The soothing voice of G Venugopal has always mesmerised Malayali music lovers. His songs that often reflected love and pathos never failed to touch the hearts. It is no big surprise that his son, Aravind Venugopal, who grew up listening to his father’s iconic songs, embraced the world of music. Interestingly, father and son belongs to two different eras and their styles too represent the changing trends in music. Venugopal and Aravind, in a candid chat with Manorama Online, speak about their unique interests and recall their fabulous journey in the Malayalam music industry.
The song ‘Etho Varmukilin’ from ‘Pookkalam Varavayi’ became the lullaby that put thousands of children to slumber. It was the first song that Venugopal had sung for veteran composer Ouseppachan. The beautiful lines of the song that are filled with love and kindness for a child were penned by Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri. Venugopal recalls that the song was recorded in 1991. Aravind wasn’t born then. “I still cherish those wonderful moments that I had enjoyed with the music composer and the lyricist,” says Venugopal.
Hridayam and Vineeth
“It was Vineethettan’s dream to release the songs of ‘Hridayam’ in cassettes. He and music composer Hesham had visited Istanbul for recording the instrument bits before the filming started. They saw a few cassette shops on the road sides there. It was at Istanbul that he got the idea to release the songs in cassettes. However, cassettes aren’t produced in India anymore. So, cassettes were imported from Japan,” says Aravind.
Aravind has no qualms in saying that he is in awe of Vineeth Sreenivasan’s amazing personality. So, it was easier working with him. It was Vineeth’s idea that Aravind should sing the song ‘Nagumo’ for Hridayam. “The filming began in 2020 January. We were half way through when the pandemic broke out. All of us got stuck at homes for the next eight months. During that time, I did lots of cover versions of old songs. I used to send those songs to Vineethettan. He listened to my voice through those cover versions. That is how I got the chance to sing ‘Nagumo’,” notes the youngster.
Meanwhile, Venugopal says that in the olden days, everyone including the composer, lyricist, singers and the orchestra would sit together to practise the song before recording. “Everyone would pray to get the song done in just one take. It was a divine moment. Now, when I listen to old songs, I can easily understand the small mistakes. However, it wasn’t possible then to rectify them by doing multiple takes. Now, there is no such problem. Technology can rectify the mistakes that you make while singing,” says Venugopal.
“My earliest memories were of my father not being at home most of the time. He was always busy with recordings and stage shows. I could meet him only rarely. But, I was never upset about it as I got used to that kind of life. I believed that it was like that at everyone’s home,” recalls Aravind with a smile.
Venugopal remembers how his son would fall sick whenever he planned a concert trip. “Rashmi used to say that it was because of a certain sense of insecurity on seeing me leave. Since he couldn’t express his feelings; it reflected in his health. But, Rashmi wouldn’t allow me to drop my travel plans. She gave me courage and support, promising to take care of him. The compromises and hardships suffered by Rashmi had laid the foundation for all my good songs,” says Venugopal.