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A classicist departs

A legend of Indian music is no more. Palghat K V Narayanaswamy died in Chennai on April 1.

With him passes a magical style of Karnatak music. He brought together a lyrical lightness (his neraval singing which was sheer poetry of syllables and music) and strong musical thematics; his alapanas were never overworked, and came alive with definitive imagery and style.

KVN was one of the foremost disciples of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. His earlier training was with his grandfather Narayana Bhagavathar and his father Viswanatha Bhagavathar. He lived with his guru but ran away to Wardha for a short while, hoping to find a place in Gandhiji's ashram. He returned after a few months, and pursued a very dedicated career in music. KVN was a classicist of the highest order, and found the idea of singing for applause a negation of high musical values.

KVN's concerts were neat, full of intense as well as relaxing moments, and left the audience with a wholesome feeling. His ease while working on the kannakku or mathematical aspect of music, and his fluency with ragas left no doubt about his mastery over the form.

One waited eagerly for his renderings of familiar Thyagaraja kritis like Mokshamugalada (Saramati), Ra ra ma inti daaka raama (Asaveri)or Pakkala Nilabadi (Karaharapriya) for he treated them tenderly and engagingly. It is indeed with great regret that we bid KVN adieu. -- SSL

Visit KVN site created by a disciple

Obit: Anand Bakshi

Anand Bakshi, writer of over 5,000 Vividh Bharati favourites, died in Mumbai on April 1. He was 74.

When Anand Bakshi came into the film industry, he had to contend with the formidable literary trio of Kaifi Azmi, Hasrat Jaipuri and Sahir Ludhianvi. He initially wanted to be a screenplay writer, but when his efforts failed, returned to an army job.

In his second stint, he succeeded as a writer of songs. His songs for Amar Prem, with music by R D Burman, remain well-remembered and hummed. Chingari koi bhadke was perhaps one of his best songs, as it was Pancham's.

In 1971, when Dev Anand made Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Anand Bakshi wrote numbers that were to become huge hits. Dum maro dum became the easiest way to describe the flower power years in India.

Anand Bakshi continued to write till recently, and his more recent competitors were Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and Sameer. His Sun sanana was one of the highlights of Shak Rukh Khan's recent film Asoka. He had also written songs for Mohabbatein and Yaadein.

In his last days, Anand Bakshi was reportedly disgusted with the film industry for its "heartlessness". Not many had visited him during his illness, and he was very upset about it. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.

CD prices crash

Leading music labels in India have slashed the prices of their CDs.

Titles of recent films are being offered at Rs 90 each. CDs were earlier priced much higher, up to Rs 299. One label is offering its titles at less than Rs 60. Among the labels to have cut prices are heavyweights HMV, Sony, Tips and Venus.

The prices of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Fiza, Dil Se, Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, and hundreds of other titles have come down.

Ravichandran remaking his opus

V Ravichandran released his long-awaited and lavish Kannada film Ekangi last Friday, but the poor audience has prompted him to do something unheard of: he is reshooting a huge chunk of the film and releasing it again this Friday. Most of his films have zany song sequences, and his most popular film Premaloka was inspired by Grease.

News reports say he has brought his cast together again and is reshooting many scenes on the Rs 80 lakh house set that he had created for the film.

Ravichandran's opulent posters, featuring himself and actress Ramya Krishna, were all over Karnataka for the last two months. Unwilling to accept audience rejection, he is attempting to salvage his production by introducing new twists in the tale.

Ekangi faced competition from the Upendra-Prabhudeva starrer H20, which incidentally is doing brisk business.

That film, directed by Upendra, pits him against Prabhudeva. Kannada activists have been protesting against Upendra's film featuring long passages of Tamil, and some dialogues that they feel are against Kannada. The two heroes vie for the same girl, and the film brings in overtones of the Cauvery dispute.

Published on 2 April 2002

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