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On the right track

A tete-a-tete with Prathapchandran, one of the promising playback singers in Malayalam.

WHAT'S IN a name? There is a lot to it and more.

And one person who will vouch for this is the young, promising singer, Prathapchandran.

His name has caused a lot of heartburn, and a wee bit of controversy as well.

One can imagine the disappointment of a singer when his hit song is wrongly attributed to another singer.

`Meesa Madhavan' has set a record of sorts. The songs in this film and their picturisation have contributed a great deal to its success. Perhaps the most popular of the five songs in the film is Karimizhikuruviye kandilla... , sung by Sujatha and Prathap (that is how the name goes in the film credits and in the audio album). Many mistook his voice to be Vidhu Prathap's.

"I was shocked when I came to know of this. It was surprising that some of the leading newspapers and magazines that carried reviews of the songs attributed my song to Vidhu. I got a lot of calls from my friends and well-wishers regarding this. 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 wait for this singer, who hails from Vaikom. The man who gave him the big break was Vidyasagar. "It was Dasettan (K. J. Jesudas) who introduced me to Vidyasagar. And I got a chance to sing in the film `Pranayavarnangal," says Prathap. In between Prathap rendered a duet Thingalkuri thodum... with K. S. Chitra, in the film, `Oru Maravathur Kanavu', which went unnoticed.

Then for almost one whole year Prathap was jobless. 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. He wanted me to sing the track for the film `Daivathinte Makan', directed by Vinayan. Since then I have been regularly singing for Vidyasagar," says Prathap.

Enthoru mahanubavulu... (`Devadoothan'), which he sang along with his brother T. V. Jayachandran, and the song, Amma nakshatrame... (`Randaam Bhavaam') made people sit up and take notice.

"This song was my first solo. In fact, it is there only in the film. The scenes serve 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," says Prathap.

Strangely, even before `Meesa Madhavan' happened, Prathap was quite a rage in Andhra Pradesh.

The film `Aandam,' a Ramoji Rao production, completed 200 days in the main centres. Prathap's soulful solo in this film was a big hit.

"There was this 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 I have got a chance to sing," says Prathap, who had 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 `Kaatuchembakam,' `Sadanandande Samayam' by Akbar Jose and Lohitadas' `Kasturimaan'.

"I have also sung a Tamil song in a Sri Lankan movie, `In The Name Of Buddha', which, I believe, is slated for a world premiere 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 such as G. Devarajan, V. Dakshinamoorthy, Ilayaraja, A. T. Ummer, Shyam, Ravindran, Jonson, Vidyasagar and Rajamani.

K. PRADEEP

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