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When we think of Krishnakumar Kunnath, KK, in Tamil songs, what comes to mind is SPB. It may be wrong to compare two talents but, in the case of KK, this is inevitable.
I had one of his songs from the film Ji as my mobile caller tune. Vambai vilaikku vangum vayasu (This is the age of getting into trouble) was penned by Vairamuthu and tuned by Vidyasagar. Those who called me often asked me whether I had started getting into trouble. The peppy tune and the meaningful lyrics made it such a hit number of those days. I never imagined that this was sung by KK until now.
Many of KK’s songs have carried forward to the next generation. Yuvanshankar Raja’s Ninaithu Ninaithu Paarthaen in 7G, Rainbow Colony is probably the most well known. The same song has been rendered by Shreya Ghoshal too! While her voice enters the soul and digs out the love from the heart, the voice of KK reflects the helplessness of the heart expressing love and how it melts.
As far as Tamil songs go, KK made his mark in conveying the love of an individual of the 90s. Sample some of his lively numbers: ‘Kadhal Valarthean’ from Manmadhan, ‘10kku ullae number oneu sollu’ from Vasool Raja MBBS, ‘Oru Vaarthai katkka oru varusham’ from Ayya and ‘Kangal kandathu kangal kandathu’ from Oru Kalluriyin Kathai.
Sakkapodu Pottalae from Das, Panithuli Panithuli from Kanda Naal Mudhal shower love like a mild drizzle. Listening to Mudhal Naal Indru from Unnale Unnale after the above two songs, you get a feeling as if you were born just today. Each of these songs is soaked in love but comes in different beats. KK suffuses them with romance. This surely tempts us to compare KK with the legendary S.P. Balasubramanyam.
KK was the busiest singer between the period 2000 upto 2010, singing under the baton of A.R. Rahman, Vidyasagar, Yuvanshankar Raja, Bharadwaj, Srikanth Deva, Haris Jeyaraj, D. Iman, G.V. Prakash and several leading music directors.
Many of KK’s songs have carried forward to the next generation. Yuvanshankar Raja’s Ninaithu Ninaithu Paarthaen in 7G, Rainbow Colony is probably the most well known.
KK’s ‘Kadalikkum Aasai illai kanngal unnai kaanum varai’ in Chellamae tuned by Haris Jeyaraj is sheer honey even today. Can anyone forget Uyirin Uyire in Kakka Kakka that easily? KK, however, cannot be bracketed only as a melody singer who sang dulcet duets. He also had that special capacity that could make the audience get up from their seats and dance.
I remember the days when I was working for a TV channel and that was the time when his song ‘Mozhamozhannu yamma yamma’ from the movie Kuruvi came out. The song ruled the airwaves at that time. We would play it repeatedly but those from the previous generation would sneer at us — they were old people after all. That song was like a rivulet that gathers pace and bends and twists before falling down with a roar. Such was the voice of KK that those who would listen to the song would also start twisting and turning.
Anyone seeing this song set to action on screen by the pair of Vijay and Trisha would remember Appidi Podu Podu in Gilli which was also sung by KK. Several of his vibrant numbers introduced dance in our psyche in small dosage. ‘Gundu Gundu’ in Dhool, ‘Ollikuchi Udambukkari’ in Red, ‘Kalyanam thaan kattikittu odi polama’ in Samy, ‘Andankakka Kondaikkari’ in Anniyan, ‘Deepavali Deepavali’ from Sivakasi, ‘Dholu bhaje’ in the movie Deepavali and ‘Sara Sara vedi’ from Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal are some of these.
It would surprise you to know that even his first number under the baton of AR Rahman in Kadhal Desam ‘KK..KK.KK..Kaloori salai” gave shape to the colourful dreams of the youth. It was Rahman who brought in KK to playback singing from the stage where he was singing advertisement jingles.
The song that brought him to limelight was Strawberry Kanne from Minsara Kanavu. Though the song had lyrics and dialogue mingled in it, it sounded ordinary when compared to the national award winning Thanga Thamari Magale. Continuing his singing under the baton of Ranjit Bharot, KK oozed passion in Eechan Kattu Muyal Onnu in VIP. In the same genre, one can add the two numbers KK rendered under Ghosh but they haven’t seen the light of the day – Halwa Pappa in Koteeswaran and Naan Keezh Nattu Cleopatra.
In 2001, KK sang in 12B which introduced Haris Jeyaraj to the tinsel world. Love Pannu and Mutham Mutham Muthamma brought KK into the good books of other composers and the hearts of millions of his Fans. From then on, for two decades KK has been in and out of so many airports.
It was Rahman who brought in KK to playback singing from the stage where he was singing advertisement jingles. The song that brought him to limelight was Strawberry Kanne from Minsara Kanavu.
The advent of Anirudh and his emergence on the music firmament saw the slow fading out of KK. Thereafter he was on the judging panel of various television shows in Coke Studio, MTV Unplugged and several other programmes. At the same time, he entered the Hindi film world through music directors such as Vishal Bharadwaj, Amit Trivedi, Shankar Eeshaan Loy, Pritam, Vishal Shekar, Ankit Tiwari, Arman Malik and others.
It was during this period that KK scored as a co-music director and album composer. His Pal album under the baton of Colonial Cousins Leslie Lewis gave life to the adolescent love of a generation.
Born and raised in New Delhi, KK has sung playback in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Gujarati languages. His parents are natives of Kerala. KK alias Krishnakumar Kunnath started his playback singing career in the 90s and has been busy ever since. Though he never underwent any formal training, his college days sowed the seeds of playback singing in him. The resounding encouragement that he received those days propelled him to film singing. Ad jingles were his stepping stones.
From then on till yesterday (31.5.2022), KK had been continuing his dream journey including in Tamil songs. Singing in the Gurudus College Auditorium – Nasrul Manja, KK sang continuously for more than one hour and kept the young audience enthralled. Within the next one hour, his soul left this earth for its upward sojourn.
For more than 25 years, KK traversed the music world with his youthful voice. Not only was his voice, his personality was also that of a bubbly youth. It is possible to attain that eternal youth only when one’s heart also bubbles with youthful freshness. KK might be dead but his personality that shone in the Tamil songs he sang would continue to shine bright in future.
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