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K.S. Harishankar’s tryst with Telugu

K.S. Harishankar’s tryst with Telugu

Music is in his blood. Young singer K.S. Harishankar, who has a couple of well-received covers to his credit, has added another feather to his cap. This time, the 24-year-old crossed the barriers of language to come up with his own signature version of the soft track Inkem Inkem Inkem Kaavale… from the upcoming Telugu rom-com Geeta Govindam that instantly went viral after its release as a single last month.

The original romantic melody from composer Gopi Sundar, crooned by the inimitable Sid Sriram, packs a delectable touch of the classical. Harishankar says he found the number so inviting that it was an “easy choice” for a cover. “I was planning to do another cover, but something different. After my own cover of Jeevamshamayi (from the upcoming Tovino Thomas-starrer Theevandi), Inkem… sounded very catchy. It’s a raga-specific number (Kapi raga) and the song’s scale is also something I really liked,” says the playback singer from the city. It also worked in his favour that most singers in Malayalam usually prefer Tamil and Hindi songs to Telugu. Harishankar felt the Telugu track would offer “some novelty.”

“Although a lot of songs in Kapi raga have come out in the past, I don’t remember many releasing in the recent past. That in itself was a change with Inkem… Gopi chettan has done a brilliant job with the original. It’s both catchy and classical,” adds Harishankar, grandson of Carnatic vocalist and composer K. Omanakutty.

He then began working on the cover with his independent fusion band, Pragathi. The song video, which features the singer himself, is directed by his friend Jithin Lal, who has previously worked as associate director in movies such as Godha, Ennu Ninte Moideen, Kunjiramayanam. Completed in five days, the video was shot entirely in and around Thiruvananthapuram, while State award-winner Appu N. Bhattathiri did the editing.

Harishankar, whose other noted covers include Vennilave… (Queen) and Pookkal Pookkum… (Madrasapattinam), says though his Inkem… does full justice to the original, he did take a bit of liberty to introduce the violin and the sarangi, which were not used in the Telugu version. “However, when you listen to the track, you’ll realise that the crooning is done in my own style. Some may like, some may not,” he says with a laugh.

So, did he face any challenges with the diction? “Actually yes. At the time of recording, I had a Telugu scholar, who is also a musician, with me in the studio to correct my diction. But I was happy that the flow of the rendition was smooth despite the language difference. No one has so far commented that my Telugu in the song was wrong,” he points out with a chuckle.

Pragathi is now currently in preparation for a music series of three songs in three genres featuring three actors in the respective videos, all slated for later this year. Harishankar, who is also a qualified dentist, says he has now quit his career in dentistry to devote himself wholly to music. After all, music is his medicine.

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