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Hi dearest nanbas and nanbees, today I decided to knock at S.P.B Charan’s door to feature a slice of him in my ‘talkie with rekhs’

He reminds me of ‘how do you solve a problem like Maria’ song from the ever green classic ‘Sound of music’. To me Charan is and has always been an endearing soul, maybe a trifle misunderstood. Perhaps because he believes in calling a spade a shovel! And I guess it isn’t easy being the son of one who made a million hearts rejoice and sometimes race a little too fast(!) with his captivating voice… and continues to do so!

Charan is a singer, actor, producer, maybe director (soon), spoilt kid round the block, amply endowed with endearing temerity (!!) a perfectionist and a total control freak on the sets…my amma’s words ring in my ears as I write this: “You are solely responsible for bringing out the be(a)st in a person.”  Charan has been an epitome of Jekyll and a thorough gentleman to me and my family, ever since we first met him in 2006!

Our bond started on a strange note, pun intended! I spoke to him briefly when my husband was directing Thoovaanam and then we started exchanging text messages. I would text him the lyrics of a charanam sung by his father and immediately he would text me the pallavi of that song. Never once did he go wrong. And that too before I could even blink my eyes!! I started to ‘search and research’ rare songs by Balu-ji just to stump this chap…I actually once asked him if his dad was sitting right next to him!! He was rightfully indignant. After some 60 such quizzing sessions I sent him a charanam sung by Hariharan…promptly Charan texted, “my dad didn’t sing this one” I thought to myself ‘Woah! One must be immersed, submerged and breathing music’ to be such an enthusiast, that too, to a random and whacky stranger trying her best to outwit him in this manner!!

He owes the fact his feet are firmly planted on Mother Earth to his mom, for the way she has brought him up, very grounded and with no airs and graces whatsoever being SPB’s son. He himself agrees, ‘my mom is my best friend, always with me through my thick and thin.’ He shares a special rapport with his sis and brother-in-law and to his nephew and niece Anirudh and Shambavi he is the uncle who spoils them silly. 

Of course his USA studying stint helped polish his Ps and Qs. He is one of the few rare people in our industry who replies to a text message or returns a call latest within a day and apologizes for the delay! The late 1980s gave him the right kind of exposure and expertise in learning film making in a school in New York. Back to India and ‘home sweet home’ he started singing in Telugu and Thamizh films.

His first was an IR-SPB duet, from the film called Punniyavaththi ‘unakkoruththi’ where he sang the chorus lines, singled out for him by our Maestro.

We’ve heard him in Maestro’s deepangal paesum (devadhai) and ARR’s kaadhal sadugudu (alai payudhae), oru nanban irundhaal (enakku 20 unakku18), maja maja (sillunu 1 kaadhal), aiyaiyO nenju alaiyudhadi (aadukalam) and the popular ‘Oh Shanthi’ Harris number from Varanam 1000 which holds a special corner in my heart…to name a few.

What I had not heard was his 'Nuvvu Nenu Kalisunte' from Keeravani’s Gangotri (2003) which made waves. It’s a very melodious number and can be seen and heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo0JZIfu028 with the young duo Allu Arjun and Aditi Agarwal prancing about mindlessly! It has the Keeravani touch. My favorite Keeravani composition is Vasanth’s nivedha from the film ‘nee paadhi naan paadhi’ sung by Balu-ji. I’ve even come across a famous dentist who has named his daughter Nivedha as an ode to this song!! 

Ooops! Sorry to digress…‘Nuvvu nenu’ that Charan sang was nominated for state award. With his disarming smile Charan says, ‘I lost to appa, if it had been somebody else I’d have been disappointed’ In fact after Kaadhal sadugudu he thought his ‘vaazhkai vaLaiyumae’ as a singer…’time froze for me, I just couldn’t ask for more, I was in the U.S, I came back and found this song was ‘talk of the town’ and I thought offers would come flooding in…in vain!’

Multi tasking is something Charan is very good at! He was an avid participant in a band formed along with Venkat Prabhu and Yugi. Their bond was based on a union of the rapport shared by the respective dads and their common love for music. ‘Next generation’ was active in reaching out with their music to all sections of people, young and old. Their travel rapport cemented a life time friendship amongst them.

Father and son in real life transformed their roles to reel life in a Kannada film Maha yedabidangi, directed by K.S.L.Swami. Sadly the world didn’t get to see their combined performance as this film didn’t see the light of day! Charan then acted as solo hero in Hudugigagi…and moved on to other hues and perspectives of tinsel town.

Unfazed he donned the mantle of a producer. His dream-child Capital film works was born on January 7th 2002.

He has to his credit and debit,
Unnai charan adaindhaen - what an apt debut title and Samuthirakani’s ‘nomadic’ journey started here!
Mazhai that turned out to be a drizzle. Not all remakes can create a stir or a storm. Chennai 28, the fresh summer breeze and ever so youthful entertainer. It gave so much hope to young film institute students to make the impossible possible besides taking aspirant-actors to the next level, giving them the unanimous acceptance vote.
Kunguma poovum konjum puravum - I shall go along with Behindwoods review team that proclaimed ‘somewhere something was missing, though DoP Siddharth’s efforts were praiseworthy’
Naanayam - I love ‘naan pogiraen melae’ song, the singers sure mesmerize us into utopia but the movie failed to rake in the ‘naanayam’ (money) despite  the fact this was probably the 1st of its kind, a bank robbery theme.
Aranyakandam the buzzmaker! I heard that the director actually went seeking for other producers but came back to CFW…destiny, kismet, fate?! Kumararaja should be thankful to Charan for treating him as the prodigal director and providing this platform to hold in his hands the national award for best debut film maker!

On the home front Charan is a happily married man whose wife Aparna (Hyderabad-vaasi) says, “I’m fascinated by Chennai and its rich and varied cultural heritage” She is a classical singer and besides serendipity and destiny it was music that fine tuned harmony into their lives. I found her to be a warm, intelligent, erudite, refined individual who can take a strange city, ‘friends’ who are still random strangers, an alien language completely in her stride and walk hand in hand with our ‘kaleidoscopic’ charming hero of this piece.

My ‘pats on Charan’s back’ for his equanimity and pragmatic approach to life, be it personal or professional, conquering the ‘lows’ in his life and taking the ‘highs’ in the right way and not letting success go to his head. Before I sign off, I must congratulate his parent(s) for thinking of these so apt names Charan(am) and Pallavi for their children! Wow! This sure is the orchestration of mind and heart, head over heels in love with music and all its mellifluous notes!

Wishing Charan a (more) successful (ad)venture as a producer and whatever he chooses to delve in to create his own foot prints in the sands of time, reel and real.

Be back with you in September, the month when we celebrate the birthdays of 2 of my favorite Gods, Krishna and Ganesha!


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