Singer Karthik reveals his experience with A R Rahman in a show called “Memories” in Jaya TV. Karthik in his earlier days of college life was a regular participant in IIT Sarang. He was an absolutely crazy Rahman fan.
Being asked had he ever thought of getting a chance to sing for Rahman, he replied “No No. I just wanted to see him at least once. I was such a crazy fan. I used to call the studios so many times and usually the studio manager or someone picks and keeps the phone. It was one of my cousin who was close to singer Srinivas who got me that golden opportunity to meet Rahman. It was purely by God’s grace. When I met him, he asked ” Do you sing? ” and I said yes and sang a song in front of him.
He then immediately said, “You have a nice voice. why don’t you choose singing as your career”. That was the moment, I left everything else and again started practicing daily. I was so happy to hear that from him. But I didn’t get a chance immediately. It was an interesting incident and unforgettable even now – The opportunity that I got to sing for Rahman. That day was one of my friends birthday. So we a gang of friends went out to a snooker parlor and decided to spend till midnight and give a surprise birthday gift to our friend. Those days Cellphones were not that popular and only one of our friend had. Rahmanji was looking for some fresh voices to do a chorus and Singer Srinivas was trying to reach Tippu, Harish Raghavendra and Gopalrao.
When he couldn’t get hold of one of them he tried reaching my home number. My mom was trying to reach my friend’s cell phone but unfortunately couldn’t reach as the signal was so poor in the snooker parlor. Srinivas had at least tried 8 times to my home and my mom started literally crying because she knows how much interest I was showing towards singing. It was at 11:45 when we came upstairs, after three and half hours, I got to attend my mom’s call and came to know about the call from the studio. I took my bike and rushed to the studio. I saw Javed Akthar Sir for the first time. The movie was Pukar and I had to sing with the chorus with Tippu, Harish, and Dr.Narayan.
That was my first recording and it just happened in 30 mins and at around 1.00 am, I’m home. I couldn’t just believe that I did a recording in Rahmanji’s studio. I told all my friends but no one believed. Unfortunately, that song in Pukar didn’t release. Then I used to regularly do some chorus with Tippu and Harish and I was singing Chorus for nearly one year. Rahman always gets confused in identifying Tippu and me. He always thought I’m Tippu. One day during a chorus session, Rahman said, “You, the guy without spectacles, you stay there, others come out”.
That was me. I know he is going to ask me to sing. I thought this is the opportunity and I have to prove myself else pack my bags and go back to studies. He asked to sing a sad alaap, I was singing and he was guiding by playing the chords. He wanted more cry in the alaap and I just forgot myself and started singing continuously, closing my eyes. After a while, I opened my eyes to see everyone laughing. Rahman had already standing next to me and said “Good Job. You did well”.
Next day, he asked me to come to the studio for a track. He said he is going to try something and also said if it works well, he will use it. That was the song for the movie Jodi and the song is “Nendhukittaen Nendhukittaen”. I was nervous but Rahman has a special capability. He knows what technique to use to extract the work from the singers. He sets the right mood to each singer. He started cutting jokes with me and made me really comfortable before recording the song. It took me 45 minutes to complete the song. After the recording, he said, it’s good, let’s see, if it works out, we will use it. This is how I got my first break with Rahman.
The “Girl Friend” song in boys was really interesting. While working with Rahman, you will never know how the song will come out but this is the one song that every one of us knew that it’s gonna rock. When I started recording this song, Rahman interrupted and said, “I want you to sing in a “Blues” feel”. I smiled and said, “I don’t know blues, please guide me”. Then he started singing it for me. He said think a saxophone and deliver the words like a saxophone. It was interesting.
At the end of the talk, the anchor asked “You need to sing in the night while working for Rahman. Doesn’t it feel uncomfortable?” Karthik smiled and replied “Michael Jackson says that he is going to meet you at 3 AM. Will you tell him, No, come at 6:00PM”. I know what you are trying to ask. If you like a work and you have commitment to do that work, these things doesn’t matter at all. It’s all about the passion that makes you work, be it any time”.