The face behind the voice

The face behind the voice

Different track

The face behind the voice

Actors were singers too when cinema first appeared in India. But soon, they only lip-synced to what playback singers rendered. But it was not long before that they began singing again. Sandalwood witnessed the return of actors who sang when Rajkumar began singing most of his songs in his movies. Vishnuvardhan too sang some of the songs for his movies with considerable success.

Among the current pool of actors in Kannada, who have kept alive the tradition of acting and singing, is actor Upendra. He began singing with his own film ‘Upendra’ in 1999 and since then, has also sung occasionally for some of his friends in films like ‘Jai Lalitha’, ‘Krishna-Leela’, ‘Tale Bachkoli Powder Hakali’ and ‘Watchman’.

The latest movie that Upendra sung for is ‘Devaravane Bidu Guru’ and this takes the number of films in which he has been a singer to 18.  “A lot of people ask me how I manage directing, writing the script, acting, singing and producing. It may seem like an impossible task to some but I thoroughly enjoy whatever I do, and singing tops the list. In fact, I prefer to sing for all my movies because I understand the essence and deliver exactly that,” he says. Upendra admits that singing leaves him totally refreshed. “I am not a trained singer but I will continue to sing as and when there is an opportunity,” he states.

  It’s not only the men who sing; even women are more than happy to wield the megaphone. Actress Meghana Raj first sang for her film ‘Bahuparak’ in which she was not only noticed for her performance but her singing skills as well. She also recently sang for ‘Devaravane Bidu Guru’. “I thought I should give singing a shot after a lot of people told me I have a good voice. And now that I am doing it, I am loving every bit of it,” shares Meghana. She adds in the same tone that she’s a wee bit nervous when she’s in front of the megaphone. “I think it’s that jitter and nervousness that has helped me sing well. Acting is easy but singing is tough because the actor has to emote according to how you sing. But that’s a challenge worth attempting.”

There are a couple of actors like Remya Nambeesan, who have sung in other languages, including Tamil, and are now ready to test their singing skills in the Kannada film industry.
Remya says she can’t wait to sing her first Kannada song in PC Shekar’s ‘Style King’. “This is my first Kannada film and I can’t wait to sing. Somehow, I’ve always loved singing and I just get out there and have fun,” she says. She adds that she is used to multi-tasking and singing came as an incentive. “I am glad that I am able to sing because that’s something that I’ve always wanted to try out.

The real satisfaction of being a singer came only after people accepted my songs.”
The Kannada film industry has its fair share of actors who have a strong grounding in theatre and one such actor is Sathish Ninasam, who shares that he regularly sang during his theatre days. Sathish has recently sung a fast-paced song titled ‘Rangi Rangi’ in his latest release ‘Rocket’. “The director is a close friend and I couldn’t say no to him when he asked me to sing. I am not a trained singer but I do it whenever a song that suits my kind of voice comes to me,” he says. He adds that it gives him immense joy when people accept his songs and gets even more excited when he hears people singing along.