When Madhusudan Akkihebbal and Lakshmi Harish thought about making a music video they never imagined that they would make something emotional and sweet like ‘Putta Kagadada Dhoni’. They say that the entire process of making this video is something that has to be experienced.
It all started when Madhusudan and Lakshmi started thinking about content generation platform of their own. ‘Putta Kagadada Dhoni’ is their offering from this platform.
Madhusudhan and Lakshmi hope to create variety content. It could be music videos today…very soon they are hoping to churn out short films. Their main focus would be to talk about Kannadigas in Boston and their way of life to people in their homeland. Both of them are brimming with lot of ideas and very soon they hope to convert all this into reality. With noble thoughts of creating good content they are surging forward…
Let’s talk in detail about their plans…
Generating Kannada content in Boston for the people back in your home land is a novel idea. Tell us about your banner?
Madhusudan: We are looking at good content generation through our banner. It could be music videos, short films or anything else. Our main aim is to share what people in this part of the world do. We want to convey the way of life here to the people back in our homeland. Travel diaries are also a part of our plan. We think that this is a major plan for our banner. People back in Karnataka need to know what Kannadigas are doing here in the US. We want to stay connected and make people here in the US feel that they are not far away from home.
This attraction towards music…how did it happen?
Madhusudan: I am semi-trained in music. Many of my relatives are professionally trained in music, but for some reason I did not get the right opportunity. After coming to US, I got trained by Smt Durga Krishnan for three years. Then I pursued this art form with the help of my guru Sri Ganesh Desai. He has also scored music for Putta Kagadada Dhoni.
Lakshmi: As a small child I did get some training in music. But when I started college there was a break. After coming to the US, I pursued this art form again. I too got introduced to Sri Ganesh Desai. There was a workshop and I took part in that and learnt few nuances in music. I am pursuing it ardently now.
Putta Kagadada Dhoni is very emotional. Could you enlighten us about your upcoming music video in detail?
Madhusudan: When this music video’s idea was suggested I jumped at the very notion. It was challenging and a totally new arena. But that is me…! I love taking up something new. After initial discussions with Lakshmi we approached our guru Sri Ganesh Desai. Lots of conversations followed and we decided to make a video on Putta Kagadada Dhoni. Here, the story played an important role, but there was no talking. Everything was to be conveyed through music and expressions. ‘Putta Kagadada Dhoni’ has an energetic premise. If you see this storical it comes with a strong message. A paper boat won’t stop floating when it meets obstacles. It will find a path and get away from it. This should be one’s approach in life. Our aim was to send a social message as well. So we took upon Alzheimer’s disease, which is weaved into the story along with the pandemic that we are in now.
Lakshmi: This song has lyrics which is very close to life. Difficulties, happiness, hatred, love, ups and downs are all a part of life…we have tried to incorporate almost everything. When life throws bricks at you, how you cope with it is what this song teaches us. The music and the lyrics fit well perfectly.
Putta Kagadada Dhoni seems to be very interesting….Tell us about the people who worked in it?
Madhusudan: Once we had our plans in place, our challenge was how to implement it. We were looking for a story board. Where do we do the shooting? Compared to India, in the US, Covid situation was tough. Majority of the team is in India. Technology has improved greatly these days, so implementing this project wasn’t that difficult. We got the story board ready. I got in touch with Babu Hirannaiah. We had worked together in some other project. He headed all the production activity in India. When I told him about this music video, he was excited and agreed to be a part of it. This is a cross-border collaboration. Major portion of the song has been shot in India and some portions here in the US. Archana Venkatesh and Sridhar Nagappa have played the lead roles. In the US portion you will get to see my son Shashank Madhu who has played this couple’s son. Roopa Gururaj has penned the lyrics. Ganesh Desai and his wife Namitha Desai have scored the music and sung the song as well. Lakshmi Harish and I are heading the creative team.
What is your criteria in choosing the right kind of people for a music ensemble?
Lakshmi: When we decided to make this music video, the first thought that came to us was who will score the music. Ganesh Desai is our guru and we approached him. He eased the process and gave us options. In parallel we started working on the story. Also we need experienced hands on this. That is when we got in touch with Babu Hirannaiah. It was difficult to create it here due to covid situations. Fortunately Babu Hirannaiah’s group did most of the work and everything fell in place.
How do you make time for your passion with a busy professional life?
Madhusudan: For me it has become a kind of second nature. I devote my free time to art and culture. If we are passionate we can devote time for this. In my case I have written various compositions for different programs. Couple of years ago Jayant Kaikini had come here. He has penned famous Kannada film songs. He had said that we should not limit ourselves to boundaries. Always go beyond and try something new. This had inspired me greatly.
Lakshmi: I am a staunch admirer of Kannada language. My husband and children have supported me in my passion. They have given me direction and my friends has been with me. In this project Madhusudan and I have put ourselves completely. I have pushed myself just because I want to something for my language, Kannada.
What inspires you?
Madhusudan: My core inspiration comes with competing with myself. For example I used to sing, but not limit myself to singing. Rather I wanted to sing on stage and make a big event of it. I could have sang with a small team. No, that’s not where I want to be. It should be big and better.
Lakshmi: There are so many people who have achieved so many things in Kannada. Most of their achievements are just lying there. We need to show this to the new generation. It is important to get these art forms to the forefront and show it to people and get them involved. This will be a huge inspiration for others as well.
What is your favourite part about this line of work when you made Putta Kagadada Dhoni?
Lakshmi: Till we selected the song, it was only limited to one thing. After that there were so many aspects to this music video. The explosion of ideas that took place enthralled me. It was a massive learning process as well. There was a non-stop flow of creativity.
Madhusudan: This was a brilliant journey. The best part was it all happened so fast and luckily everything fell in place perfectly. We started off in November. In a short span we did this music video. Creating the story and making it entertaining with a message was my most favourite part. Working with Babu Hirannaiah and creating the story board was something that I loved dearly.
Do you think that a person can be trained as a musician, or does it come from within?
Madhusudan: You should have a heart for music. Appreciating music will take you closer to it. You need not be trained or know the art to perfection. Those who are not into music need not worry about this process. It is easy and all about coordinating with the right people with creativity.
Lakshmi: Music has no language. We are not great musicians. Here we concentrated on getting the right kind of music for the right words. Expression of emotions were important here with music.
A few personalities from the music world you admire…
Lakshmi: I am a huge fan of Rajesh Krishnan and Vijay Prakash. I love all kinds of music. Be it MS Subbalakshmi or AR Rahman. My tilt is towards bhavageethe as it expresses our feeling. Folk songs are my favorite as well, as it keeps me connected to my roots.
Madhusudan: SP Balasubramaniam, Mohammad Rafi and PB Srinivas have influenced me heavily. I sing lot of film songs, but it is bhaktigeethe and bhavageethe that I love. I have explored all these in Chinmaya Swaranjali. Meera Bhajans and Marathi Abhangs are my favorite as well.
What’s next for you?
Madhusudan: We are looking at getting into short films. This is on our mind. Very soon we will be working on this and hope to deliver it by Ugadi.
Lakshmi: Creative thoughts are flooding…we are hoping to do something big for Ugadi. Right now we have no concrete plans but very soon everything will take shape and by Ugadi we hope to deliver something big.