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Malayalam ghazals

Viswajith is on a mission to popularise ghazals in Kerala.


C. T. Viswajith always tries to build a rapport with his audience through his renditions of ghazals.

Viswajith has been marshalling his efforts towards popularising ghazals in Kerala. He renders Malayalam songs in the ghazal style.

When this 26-year-old youngster sings Ghulam Ali's famous ghazal, Chupke Chupke... , one is reminded of another noted singer.

Does he not sound a little like Hariharan?

"People do say that my voice bears some resemblance to that of Hariharan. I am yet to reach the heights. I am a great fan of Hariharan's and whenever I have time on my hands, I listen to his renditions."

Viswajith is passionate about ghazals and it was this passion that prompted him to experiment with ghazal gayaki. He has been under the tutelage of the Hindustani vocalist, Ramesh Narayan (a disciple of Pandit Jasraj) for two years now.

The creative efforts of Viswajith and Sindhu Sarange, a few years ago, resulted in an album titled, `En Shwasame'. The album has eight songs of which four were visualised. One of the songs, aired on a private television channel, went on to become a hit.

On whether he had expected the album to achieve the kind of success it did, Viswajith says, "Nobody has a winning formula. There is always a different perspective on what people want. Songs with melody have always had their share of loyalists."

About the song Lajjavathiye... that had become a rage in the State recently, the up-and-coming singer says, "The music industry is more youth-oriented, today. There is a lot of energy and only peppy and rhythmic music sells these days. Karupinazhagu... (`Swapnakoodu') and Lajjavathiye... (`4 The People') are fast-paced tracks and are more to the liking of today's youth."

Viswajith also holds ghazal concerts in various parts of the State. Often, he sings compositions by the veteran composer, Baburaj. "It goes down well with the audience. When I sing Pranasakhi... , the audience clamour for more," says Viswajith.

But life has not been easy for this singer, who has learnt Carnatic music under Perumbavoor G. Ravindranath and later under H. Hariharan for four years.

Viswajith was unable to continue his lessons and began scouting around for a job. He joined a ganamela troupe, but soon quit it. He then started his own troupe, `Bhairavi Sangeetham'.

About the trends in the music industry, Viswajith says, "People are reluctant to accept change. They prefer listening to something that they are very familiar with. This makes it difficult for singers like me to create a space for ourselves."

It was while working on a tele-film that the producer, K. S. Balachandran, offered Viswajith a new assignment. "The album, `Arikkil', has lyrics penned by the poet and lyricist, O. N. V. Kurup. The album will be released shortly," says Viswajith.

The music has been set to tune in the ghazal format with some soulful rendition by Srinivas and Sujatha. Viswajith has composed music for 17 serials and tele-films.

His forthcoming project is the film, `Mizhavu'. "The music is not the foot-tapping kind. The accent is on melody. I make it a point to listen to as many ghazals as possible to learn more about them. I incorporate it into the music that I compose," he says.

Viswajith dreams of becoming a playback singer someday. "I have sung many a track for film songs but am yet to get a chance to sing one. A music director recently told me that if I paid the producer I would be given a chance to sing in the film. Neither do I come from an affluent family nor do I have a godfather in the industry," Viswajith says wistfully.

SMITHA SADANANDAN

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