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Usha Uthup reunites with Karadi Tales
Shobha Warrier | July 28, 2003 13:32 IST
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"We need to have more Indian and relevant stories and rhymes for our children," says Uthup. "I loved the lyrics penned by Shobha especially My name is Madhavi, I am from Alleppey, I speak Malayalam but I am just like you. It is wonderful because children will know about the various names and regions in India. And, of course, the last line is most important. It drives home the fact that though we are different, have different names and languages, still I am just like you. It is a very, very positive step. Being a compulsive optimist myself, it was a great feeling."
It was a big challenge for Three Brothers and a Violin to come up with tunes that were simple, but yet had the ability to engage the child's interest. "It was more difficult than the normal song composition approach. We have to look at the many layers of Twinkle twinkle little star and come up with something sophisticated but very simple and very Indian. It was exciting as well as daunting. It was a fairly elaborate learning experience for us," claims Viswanath of Three Brothers and a Violin. They composed music recently for Soumitra Ranade's Jajantaram Mamantaram.
A sample of their tunes was tested on more than 150 youngsters to find out how they responded to the tunes. It took three years of groundwork and two years of composing for the Karadi group to finally produce the Karadi Rhymes.
"We can be called successful only if the rhymes are sung in classrooms five years from now. Otherwise, it is just another set of songs that we have composed. We have found the minds of children quite fertile but resistance comes from teachers and adults," Viswanath said.
The first title of Karadi Tales was launched in 1996 featuring Naseeruddin Shah as the Karadi (bear), and there has been no looking back thereafter. Fourteen titles have been produced in the last seven years featuring some of the best voices in India -- Girish Karnad, Nandita Das, Manna Dey, Udit Narayan, Shankar Mahadevan, S P Balasubramaniam and Usha Uthup. Other than the English titles, the Karadi team has released two Karadi Katha in Hindi, written and narrated by Gulzar and two in Tamil, narrated by Tamil actor-director Nasser.