Telugu Music Director and Singer Nihal
Very few of us know that the popular Telugu Music Director Mr.Nihal is a classical singer, before coming into the movie industry. DesiShades recently chatted with this music director for our readers. Here is the interview we had with him exclusively.
DesiShades: Can you please tell us about yourself?
Nihal: I am basically from Hyderabad. My parents named me as Ponduri Venkata Srinivas. Most of my friends are Muslims and Punjabi's. They used to say in Hindi "tu nihal banjayaga re" and from there I got the name Nihal. When I was in my MBA I got interested in music. Music is hereditary in from my family. My mother learnt music. I did learn music. I did my bachelors and Masters in Carnatic Music. I did my M.Phil in music with M.R Subramanyam in Delhi University. I was awarded gold medal at the National Level while I was doing my M.Phil. All over the Associate of Indian Universities, I was only who got the gold medal. After that I was elected for the empanelment of ICCR - Indian Council for Cultural Research, which is cultural exchange program from country to country. I was elected as a cultural Ambassador for many countries like, France, Chezkoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and many others. I was also sent to Mauritius as an ambassador for 4 years, which is a diplomatic post. Unni Krishnan and I were contemporaries at Madras Music Academy. I was awarded as best concert award. This was happened in 1993. The reason I moved to film industry is I did not get any settlement in Classical Music. During this time, one of my neighbors introduced me to Hanumantha Rao, who was a director. I was asked to do music for a T.V Serial. From there Hanumantha Rao, Super Star Krishna's brother, asked about me. I was invited by him and that was my entry into films. I directed music for the TV serial 'Jai Veera Hanuman' (40 episodes). I used to do classical concerts and also film music simultaneously. I used to concerts in Hindustani. I learnt Hindustani, mostly by listening to it. I used to take the help of Malini Rajesh in refining the tunes of Hindustani. R.P. Patnaik, the music director was doing an album called "Anandam". He was looking for some one who could sing "Vatapi Ganapathim". I was introduced to him and we both became good friends. R.P. Trivikram. Teja, myself; we all were formed into a group. We all worked for movie called "Chitram". I sang for Usha Kiran movies. During the peak time I got a chance to Mauritius on behalf of Government of India. I stayed there for 4 years. After coming back from Mauritius I sang in Jai Chiranjeeva. After that Pokiri, Yogi, Boss, Samanyudu followed. I started my career as a Music director for the film Rainbow. As a back ground scorer I worked for many movies and as a music director, I worked for Rainbow and Jallu. Right now I am working on two films.
DesiShades: How do you feel about singing in the movies with a classical back ground?
Nihal: Those are two different aspects. Singing a classical song is different and singing a commercial song is different. Lot of voice culture is needed for commercial singing. For classical singing you don't need a good voice. The concept of good voice in classical music has started with Mrs. M.S Subbalakshmi, Balamurali Krishna, and Yesudas. Coming to myself I have been listening to lot of Hindi songs. I am a great fan of Mohammad Rafi. So I was able to tune my voice accordingly by listening to the film music and the classical music.
DesiShades: What are your future plans? Do you want to continue as a music director or a singer?
Nihal: I want to do both like Shankar Mahadevan and all are doing. I am waiting for a good break
DesiShades: If you get an offer as a music director without any other pressures from any director or producer. You are on your own. How do you do the music?
Nihal: For Commercial movies, music has to be commercial. If a film like Sankarabharam comes, I would love to give that kind of music. In mass masala music you cannot bring classical. I can probably try like the music director Raj, mixing the classical component into commercial music. This kind of trend is still followed by many directors. I will go according to the public demands.
DesiShades: About your audience here in USA and India. Your ideas present music.
Nihal: Audience are same everywhere. Telugus really enjoy a lot even today. Present music trends - we have to go according to the present day situations. We have to change accordingly. In 1940's it was totally different. There were no phones. Now we see cell phones everywhere. Same with music; it's changing a lot. If we can give good music with good lyrics and tunes, people will definitely like. One good recent example is the music in the films Ashta chemma and Happy Days. If we listen to the music they are all melody based. The films were super hit and audience enjoyed a lot. Music and lyrics are like railway tracks. They go together.
DesiShades: Thanks Nihal, for your time. We hope to see you rocking the performance in Denver.
Nihal: I hope to entertain the audience today. Thanks for hosting me.
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