Reach of Carnatic music beyond what we think: Bombay Jayashri

Chennai, Jan 12 (IANS) The Tamil lullaby "Kanney Kanmaniaye.. Aararo, Aararo" sung by her, perhaps has robbed Carnatic music vocalist Bombay Jayashri Ramnath of her sleep, what with the excitement of being nominated for the Oscar. More importantly, it has reinforced her faith in the reach of Indian classical music.

Written, composed and sung by Ramnath, "Pi Lullaby" from the Hollywood film "Life of Pi", has been nominated in the best music original song category for the 85th Academy Awards.

"The Oscar award is never in the minds of Carnatic musicians. But the nomination has reaffirmed my faith that the reach of Carnatic music is much wider than what we normally think," Ramnath told IANS.

Interestingly, her song is the first Tamil song to be nominated for an Oscar.

However, she does not think of what the Oscar nomination might do to brand 'Bombay Jayashri' or to the world of Carnatic music, though lovers of this genre say that there will be renewed interest not only among Indians, but also from the global audience.

Queried on whether it was 'mettuku paatta or paattuku metta' - song written for a set tune or the tune set for the song - she said: "Originally it was 'mettuku paatu' - song for a tune. A framework was given. Later, there was some change and finally it was a mix of both - song for the tune and tune for the song."

She says the song is a combined effort of movie director Ang Lee and Canadian composer Mychael Danna.

"We looked at various words and selected them," she said.

Ramnath says she had no idea that the song would become popular and would get an Oscar nomination.

"The news came as a surprise. I was with my students with my mobile phone on silent mode. I saw several missed calls and came to know about the Oscar nomination through friends and television," she said.

One of her music students who does not want to be named told IANS: "Ma'am was very much thrilled when she heard the news. As a teacher, she pays individual attention even in a group class."

Curiously, Ramnath has sung only the traditional lullaby for her son Amrit when he was a baby.

"In India, we compare child language with musical instruments and nature while cuddling a baby. A baby's utterances are the sweetest things in the world and even great musical instruments cannot compare with that," she said.

The movie "Life of Pi" has bagged 11 Oscar nominations overall.

"It was a great learning experience for me - whether working for this Hollywood movie or with great music composers like Illayaraja, A.R. Rahman, Harris Jayaraj and others," said Ramnath, who is married to a chartered accountant.

According to her, each award or recognition has a special significance and it cannot be said that one is better than another.

Earlier, Ramnath won the Kalaimamani award from the government of Tamil Nadu in 2007, and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for the best female playback singer in 2005, apart from several other awards.

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