Read in : தமிழ் launches today its new Forum — a community for music lovers, with an interview featuring film composer Ramesh Vinayagam who presents an exclusive Carnatic concert with 30 leading musicians who will also render some of his own compositions this evening at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall at Chetpet, Chennai.

It is probably the first time a film composer is doing a full Carnatic concert, that too with several of his own compositions. There have been Carnatic musicians who have rendered film songs and even participated in a film-based programme. But, in a reversal of roles, Ramesh Vinayagam who has made a mark as a creative film composer, will provide a full Carnatic concert with several leading Carnatic musicians rendering his songs among others in Chennai on July 28, 2018.
Ramesh Vinayagam provides this concert to be performed by 30 classical musicians including Aruna Sairam, Nithyasree Mahadevan, P Unnikrishnan, Sriram Parasuram-Anoorada Sriram, Trichur Brothers, Gayathri Venkatraghavan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Abhishek Raghuram, and Sriranjani Santhanagopalan.In an exclusive chat, Ramesh Vinayagam describes his thought process and how he evolved this concert platform. “I have never felt that classical music and film music were different platforms. There has always been a healthy give and take between the two streams. Film songs have always been, and continue to be based on Carnatic ragas. If you take out the raga element, there will scarcely be a film song. There will be nothing left”, says Ramesh.

The pann as in early Tamil music and the ragam in Carnatic music too were based on the same concept. “The ragam is a part and parcel of our DNA. The only difficulty with Carnatic music was that it expected the artiste to stick to tradition and the structured format, while cinema offered the freedom to explore beyond the tradition”

It is also a fact that several leading Carnatic musicians became known to the people, the poorest of the poor, in every nook and corner of the State, through their participation in film music. Even people not connected with Carnatic music per se could recognize MS, GNB, MM Dandapani Desikar, Balamuralikrishna and others through their appearances in films.

Film music in the early days too was heavily dominated by ragas in their pure, Carnatic form, and this helped take Carnatic music too to the masses.

Ramesh says from a young age he was impressed by Carnatic songs and also the literary value of the compositions. “My father, Thiru Vinayagam, was a strong influence on me because he was a great writer besides being a composer. So, I began composing too, and my first composition was at the age of 12”, recalled Ramesh.

It is natural for me to foray into composing kirtanas in Carnatic music. Much as I am into film music full-time, I have been working on my own Carnatic compositions which I will present on July 28 in Chennai at the Lady Andal auditorium”, said Ramesh.  

“I have also been greatly influenced by Tyagaraja and other Vaggeyakaras like Papanasam Sivan”, said Ramesh, responding to a question on how he too will be known as a vaggeyakaara (composer).

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