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|April 14, 2001||
The Nightingale to sing in Kannada!
Parva is directed by Sunil Kumar Desai, the man who has come to be known as an offbeat and sensitive filmmaker.
Sarekoppa Bangarappa, whose passion for music of all kinds is almost legendary, is rumoured to have persuaded Lata to accept this offer.
Bangarappa, Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka, is a quadsi professional singer himself. He has even sung for a couple of music albums. In fact, he bursts into song, if the occasion calls for it, when he is on a public platform.
The Nero-like image of Bangarappa attending a Sawai Gandharva music festival in North Karnataka when Bangalore was being rocked by linguistic riots, following an agitation over Cauvery water almost a decade ago, is still fresh in public memory.
Apparently, it was the chief minister's deep devotion to music, and his support of the Sawai Gandharva music college of North Karnataka, that moved Lata to allow herself to be persuaded to sing for Parva.
Desai's previous Kannada film, Sparsha, released last July, was a musical of sorts, featuring songs by Pankaj Udhas, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan and others. Sparsha was actually the launch pad for businessman and film producer Sarovar Sreenivas's son to enter Kannada cinema. The film, which had a fairly banal plot and wooden acting, struck some chords among discerning viewers who were tired of the usual dishum dishum Kannada fare.
Akash Audio, the recording company that produced the Sparsha album, was so happy with the album's commercial success that they probably persuaded Desai to attempt another film with special music.
Not just for the love of music
The audio company that purchased the rights for this film is none other than his son Madhuchandra’s Akash Audio of Bangalore. According to sources, Madhu has bought the audio rights for Sunil Kumar Desai's Parva, and with music created by Hamsalekha, for a whopping Rs 45 lakhs.
This new trend of audio companies buying the music album rights of new films even before they begin shooting is emerging in the Kannada film industry. Recently, a record was created when HMV bought the audio rights of Jayashree Devi’s trilingual film Sri Manjunatha for Rs 13 million.
HMV has also bought the cassette rights of Rockline Venkatesh’s newly released Ravichandran starrer Usire and three more of Rockline’s forthcoming films for a reported sum of Rs 10 million.
Akash Audio is also known to have bought the cassette selling rights of Dhanraj’s new bilingual film, starring Prabhudeva and Upendra, which is yet to be named, for Rs 5 million.
The first audio cassette to have bought music rights for what was a large sum in those days was Lahiri, which purchased the music rights for Ravichandran’s debut, the blockbuster musical Premaloka.
Almost two decades ago, this made history when Lahiri paid Rs 1,50,000 for the music rights of this film, when the going rate was less than Rs 20,000 per film!
HMV has now returned to Kannada cinema after staying away for almost six years. Tips of Bombay has also come into the fray now, bringing a new competitive spirit into the otherwise fairly placid music companies catering to the Kannada film industry.
But the company who really made a killing recently is reportedly the new Anand Audio, which began by selling the cassettes of the multi-starrer Habba. They were smart enough to pick up the music rights of the successful Vishnuvardhan starrer Yajamana last year, and is said to have made at least ten million on it.
Say no to drunks!
Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna recently found himself in the eye of a storm when he said that he would make 4 per cent alcohol freely available to young people so that they would not ruin their health with illicit hooch.
However, his progressive mindset, if one can call it that, certainly does not seem to have permeated the censor board of Karnataka. They recently asked film producer H D Kumaraswamy, son of ex-Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, to remove an entire song sequence from his ready-for-release film Jeethendra, because it showed the hero drunk and singing.
The entire Kannada film industry is up in arms over this decision.
Drunken songs have been very much a part of Kannada cinema, as they have been a part of Hindi and other language films. Even Kavitha Lankesh’s critically acclaimed film Deviri, which won the State award for best film this year, has a song featuring a drunkard and a young boy.
Even thespian and Kannada film icon Rajakumar’s son Raghavendra’s debut Nanjundi Kalyana had a song in which the heroine Malashree is drunk and cavorting around trees. The song Olage Seridare Gundu, Hudugi Aagavalu Gandu (when alcohol goes in, even a girl becomes a man) shot playback singer Manjula Gururaj into instant fame, and also made Malashree the most sought after heroine in the Kannada filmdom.
So that has Kumaraswamy wondering why the censor board has suddenly turned so moralistic about booze, and the film critics debating the issue at cocktail parties in Bangalore.
-- M D Riti
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