Babu Antony has enchanted the Malayali audience with his stylish action movies and suave looks. His infectious energy and charming personality often make him the centre of attraction. However, his fans were a bit curious when they saw their favourite action hero crooning some of the timeless melodies in Malayalam, sitting in front of a mike. His cover versions of old Malayalam melodies have been gradually gaining popularity on Youtube. Meanwhile, Babu Antony opens up to Manorama Online about his passion for music and also about his cover song videos.
Babu Antony confesses that he has an unending love for music. Even though he has mostly essayed villain roles or action heroes on screen, he is someone who admires beautiful melodies that are soothing to the ears. He adds that it would be a misconception if anyone thinks that Babu Antony is a fan of fast numbers.
“I am not a great singer. But, I have confidence that I can sing alright; that is why I upload my singing videos on Youtube. The comments that came below the video have made me really happy. Many people asked me where I have been all these years. I feel happy that people are enjoying my songs. I wish to upload more such songs on Youtube as and when I get time,” says Babu Antony.
No idea about fans
The actor says he had hardly realised that he had so many fans and admirers when he was active in the movies. He confesses that he had no idea that lots of people had waited to see him with excitement. “I didn’t know that people used to travel on bicycle, busses or on foot just to watch my movies. I didn’t enjoy any star power then; neither did I try for it. Even though I was excited when people recognised me, I had no idea that their admiration had such a side to it. Years later, it was through social media that I realised how people had admired me. I recognised their love from the comments that they write below my posts. It was really surprising,” notes the actor.
In the olden times, when a movie became a hit, the pictures of the director and some of the actors would appear in the magazines and newspapers. On rare occasions, a radio program would be dedicated for that movie. Babu Antony says that there wasn’t any way to know about his fans’ love or their responses as the promotional events were limited to these. Besides, he was too busy to notice all these. Whenever he got some free time between his busy filming schedules, he used to teach karate and other martial arts. “Anyways, I am really grateful to know that people had loved the villain and his action sequences so much,” smiles Babu.
Old is gold
Babu Antony has a special liking for Malayalam songs of the 90’s. He says he listens to those songs every day. Not just Malayalam, he likes the Tamil and Hindi songs of those times. Even though those songs are his favourites, he is a keen listener of new songs too. However, he isn’t as excited to listen and sing the new songs as much as the old ones. That is the reason why new songs hardly stays in his mind. “There aren’t many new songs that I have listened continuously. Besides, I don’t think the voices of the new age singers, especially male singers, aren’t that manly. I prefer strong, manly voices for the male singers. I think not many singers of this age has that kind of voice. My favourite singer has always been Yesudas. Muhammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Latha Mangeshkar, SP Balasubramanium and KS Chitra are some of my favourite singers. The place where Yesudas lives is just two and a half hours away from my place. He is so close to me, both physically and musically. I have had the good fortune to meet him a couple of times and enjoy his concerts too,” says Babu Antony.
Music is life
Babu Antony currently lives in Houston in the United States. He runs a martial arts academy there. His wife is a well known pianist and music conductor. She sings in the choir too. The couple’s children too are inclined to music and sing well. The actor says their home is always filled with music. However, they haven’t conducted any concerts as a family. They are a normal family that enjoys music. They often attend music concerts just as they go for the movies.
Babu Antony is not a trained singer even though his singing videos have been garnering attention. He was the captain of the college volleyball team. Besides this, he studied Kalaripayattu and was a karate trainer too. So, he didn’t get much time to hone his musical skills. He soon entered the movies and became busier with his career and life. “Now, after becoming the better half of a musician and the father of two kids and settling in life by successfully running the academy, I have decided to revisit my interests,” notes Babu.
Even though there are hundreds of songs that have charmed Babu, the most favourite among them is the song ‘Kya Karum Sajini’ from the Hindi movie Swamy. Meanwhile, it is the evergreen hit Sukhamo Devi in Malayalam. He has sung both these songs and have uploaded the videos on Youtube. Those who are close to him knows his incredible love for music and his talent in singing. However, for others, it came as a surprise. Some people even expressed their surprise through comments on social media.
“My profession is based in the US and Kochi. I fly down to Kochi when I have shooting. I am settled in Houston with my family. I have never felt that I am away from Kerala or from the cinema industry because all it takes is a day to travel from one place to the other. Time has erased the distances between places. Even in the US, people recognise me. In today’s age, we browse in the internet and gather as much information as possible before doing something. The students who enrol at my academy learns everything about me before joining here. They know who I am, what are my movies and even the scenes too,” says Babu Antony.
“In the movies, I haven’t acted in many song sequences. I was the villain in most films. However, I have become part of many films that had good songs. I still remember the filming of the song in the climax scene in the movie Vaishali,” Babu Antony signs off.