Vani Jairam mesmerised students with her timber voice, writes R.Krishnamoorthy.
SHE CAME, she sang, she conquered. Something she has been doing effortlessly for three decades with extra-ordinary versatility. And in 14 languages!
When Vani Jairam came to inaugurate the Video Studio and the Photo Laboratory at the Holy Cross College in Tiruchi recently, little did she realise that after her formal address she would also turn into a role model for the huge student audience.
There she was, standing in front of hundreds of students and mesmerising them with her sweet voice. Her multi-faceted skills the painter, the poet and orator in her all emerged during the course of the speech. And the audience remained even more captivated.
A thunderous applause greeted her when she recited the poem `Thookam' (sleep) with philosophical overtones. The poem beautifully underlined how sleep is a great equaliser - between the rich and poor, young and old, meek and mighty etc.
Response to the few songs she rendered on the occasion was much on the expected lines.
Vani weaved sheer magic with Vasanth Desai's `Guddi' just like yesteryears and spontaneously broke into "Bol Re Papi Hara' that won her five Awards including the prestigious `Tansen' Award. This was followed by a few `evergreen' Tamil songs,
starting with `Malligai En Mannan Mayangum'.
What was most striking during the function, was Vani's humility and down-to-earth countenance.
She struck an instant rapport with all her avid listeners and admirers. She commanded attention every moment with her `mellifluous presence' and at the same time appeared keen about removing a few misconceptions.
A learner always
The notion that a singer's career entirely depends on filmy music is something that Vani does not buy. "I am now busier than what I used to be with a plethora of Carnatic and devotional concerts." She is modest about her mastery over several languages. " I am not an achiever. But always a learner", she told her audience most humbly.
She narrated to them how she utilised the time during an interaction with a Lebanese student at Coimbatore recently learning the nuances of Arabic and recording a song too within a couple of hours! "There is no substitute for hard work and humility that will take you far," she emphasised, recalling her association with stalwarts such as Nagi Reddy, L.V. Prasad, Ashok Kumar, Kannadasan and M.S. Viswanathan with nostalgia.
"Your life is short. Pack it with as much activities as possible."
She exhorted the young audience, which waited to lap up every word she uttered. And thoroughly they did, when she added how much she loved doing the household chores herself. A "jet age" this may be. But music should not become "instant".
It should remain unblemished," she asserted, revealing her scepticism about technology enhancing the quality of music.
Finally Vani parted ways with a humble request to the upcoming generation of singers: "Know and understand the language of music to make `bhava' flow."
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