Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When one maestro sings for another

Music composer Vidyasagar sang a song for Deepak Dev called 'Chengathee' for the film, '101 Weddings'. This is the first time Vidyasagar has sung a Malayalam song

Photo: Deepak Dev (left) with Vidyasagar

By Shevlin Sebastian

A month ago, music composer Deepak Dev had composed a song for the film, '101 Weddings' by Shafi. He pondered over whom to select to sing it. “It is a medium-paced song with a good beat,” he says. And suddenly, he thought, 'Why not Vidyasagarji?'

Deepak had worked with Vidyasagar for 12 years now, and assisted him on the many hits in films like 'Meesa Madhavan', Killichundan Maambazham', 'Pattalam', 'CID Moosa', and Tamil films like 'Chandramukhi' and 'Run'. “When I worked with him, for all the hit songs, he would sing it before the final singer would come on,” says Deepak. “And his version was far superior to the one that actually came out. Simply put, his voice is divine.”

But when Deepak approached Vidyasagar, he started laughing. “Are you crazy?” he said. “I am not a singer. I do not have the guts to sing in my own films, so why would I spoil your song?” But Deepak would not take no for an answer.

Finally, in end August, Vidayasagar came to Deepak's Chennai studio. He was wearing a bright white shirt and blue jeans. He hugged the younger composer and they set to work. Both of them worked together to set the background music. But Deepak, impish and child-like, would frequently disturb Vidyasagar as he played the keyboard, by going to the side and playing notes that would not match the tune. 

“I always had the liberty to fool around with him because there is so much of an age gap between us,” says Deepak. “Vidyasagarji has been like an elder brother to me and would always make me forget that he is a legend. That was why I always felt relaxed in his presence.”

Anyway, the recording began and,  Vidyasagar made an immediate impression. His voice was catchy and hypnotic and drew you in. Watch 'Chengathee' on You Tube. “After he sang it, he felt happy about it,” says Deepak. Then Vidyasagar said, “Why don't you also sing?” And that was how Deepak sang a few lines.

When Deepak sent the song to Shafi and actors, Biju Menon and Kunchacko Boban, who would be enacting the song, they got very excited. Says Shafi: “I have worked with Vidyasagar on two films ['Makeup Man' and a Tamil movie, 'Maaja']. In both these films, when he would read the lyrics, he would play the song on the harmonium. And he had a beautiful voice. So when Deepak told me that Vidyasagar was going to sing 'Chengathee' (friend), I had no worries. In fact, it has turned out to be a wonderful song.”

Actor Kunchacko Boban is also very happy with the song. “It is very catchy and probably the best song in the film. Thanks to Vidyasagar's talent, he has given me many hits over the years. Now, instead of composing the music, he is singing the song. I feel blessed by this.”

Adds Deepak: “Vidyasagarji has made subtle voice changes which enhances the richness of the song.”

So, thanks to Deepak, Vidyasagar has become a big-impact 'Chengathee'.

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram) 

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