Composing for theatre is challenging, says Kaarthik Raja
MUSICALLY INCLINED Kaarthik Raja (right) with father Illayaraja and brother Yuvan
The medium is different, but the art, in its essence, remains the same. A number of actors have straddled the two different worlds of theatre and cinema. Not just actors, but even the artistes behind the scenes would agree that the difference between the two media poses new challenges. Composer Kaarthik Raja, who has so far earned a lot of appreciation for his film albums, feels that working for theatre "is both fun and challenging."
The eldest son of maestro Illayaraja has composed for The Legend of Taramati. "It's interesting to compose for a play. Unlike in films, you never get a second chance in theatre. Either you get it right or you don't," he says.
Composing for this play called for in-depth research, he explains. "We researched on the ragas used in the Qutb Shahi period and the different musical flavours that appealed to people of that era. There were a lot of inputs from the director. It was fun." Talking about how he chanced upon the project, Kaarthik says, "Mohammad Ali Baig and I have worked together for many ad films. When he asked me to compose for the play, I liked the idea and agreed."
Kaarthik began composing for films in the 90s and like most youngsters who hail from film families, he too was constantly compared with his father. "It was tough during the initial days of my career," recalls Kaarthik. "I had to work doubly hard to establish myself. I am still trying. There's more competition today. Rather than just living up to my father's name, it's important for me to do better than my colleagues." Kaarthik also believes that to succeed, time has to work in your favour. "When things go right, you just have to do your work and not worry about extraneous factors."
Though his brother Yuvan Shankar Raja and sister Bhavatharani are successful composers today, Kaarthik doesn't talk work at home. "I normally don't play my tunes to my family. Not because I don't for constructive criticism, but because I am very reserved. I tend to play the tunes to the director and producer concerned."
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