed to live up to the exacting requirements. Suggestion to pick and choose from the existing lyrics was rejected. Fresh and specific lyrics were demanded. Finally, Asthana Saher, Atyab Aijaz, Narendra Rai, Rashid Azar and Saquib Banarasi wrote aesthetically appealing and poetically rich lyrics in an easy-to-understand language. All these poets are well known in “mushaira” (poetry) circles and proudly represent Hyderabad.
After a futile search for a music director, realization dawned on me that in order to express my own inner musical musings, it is better for me to do it myself. Well known music director, M M Kreem reinforced this belief and advised me accordingly. Being a musician myself, I based my compositions on lilting Hindustani raga-s to create melodies. For this genre of music, you can take liberties with raga-s, as was done by the yesteryear music directors. Therefore, it is more apt to refer to them as scales rather than raga-s. The scales used in order are: Gorakh Kalyan, Bihag, Misr Bilaval, Kedar, Bhairavi, Pahadi and Yaman. The last track is a repeat in Gorakh Kalyan, played beautifully on flute by Ronu Majumdar. The heart therefore is Indian, but no raga restrictions were placed on the music arrangement, done so elegantly by Atul Raninga.
Once the compositions were done, the search for a good music arranger was on. Because this is a melody based Hindi music album, it was necessary to ensure correct and native flavor. The search for an appropriate music arranger led me to Suresh Wadkar. He suggested Hitesh Sonik, a nephew of Sonik, who was the music arranger for the inimitable Madan Mohan. But owing to his busy schedule, he in turn led me to Atul Raninga. As I said above, every obstacle yielded a new opportunity and in retrospect, Atul was surely the most suitable music arranger for this type of music. The music arrangement was deliberately done without any raga restrictions. The music arrangement is in sync with the mood of the songs, maintaining melody and yet giving them a contemporary feel. Atul’s expertise and experience, in addition to his sincerity and dedication, have paved way for some memorable musical interludes, played so well by the senior Mumbai cine musicians. If you listen to this album closely, you can hear several interesting musical ideas and difficult musical passages.
Despite my limited resources, I ventured to employ all live musical instruments, including live strings. The live instruments were chosen carefully for each song (Please see the Credits). All these solo artistes have more than 20 some years’ experience in this industry and are considered top grade. A special mention must be made of the Bombay strings (24-piece) which added so much richness to the two songs (track nos 2 and 6).
This is my tribute to the Hindi movie songs of the golden era that continue to enchant us.
Live recording was done at Ajivasan studio of Suresh Wadkar in Santacruz by the experienced Pramod Ghaisas. The month long recording was like an extended festival of melodies. Senior artistes like Sadhana Sargam and Ronu Majumdar generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm during recording and added such beautiful colours to the album. The last track is an instrumental track played so elegantly by Ronu Majumdar.
Aslam Khan, another well-known Mumbai recording engineer, dubbed my voice and the Santoor tracks, played so fluently by Ulhas Bapat. Aslam also did the mixing of the songs. And finally, Pramod Chandorkar did an excellent job of mastering the album. He also mixed tracks 2 and 5. He is another big name in the Mumbai recording industry; he has done recording, mixing and mastering for many big banner Bollywood movies.
