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Chitchat with KM Radha Krishnan
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May 13, 2006

New music director KM Radha Krishnan’s music for Anand got lots of appreciation from all quarters and the success of that film took music to new heights. After a gap of one and half year, his music for Sekhar Kammula’s Godavari caught the pulse of music lovers again. met KM Radha Krishnan at a recording studio for a small chitchat. Here are the excerpts -

Tell us about your background?

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I am born in Gadwal and studied till 3rd class over there. Then I went to Coimbattore and returned after a few years to complete schooling in Gadwal. Basic inspiration for me to become a musician is my father KV Mohan who worked for AIR (All India Radio) since 1973. He used to sing light music. He is also a stage actor. He has given over 500 stage shows so far. My father inspired me to learn Hindustani classical music. I practiced classical music with the held of Chaganti Lakshmi for a couple of years. I settled in Hyderabad since my intermediate. I completed diploma in Hyderabad Music College. I also completed training for music teacher job in Gandhi Bhavan. I learnt western classical from Arnold for a couple of years. I learnt Karnatic classical music from Vengamamba. I did research on how to blend Hindustani music with Karnatic music. After completing B. Sc., I worked as sub-broker for National Stock Exchange for two years. But I always wanted to be associated with music.

When I was looking for opportunities as music director in film industry, Sunil Kumar Reddy was making a film titled ‘Silence Please’. I did background music for that film. After a gap of two years I got another opportunity to score music for a children film called ‘Hero’.

I got an opportunity to meet Sekhar Kammula few years back and he expressed his wish to make a commercial Telugu film. He listened to Hero songs. He explained me a situation and asked me to come up with a tune. I composed ‘Yamuna Teeram Sandhya Ragam’ tune overnight. On the following day, I got a cheque from Sekhar Kammula for working capital of Godavari project.

I got amazing response for Anand. Film music is drastically different from classical music. Sekhar loves classical music. That is the reason why most of the songs in Anand and Godavari have classical ting to them.

Tell us about Godavari music?
Lots of people commented that Godavari music is an extension to Anand music. But it is not true. I designed the tunes as per the demand of situation. Let me narrate situations of the songs in Godavari –

  • 1. Manasa Vacha: This song comes when heroine misses the hero. I used Manasa Vacha word while composing the tune. And Veturi penned wonderful lyrics.
  • 2. Andamgaa lena: This song comes when heroine feels insecure.
  • 3. Uppengele Godavari: Explains the greatness of Godavari River.
    4. Manasa Gelupu: It is the most challenging tunes I have ever done. It is an inspiring song
  • 5. Ramachakkani Seetaku: It is just a one and half minute song which would come as situational song. There is lot of devotion in this song.
  • 6. Tippalu Tappulu: Another rain song and most of the people might think that this song has the flavor of rain song in Anand.

I give equal preference to the music and lyrics. That is the reason why one can understand the lyrics of my songs with clarity.

What about background music. Will it have classical touch like Anand?
Since this film deals with such a classic subject like Godavari, the background music too will have classical flavor.

Are you not afraid of getting branded as classical music director?
Yes. Since my music for Anand and Godavari became successful, it doesn’t matter. My goal is to please people with my music and I don’t mind it as long as people are happy listening to my songs.

What about the versatility?
Only time with tell about my versatility. I can’t give western music to films like Anand and Godavari. Sekhar Kammula’s sensibility matches with classical music. If I get an opportunity to score western music to different movies, I will do it in a pleasing manner. I feel that it is more difficult to compose classical music compare to western music.

I tried versatile songs in Kanchanamala Cable TV films. That film failed though music got appreciated. Music in our film industry is as good as the success of the film.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to become a singer like SP Balu when I was a kid. After two years, I started doing analysis of songs, which made me realize that there is a music composer in me. The composer in me dominated the singer. I used to practice and improvise my father’s tunes.

Telugu guys are making it really big in nationwide singing contests like Saregama & Indian Idol. Why are they not being recognized by our music directors before hand?
Generally music directors have the habit of keeping certain singers in their mind as reference while composing tunes. For classical melodies, we have Hari Haran (Yamuna Teeram in Anand) and for spirited songs we have Shankar Mahadevan.

If we find such a talent in Hyderabad, why do we go to Chennai or Mumbai to record songs with non-Telugu singers?I will end up giving training to singers instead of composing music for films. I feel sorry to say that the dedication singers have in Tamil Nadu does not match up with the dedication Telugu upcoming singers have. You might brand me as Tamilian. But I am an Indian first. I am born and brought up in AP. Our parents in AP give more priority to studies than music. There is a requirement of around 500 musicians (expects who can play different music instruments) in Telugu film industry. Though there are music colleges in AP, there is no promotion for them. We have to hire many musicians from Chennai to compose music for Telugu films.

Hariharan got famous only when he entered into his 40’s. New singers should wait for their time to come and should not lose hope.

Are you married?
Yes. I also have a one and half year old daughter.

What are your future projects?
I am currently composing music for Mayabazaar that is being directed by Mohana Krishna Indraganti. The basis for them to select me was my knowledge in classical music. I am also doing music for a film titled ‘Manasu Palike Mouna Ragam’ (Sneha). There are two more offers which are yet to materialize.

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