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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: The Voice Of Youth
Cris Seetha traces out Krishnachandran, the actor, singer and dubbing artist who has given voice to a clutch of romantic heroes
On Jul 11, 2010

 

He was the voice of love-struck youth. He was the voice of angry young man. He was the voice of rebelling youth.

He was the voice of a generation way back in the '80s.

If you are an ardent follower of Malayalam movies in those years, you would have heard him in many moods. He spoke on screen for popular young actors of the time, like Rahman and Vineeth.

Yes, you got it. It is Krishnachandran.              
 
Little Krishnachandran had no idea that when he gave his address to Padmarajan during a radio talk show, it will open a path to the world of cinema. “I was in ninth standard at the time. Four of us (in the field of art, from Kerala) were selected to be sent to an Indian camp for art in New Delhi. When we came back, we attended a talk show by Padmarajan called 'Radio Ammavan'. At the end of the show, he asked for my address. I had no clue what it was for until three years later when he contacted me,” says Krishnachandran, sitting in his office in Amrita TV, Trivandrum, where he works as an Executive Producer.
 
Thus happened 'Rathinirvetham', Krishnachandran's entry into Malayalam cinema as an actor. “I'd prefer singing to acting any day. I am basically a singer. But, when great men like Padmarajan and Bharathan call you for a movie, there are no second thoughts.” In the movie, directed by Bharathan, he plays a young boy who has a crush for an older woman, played by Jaya Bharathi. The story was Padmarajan's.
 
From then on, Krishnachandran travelled through different territories, as an actor, a singer and a dubbing artist. “Becoming a dubbing artist is not something I planned. When IV Sasi, ('who called me for the first time as a singer') and Padmarajan asked me to dub for Rahman, I tried it. The first few times, it was enjoyable. But I didn't expect it to be my main profession,” he says. “In any case, I have no complaints, because it proved to be a steady income.”
 
It was in 1982 that Krishnachandran and Vanitha first acted together in the movie 'Ee naadu'. “We acted together in a few movies after that and then for around four years lup adichu nadannu (were in a relationship).”  

Whatever opposition their families had to the relationship disappeared after they discovered an old connection. Vanitha's grandfather used to teach English to Krishnachandran's grandmother at her home, back in those times when women were not allowed to go out for education.

 

krishnachandran trivandrum

“I'd prefer singing to acting any day. I am basically a singer. But, when great men like Padmarajan and Bharathan call you for a movie, there are no second thoughts,” says Krishnachandran.

 

He continued actively in the movie field, at times acting in movies like 'Yuvajanolsavam', 'Ormakkai' etc., at times singing all-time-hit songs like Alliyilam poovo... (Mangalam Nerunnu) and Thenmazhayayi... (Daisy). He has sung for thousands of films in Malayalam and Tamil that he can't remember many of them now. “But most of my songs were of comedy type like Pokkerikkante chukk kaappikk nattilellaam peraane... (Belt Mathai), Kuppinippattaalam... (Onnanu Nammal). There were only a few memorable ones like Alliyilam poovo... and Raagam Thaanam... (Soorya Gayathri), which still continue to be among my favorites.” 

 

All this while, he dubbed for many new male actors who turned up in Malayalam cinema and sometimes left soon after. “When I see these movies sometimes and hear my voice, I think, oh did I dub for that movie? It is just so many!”

 

It was in 1986 that he changed his focus. He was singing for his favorite musician Ilayaraja that day. Acting till late last night, his voice was strained and it took some while before he got it right. He explained to Ilayaraja what happened. “He scolded me. He said not to put my legs in two boats at the same time. That is when I decided to take a break from acting.”

krishnachandran trivandrum
“I have come here in 2005, when I joined Amrita TV. But to be honest, I don't get to go out much or have a public life in Trivandrum," says the singer/actor/dubbing artist

But Krishnachandran confesses that because he hasn't run after music directors his talent was underutilised. “I don't go after music directors or anybody for that matter, asking for chance. I hope that they will call me if they like me. But that doesn't work in this field. My daughter says today that my talents were not utilised properly. I feel she is right.”
 
He appeared in music shows on television, and continued singing till 2000. He was still very much there in the field but he didn't chase oportunities. He remained quiet. “Even in 80s, when, after senior singers like Yesudas, Unni (Unni Menon) and I were the only young Malayalam singers living in Chennai, few called me. New singers like MG Sreekumar travelled from Trivandrum, sang, and went back.”
 
Still Krishnachandran is a man with no complaints. Quite happy with his small family of a wife and a daughter called Amrithavarshini, he is now a resident of Trivandrum. “I have come here in 2005, when I joined Amrita TV. But to be honest, I don't get to go out much or have a public life in Trivandrum. I am afraid I am just here to work and then go back home every day.”
 
The Nilampoor-born has been in Palakad and Thrissur for his education, and spent 25 years in Chennai, before coming to Trivandrum. “So Chennai is still very close to my heart,” he says.

About music director MG Radhakrishnan who passed away recently, he has very fond memories. "I sang a song of his - Brahma kamaladalam... - for All India Radio back in 1976, as a sixteen-year-old. A few days before his death, I had visited him at the hospital with music director Ousepachan and singer Biju Narayanan. Radhakrishnan Chettan asked me then to sing this song for him. It was the ICU and there were patients all around. So I went near him and sang the song softly in his ears."
 
Krishnachandran won the State Award for Best Dubbing Artist in 1994 for 'Kabooliwala' and in 1997 for 'Aniyathippravu'.

When we sit through those beautiful movies of the '80s, enjoying the touching stories and enchanting dialogues, it would be nice to remember that there are voices like Krishnachandran's that struggled behind the scene to make it worth our while.

For all those youthful roles, actors like Rahman and Vineeth have potrayed, they should be thankful to Krishnachandran for his wonderful voice and dubbing skills.

Cris Seetha
cris.seetha@yentha.com

 
 
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