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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Chasing The Music Of Heart
Young musician Rahul Raj has dared to follow his passion, and given us some memorable songs | By Cris Seetha
On Jul 28, 2010

 

Quitting a regular job to pursue your passion is a path many fear to take. At a time when everyone is after an engineering or medical profession, a software professional doing well in his job decided to leave it to chase his passion.

Rahul Raj was working as a network engineer in London when he decided his calling is music.

“I was afraid that if I continued in my job, I wouldn’t be able to change directions later,” says the young musician who has just returned home after receiving the state award for best background score in the Shyamaprasad film ‘Rithu’.

His association with the award-winning movie director began at Amrita TV. “I have done a lot of signature tunes for Amrita. It is in the sets of these programmes that I met Shyamaprasad. He was against my wasting talent on what he felt were some not-so-good-work. But when Rithu happened, he called me and I was happy to be of service. He is like an elder brother to me,” says Rahul.

However, his beginning in Malayalam cinema was with ‘Chotta Mumbai’. “I met director Anwar Rasheed while I was working for some ads. When he decided to take ‘Chotta Mumbai’, he asked me to compose theme music for the story that he told me. After producer Maniyanpilla Raju and actor Mohanlal listened to it, they were happy with it.”

Indeed, the theme song Thalaaa... became quite a hit among the youth.

The journey to music

The journey has not been easy. “I approached many film directors after coming from London. But it took me more than four years to get my first break,” says Rahul. In the meantime, he made his name through a number of commercials, and theme songs in TV channels like Amrita TV, Manorama News, Jaihind TV, etc.

His theme music for Amrita TV Lokasamastha… earned him appreciation from different quarters. One of the people who listened to it started a fans’ association for Rahul Raj and went ahead to register it, making it the first registered fans’ association in Kerala.

Divya still remembers how she contacted Rahul for the first time. “Someone told me that the theme music for Amrita TV was composed by AR Rahman. But later I found out that it was done by Rahul Raj. I contacted him through the social networking site Orkut. After one year, I thought we should have a fans’ association.” And that is how Rahul Raj Fans Association (RRFA) was formed in 2008.

The association does a lot of charity work like distributing books to orphanages and conducting free medical camps. “It is only in its budding stage. It has come up through communities in Orkut and Facebook. They want to encourage me. I am very happy about it and want to offer all my support,” says Rahul.

Home

Rahul's parents have always supported and encouraged his talent. “But they wanted me to take a degree first.” Rahul thus earned his engineering degree from Cochin University of Science And Technology. His only regret is that his father is not alive to see his success. “My dad Thankappan and mom Kunjoonnaama were both lawyers,” adds Rahul, who has a sister Rehna.

Rahul is married to Miriam from Germany. “Yes, obviously a love marriage,” he says. But that is all he would talk about it.
INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Chasing The Music Of Heart
When I first heard, I thought it was “Yenthina.com”

Stands and Standards

Rahul's music has been credited with international standards. “I guess it is because my theme music for Amrita, Lokasamastha…, has a sort of global appeal. It is not Westernised, but they too seem able to connect to it. Listening to it, I got a call from Buffalo University to do convocation music for them.”

But unlike a few other music directors who seem to think lifting a little bit of music from here and there is justifiable, Rahul Raj is against plagiarism. “There could be similarity between some songs of the same raga. Like Ilayaraja often uses Yemen raga for his music. But if a tune is similar, there is no doubt, it is plain plagiarism.”

Rahul Raj has also done a couple of albums – 'En Jeevane' and 'Aril Araal'. In addition, he is also a good singer.

Some quick ones

Favourite Music Directors: RD Burman, Baburaj, Ilayaraja, AR Rahman.

Favourite Singers: Sujatha, Hariharan.

About Trivandrum: Based in Ernakulam, Rahul comes to Trivandrum quite often. “I like the place. I think it has more natural beauty. Also, the terrain-like uphills and downhills make Trivandrum a great place to travel.”

About Yentha.com: When I first heard, I thought it was “Yenthina.com”

cris.seetha@yentha.com

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nice
Divya, on Jul 29, 2010 11:19:53 PM
 
 
OUR GOLDEN COMPOSER NICE INTERVIEW
RRFA, on Jul 29, 2010 11:20:53 PM
 
 
very nice interview...u rock Rahul!!!
Sarada , on Jul 30, 2010 12:51:01 AM
 
 
Thank you Divya, RRFA, Sarada :-)
Cris, on Jul 30, 2010 02:05:14 AM
 
 
5ne interview
Mina, on Jul 30, 2010 01:07:20 PM
 
 
pls Give to us Ritu model another one...........
Skumar, on Jul 31, 2010 07:51:37 AM
 
 
Thank you Mina, SKumar for your comments.
Cris, on Aug 03, 2010 11:08:42 PM
 
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