Entrepreneur stories told in Carnatic ragas

Chitra Srikrishna

It was a desire to make classical music accessible to a wider audience that led Carnatic vocalist and writer Chitra Srikrishna to conceive the idea of thematic projects.

After ‘HumRaag’ and ‘Bhakthi’, her latest project is ‘Antah Prerna’ which is a multimedia project exploring the journey of an entrepreneur from idea conception all the way to success and growth. It features the entrepreneur as the narrator and includes classical music from across India.

Rajitha Menon spoke to Chitra about her new project and her unconventional journey.

How did you get the idea for ‘Antah Prerna’?

‘Antha Prerna’ is the musical telling of an entrepreneur’s journey. One day, I was  brainstorming ideas for a new programme with my husband who is an entrepreneur himself. He gave me the idea of a musical presentation of a businessperson’s journey with all the ups and downs. I started working on it and reached out to Smita and Ram, who are the founders of ‘RangDe’. I have known them for a while and admire the work they do. They were also quite enthusiastic about the idea.

What will the show be like?

As Smita and Ram talk about their entrepreneurial journey, I will present songs that will express similar sentiment or situation. For example, if they talk about the disappointments they faced, I will sing songs by a mystic or a poet with similar ethos.

The songs will be in the Carnatic idiom. I will be singing and there will be a violinist and mridangam player accompanying me. There will be a visual presentation on screen Throughout.

So the songs will only be of the classical variety?

It is a mix of classical and semi-classical; there will be a mix of bhajans, vachanas, Carnatic music and so on. The songs are in different languages from different parts of India to reach a wider audience.

Do you think it is possible to get entrepreneurs to become narrators for a show like this?

The entire show is about their journey. Such people start because they are passionate about the dream that they have. That passion will come through when they come on stage and I am sure they will be happy to talk about their story. 

Tell us about your earlier projects?

I came up with a programme called ‘HumRaag’ with writer Shobha Narayan, where we linked classical ragas with movie songs. We presented a movie song on screen for less than a minute and juxtaposed it with a classical raga on which the song is based. While I sang, Shobha would do a presentation on screen that talked about the ethos, the raga, the composer and so on. 

The second such project was ‘Bhakti’, where I present the works of different mystics like Andal, Akkamahadevi, Basavanna, Kabir, Meera and more. These hymns and poems are easy for common people to understand and relate to, in keeping with the idea of the mystics who wanted a direct relationship with God without any rituals. I presented ‘Bhakti’ in many cities in US, Bengaluru and Chennai. That tour is still going on.

 

'Antah Prerna' will debut at the Bangalore International Centre on July 13, 6 pm onwards.

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Entrepreneur stories told in Carnatic ragas

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