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Sundar Narayana Rao

The Tamil playback singer and infotech executive on his recent hits

Sundar Narayana Rao
Sundar Narayana Rao

After superstar Rajnikanth, we now have a Marathi-speaking singer in Tamil movies.

That’s just coincidence. Rajni Sir is a powerful icon. I’ve just had a humble beginning.

Kanna kanna urutti urutti, from Vathikuchi, was a big hit, especially with auto-drivers.

The hero is an auto-driver, so it appealed to them. Music director M. Ghibran created a catchy tune, based on the raga Mishra Gara, and arranged it stylishly.

How did your background in Hindustani classical music help your film singing?

Ghibran was excited by my diverse background and explored new tonal varieties across genres.

How long have you trained in music?

Right from childhood, with periods spent absorbing elements of many Asian formats.

Tell us about working with Ghibran.

Ghibran is a virtuoso, a testament of humility, spirituality, creativity.

Your Vathikuchi songs have a single line sung in kaleidoscopic variations. Trademark?

Ghibran understands my personality and craf­ted those variations just for me.

Aatha un selai, from Kutti Puli, was recor­ded with the Sofia Symphony Orchestra.

It’s a soulful song to motherhood. Ghibran wrote special arrangements and had them executed by the Sofia Symphony Orchestra.

The Tamil of film lyrics can be difficult even to native speakers. Any words or phrases that challenged your pronunciation?

I happen to be a south Indian Marathi, the Thanjavur variety. I grew up in Chennai and am very comfortable with Tamil.

You hold a corporate job, as associate V-P with a software firm. How do you manage business and singing?

I find time for intensive riyaz every day. During weekends, it stretches into long hours.

Any tricks you use to get a tune right?

The secret sauce is practice. After all, creativity is practised spontaneity.

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