Then the video
The song selected for the video was track number 6 – Zindagi Mein Bahar Tumse Hai, a duet sung by Sadhana Sargam and Madhumohan. This was another interesting journey… after searching and deliberating, the music video project was finally handed to Firefly in Hyderabad (www.firefly.in). The journey started with V S Ravi Shankar (www.ravishankardesign.in), a designer and an artiste and a national award winner in 2007. Along with him, Phani Eggone, P C Sanath, Junaid Ullah, Ruchi Agarwal, Naina Brahma, Nruhari Mothadaka and Lakshman Rao formed the core video team. While the concept and storyboard were developed by me and Ravi Shankar, Phani executed the screenplay and direction meticulously. And, Sanath captured all the details on the HVX 200 high definition digital camera patiently and effectively. Ravi, Ruchi, Naina and Mythili worked untiringly overnights for the set props done up very aesthetically. Nruhari and Lakshman Rao helped Junaid in the production work and they made sure that the entire production flow was flawless, by working round the clock. The entire team was fired up and with adrenalin in full flow, forgot to sleep for three consecutive days and nights. The shoot was like a festival, which nobody wanted to end. Mrs. Lalitha and Col. S V S Sathyamurthy were graceful in letting us shoot in their house and extended their full support. They participated in our fervor and were excited like everyone else around. Earlier, the Muhurat shot was completed at Amal Reddy’s house. Smt. K. Savithri Devi gave the muhurat clap and Niharika switched on the camera. With the participation of several friends and well wishers, the video project started rolling and kept rolling smoothly. The cast included Nushrat Bharucha and Vijay Verma as the girl and boy in the music video. V. Sundari was the Daadi Maa and Shiva, the recording engineer. And of course the singers Sadhana Sargam and Madhumohan are also seen singing. Vijay Verma was cast by Sutradhar (www.sutradharactors.com) a professional acting school and casting agency in Hyderabad. Please also see Credits
I thank all those wonderful people who have helped me immensely without anticipating anything in return. I greatly appreciate their support.
Consultation and Special Thanks
Pt. Jangaiah, Devi Ramanamurthy, Dr. Y. Krishna Kumari, Prof. Lakshmi Reddy, Dr. Basharat Ali, ‘Gazal’ Vitthal Rao, M M Kreem, Hitesh Sonik, Madhavapeddi Suresh, Suresh Wadkar, Mahesh Babu, K R Sampath, Paul Sudhakar, K Narasimha Rao, Swathi Srikrishna, Nruhari Mothadaka, S Lakshman Rao, Aditya Jayarao, Kedar Kulkarni, M Amarender Reddy, B Amal Reddy, S Supriya, Venkat Rolla, K Sabesan, Venkatesh Patwari, G Radhakrishna, Md. Faheem-ul-haq, Viswanathan, Vijaykar Joseph, Arvind Chenji, Venkateswar Rao, F M Saleem, VAK Ranga Rao, Kali Kondury, Radha & Gopi, B K Agarwal, Subu Palamadai, D Mallikarjun Rao, Kanth, D Divakar, S Pavan, M Sodekar, Archana Balasubramanian, V S Ravi Shankar, Phani Eggone, P C Sanath, H N Nagesh, Junaid Ullah, Vinay Varma, Ruchi Agarwal, Naina Brahma, S Mythili, V Pavithra, Lalitha and Col. S V S Sathyamurty, V Sundari, Y Niharika, Md. Feroze, Nushrat Bharucha, Vijay Verma, G. Mallikarjun, Sidhu Rayanapaty and many more…
Extra special thanks are due to Aruna, Shiv and Shekar Raghavan for their hospitality and support during my Mumbai stay with them. And without my mother’s blessings, this album would not have materialized. I dedicate this music album to my mother, Smt. Komaragiri Savithri Devi.
I, Me, Myself
Chahat – Desire, has taken me through an exciting journey in life – a Masters degree [M Eng] in Electrical Engineering from Concordia University, Montreal; a brief teaching stint at the University of Guyana; gaining credentials as Senior Design Engineer at Ontario Power Generation / Bruce nuclear power plant; becoming a licensed Professional Engineer [P Eng] in Ontario, Canada, and much more… Chahat has also taken me on another appealing parallel journey of musical indulgence – learning and training in both forms of Indian classical music; picking up a Diploma and a gold medal in MA [Music]; being awarded PhD in musicology from Madras University for my fundamental research on Pitch Analysis; and above all, satiating my artistic thirst with my Carnatic vocal concerts; and now this music album, reflecting my creative sensibilities…