Me Thinks

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Malarum Ninaivugal

My friend has been asking me to write a manalrum ninaivugal piece about my association with the family who's head is considered God of music by me. If you don't know what IR stands for, please don't read this post.

Long long ago so long ago only I know how long ago, my friend had a Manipuri friend who's cousin was selected by a Music Director to sing in one of his movies. My friend asked me to take care of that cousin since they don't speak much English. I went to the hotel where they were staying. I was shocked. What did I see? An 8 year old girl, her Mom, both of whom speak no English or Hindi and the girl's paattu teacher who spoke a little bit of Hindi. I realized they needed more help than initially thought. I promised to drop them at the studio next morning and helped them with some food that night.

The next morning, as I dropped them at Prasad studio, my heart was beating fast. Will I get to see IR, my idol? Just a glimpse would do. I told my boss, I would be an hour late for work. I knocked on a closed door since the guy at the gate said they should be seated inside that room. Yarru open pannina? IR himself and said "Vaanga vaanga". I froze. Not just that, he asked me to stay back and be a translator between him and the paattu teacher. "Bhaad me jaaye work" I called and told folks at work that I was too sick to come. Was so star struck that day and IR's assistant told me that the girl didn't get the pronunciation right. I helped the little girl with that. She was an amazing singer and so was her teacher. The Mom was just a spectator. The recording was for the song "Oru naal oru kanavu" (eventually sung by KJY and Anu Sriram).

As much as I helped, it was hard for the girl. But what a voice. The next day too practice continued and I went again on IR's insistence that I be there too. Why leave the chance? It was clear that the girl was not going to sing the song. Felt bad for her. I wondered why IR's son KR invited her all the way knowing the drawback. 10 minutes after that thought, someone called my name aloud. I turned to see and it was KR himself. He profusely thanked me for all the help and apologized for not being around. Said "En velai neenga pannineenga". Figured he was a very nice guy from that tone and he was very funny too. He insisted that all 4 of us come to their house for lunch. My dream run started then.

Went to their place for lunch where I met KR's sister BR. BR and I hit it off instantly and Mrs.IR was nice too. IR joined us after lunch. Kept pinching myself that day to make sure all this wasn't a dream. After lunch, they planned an impromptu trip to MGM with the little girl (even they knew she wasn't going to sing I guess) I said bye and walked towards my bike when Mrs.IR said I should go too. Who was I to refuse that offer!! So we went to MGM.

Kadhala Kadhala was a hit and when the MGM people saw KR and BR, they started playing those songs. Some people wanted to take pics with them. To avoid embarrassment, I offered to be the photographer and some people even said "Madam neengalum vaanga". It was a fun day. We exchanged numbers and I left that evening. A huge IR fan got to spend qality time with his family, went to his house and had lunch - that was enough for me. But what followed that was a huge surprise.

BR called me the next day and asked me if we could go out in the evening after work. I agreed. BR, KR and I hung out and had so much fun. I realized we were going to be meeting often. Once they took me to Kamal's office when I said I was Kamal rasigai. I met Ila Arun, spoke to Jackie Shroff, met Singapore group of musicians, went to some college culturals as judge along with them, my qualification being "BR and KR's friend".

I had heard about how grand Navaratri is in their house. Experienced it once when Asha Bhonsle was a singer. BR wanted me to stay when she was singing one of the days. It was risky considering my own house had Golu and stuff. I jaggaa vangified and told them I couldn't come to their house on some days. It was indeed very touching to see them go out of their way to do things for me. They didn't have too many normal friends where normal = non-celebrity. There were occasions when Mrs.IR would ask me to park my bike in their house and ask the driver to drop me. Also sometimes, their Mitsubishi Lancer would be waiting outside our apartment gate and I'd go there.

During all this, I also had many chances where IR would talk to me. I was like Raj from The Big Bang Theory..... Inwardly gushing and making an effort to answer. There was one time when BR and I "sang" How to Name it main piece. As someone who has those tunes tattooed in my mind, it wasn't hard for me. BR was laughing and singing. From the corner of my eye, I saw IR standing upstairs and watching us. Orey enthu pottu I sang. At the end of it, he said, "Idhu nalla irkkey". I almost fainted.

All this went on for almost 2 years but considering we 3 have very little in common, it was hard. When KR got engaged, I met his then fiancee. Very sweet but she was quiet unlike KR. I didnt go to their wedding since I would have been a fish out of water. Later met them at their house and realized I can't be frequenting the house of the newly weds. BR and I still continued to hang out. I switched jobs, traveled etc so our interactions came down to occasional calls, chat etc. Then I moved to the US and KR and I communicated once. He told me about Yatheeshwar. Now I read about them occasionally.

KR is a great guy and BR also very sweet. Never interacted with the brother, YSR. Always thought he was a little "different" from the other two. If KR or BR stumble upon this space sometime, I hope they realize I still think of them and how nice and warm they had been to me.


Blogger ashok said...

Deepa,u didn't make up this fairy-tale, did u? If this is true, I Totally envy you!
My uncle played violin for IR and I had seen him as a kid during a Telgu film composition...never had a chance to meet him. At one point, my goal in life was to play for IR...but i didn't pursue music seriously :(

1:21 PM  
Blogger D LordLabak said...

Ashok, my made up story would have had more color than what you see here. :-)

4:49 PM  
Blogger Me too said...

Neethaana... nesanthaana...
Enakku oru manipuri, bhelpuri onnum maatta maatenghudhey!!!

8:49 PM  
Blogger Vandana said...

Wow!!! Nice memories indeed:)

12:45 AM  
Blogger Chenthil said...

Can't claim to know KR, but he was one year senior to me in school - Boston Matric and remember him playing the keyboard in school functions.

9:20 AM  
Blogger I said...

Enakku cinema'la chance vaangi tharaya?

12:24 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Neenga periya aalu dhaan ponga!

4:15 AM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

Dreamum Wakeuppum! Endhiru anjali endhiru.

8:35 PM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

IR, BR, KR. YR. Do you know TR or his son SR too.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL @ rajesh :)

BTW did u listen to NEP?


1:19 PM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

"As someone who has those tunes tattooed in my mind" wah wah!

9:30 PM  
Anonymous TheTalkativeMan said...

Why the hell wasn't this the first post in your blog?

Now if I were to put linku-fy this in IR's yahoogroups, this blog would be flooded :-) More so, your inbox!

One to tell the grandkids obviously.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous TheTalkativeMan said...

Okay, since the movie was Kannukul Nilavu, I guess this happened around the summer of 1999. The movie was a Pongal 2000 release.

5:09 AM  
Blogger D LordLabak said...

TTM, Kannukkul Nilavu it is. I had forgotten the name of the movie. About the grandkids part hell ya. Why do you think I blogged?
I think one of the reasons they were friends with me was because I didn't seem very star-struck (yea, right) when I was with them. So I kind of respected that and didn't blog about this for years.

9:43 PM  
Blogger D LordLabak said...

Also TTM, the song was recorded at the beginning of '99 not summer.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous TheTalkativeMan said...

"So I kind of respected that and didn't blog about this for years"

*That* was very nice of you. The best way to honor a celebrity is to not commodify them.

12:10 PM  
Blogger The Visitor said...

Wow! I now know a "celebrity"! Malarum ninaivugal - melum malarattum.

9:44 AM  

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