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Prathapchandran on a dream run

Prathapchandran is one of the promising voices among the newest breed of singers. He has already had hits in many South Indian languages. He is willing to wait for the right song, he tells K. PRADEEP in a tete-a-tete.

WHAT'S IN a name? There is a lot to it and more. And one person who will vouch for this is young, promising singer Prathapchandran. His name has caused a lot of heartburn and a wee bit of controversy too.

These days, with most of the Malayalam films bombing at the box office, songs are at a premium. From the handful of songs, very few are remembered, or to put it straight, turn into super hits. So, for the young singers, this sure is turning into a killing field, where every move counts. And one can imagine the disappointment of a singer when a hit song is wrongly attributed to another.

`Meesa Madhavan' has set a record of sorts. The songs in this film and its picturisation have contributed a great deal to its success. Perhaps the most popular of the five songs in the film is the one beginning `Karimizhikuruviye kandilla... ,' sung by Sujatha and Prathap, that is how the name goes in the film credits and in the audio album. So it was not surprising that many identified this voice with Vidhu Prathap.

"I was shocked when I came to know of this. It was surprising that some of the leading newspapers and magazines carried reviews of the songs attributing the one I sang to Vidhu. I got a lot of calls from my friends and well-wishers regarding this mistaken identity. As advised by many, I held a press meet in Chennai and this helped to clear the air a bit. It was a terrible experience," recalls Prathap.

This was the end of a long, long wait for this singer, who hails from Vaikom. And the man who gave him this big break was Vidyasagar, the composer who also gave Prathap the first break. "It was Dasettan (K.J.Jesudas) who introduced me to Vidyasagar Sir. And I got a chance to sing in the film `Pranayavarnangal.' It was a group song with three other male singers, Padmakumar, Sreenivasan and Hareesh Raghavendra. Though it was not the best of the songs in that film, it was definitely heard," said Prathap. In between Prathap had rendered a duet `Thingalkuri thodum... ' with K.S. Chitra, in the film `Oru Maravathur Kanavu' which went unnoticed.

Then for almost a whole year Prathap was in the wilderness. For someone who had decided on a career in films immediately after his graduation this was a long wait. "I got a call from Vidyasagar who asked me where I had been all this time for he had made enquiries about me. He wanted me to sing the track for the film `Daivathinte Makan.' Since then I have sung all the tracks for Vidyasagar. And I was fortunate to have a couple of songs recorded in my name too," said Prathap.

The male portion in the song `Enthoru mahanubavulu... ' (Devadoothan), which he sang along with his brother T.V.Jayachandran and the song `Amma nakshatrame... ' (Randaam Bhavaam) made people take notice of this singer.

"The song in the film `Randaam Bhavaam' was my first solo. In fact, this song is there only in the film. The scene serves as a clue to the suspense in the film and hence was never aired on television. In the audio cassette of the film Dasettan sings this song," explained Prathap.

Strangely, even before the `Meesa Madhavan recognition,' Prathap was quite a rage in Andhra. His debut in Telugu turned out to be a golden one. The film `Aandam,' a Ramoji Rao production, completed 200 days in the main centres where it was released. Prathap's soulful solo in this film was also a big hit. "There was this glittering function to celebrate the 200th day of the film. I was also invited. It was the first ever recognition. This film is being remade in Tamil `Inithu inithu kadhal inithu' in which also I have got a chance to sing," said Prathap, who had earlier sung in two other Tamil films, which had Mani Sharma and Ilayaraja as music directors.

Among the forthcoming Malayalam films in which Prathap will be heard are Vinayan's `Kaatu Chembakam,' `Sadanandande Samayam' by Akbar Jose and in Lohitadas' new film `Kasturimaan,' in which the songs are being written and composed by Kaithapram-Ousepachan. "I have also sung a Tamil song in a Sri Lankan movie `In The Name Of Buddha,' which I believe, is slated for a premiere in one of the film festivals soon," Prathap informed.

This youngster is on a dream run. He has been fortunate enough to have sung under the baton of renowned music directors like G.Devarajan, V. Dakshinamoorthy, Ilayaraja, A.T.Ummer, Shyam, Ravindran, Jonson, Vidyasagar, Rajamani etc in three South Indian languages. Prathap is one of those young singers who is willing to wait for the right song, which he firmly believes will come to him.

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