Deepak Dev, the only Mollywood composer who collaborated with the late Krishnakumar Kunnath for a Malayalam song 'Rahasyamaay' in the movie Puthiya Mugham, fondly remembers his association with the late playback singer.
He recalls Krishnakumar's love for Malayalam, though he was a Keralite who was raised all his life in Delhi. “Our friendship grew when I was working as an assistant to several music directors in Mumbai. KK, who was a very well established name in the Indian Indie-pop music scenario, would arrive to sing and collaborate for songs with these music directors. I remember I was pleasantly surprised when he told me he was a Malayalee and his full name was Krishnakumar Kunnath. He was so relieved he found a Malayalee with whom he could converse with in Malayalam. There was this longing in him to speak in his mother tongue and it was wonderful to hear him speak in child-like Malayalam,” says Deepak.
According to him, KK never exhibited any signs of being a star. “He was so down to earth. I remember how I used to idolise him when I was a teenager. Though he had such a huge fan following, he was very humble. Beside his work, I respected his personality. There was a lot we could all learn from him,” adds Deepak.
Though Deepak went on to establish himself as a music director, it was in 2009 that he decided to collaborate with KK for the song in the hit movie 'Puthiya Mugham' starring Prithviraj. “It was not because I forgot him. I wanted someone from the industry whose face could resonate with KK's voice and song. For me, that was Prithviraj. I spoke with the actor who was also very happy with the collaboration,” remembers Deepak.
The music composer says he decided to shorten his name as Deepak Dev from Deepak Devaraj after he struck a friendship with the legendary singer. “Like I had said, I was surprised KK's full name was Krishnakumar Kunnath. He was proud of his roots, but he felt his southern name would slightly affect his career in Bollywood, because back then there was this huge difference between the North and the South, which has changed now. People then had this prejudice that a singer with roots in the South may not be able to sing Hindi as well as their Northern counterparts,” he adds.
The music composer says he had hoped to collaborate with KK again. “His sudden death is shocking to me. I was pained, especially after watching his last video which has gone viral on social media. Friends from the music industry in the North told me that he had faced some difficulties before entering the concert. But if you see his last video, you can see how well he was connecting with the audience, despite his discomfort. Even during those moments, it was the people's joy that mattered to him. That just goes on to prove how responsible he was as a performer,” he added.