‘Namma kannada singers V/S BTown Singers’

THE recent report about Bollywood singer Sonu Niggaam cutting an album in Kannada has sparked off a debate in the Kannada industry. Local singing talents have expressed displeasure over music directors giving preference to Bollywood singers and “ignoring” them, to the extent that they’re holding a protest tomorrow.

It has become a trend for producers in Sandalwood to use “Bombay music artistes” to sing for their films. “The market for Kannada films is small and local singers have to make do with limited work,” rues music director Rajesh Ramnath. “Our singers are more talented than the ones from Mumbai. They take just 45 minutes for a recording while Bollywood singers take more than two hours because they have to get the diction right,” points out Rajesh. Although Rajesh has earlier used BTown names for his films, he clarifies, “I’ve stopped doing so for the past year because I’m concerned about the situation.”

Shamita Malnad, the voice behind Nannale Naanilla, agrees that local singers are neglected. “If you compare us with singers in Hyderabad and Chennai, we’re way ahead,” says Shamita. “When there are singers available to suit all singing styles, why do producers still seek names from Bollywood?” she asks. According to another singer, Nandita Rakesh, Bollywood singers aren’t grateful to the Kannada industry for promoting them. “I’ve watched so many of their interviews and not one of them mentions having worked on Kannada projects,” she says. But give local talent a similar opportunity, and they’ll take brand Kannada to another level, promises Nandita. “Any incorrect pronunciation and style by a Bollywood singer is liked and promoted. But in Mumbai, unless you have a typical north Indian style of singing, they don’t hire you for a jingle, let alone a song,” says Rajesh Krishnan, one of the most popular Kannada singers in the industry. But debutant director and screenplayscriptwriter of Mungaru Male, Preetham Gubbi, feels Bollywood singers have a better market than local talent. “And it’s not because filmmakers are pushing them. These singers have had back-to-back hits and have become so popular among fans that we have to keep going back to Mumbai for more,” explains Preetham. Which is why he’s used the who’s who of B-Town’s singing talent, including Sonu, Kunal Ganjawala, Udit Narayan, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Goshal, for his upcoming Haage Summane. “Nobody can lend the feel to a song like Sonu or sing a rock song like Sunidhi,” he asserts.

According to a source in the industry who wishes to remain anonymous, “Everybody knows that Rajesh Krishnan takes three days to return a call. I’m worried that if BTown singers are banned from singing here, then Rajesh might switch off his phone because he’ll be inundated with work! Besides, there aren’t many singers other than Hemanth and Rajesh. How much versatility can you expect from just two singers?” he asks.

Audio companies also have their take on the issue. While Mohan Chabria of Anand Audio feels that Bollywood singers have an edge over their local counterparts, Velu of Lahari Audio feels that, “local singers aren’t given adequate opportunities to prove themselves.”

A sentiment echoed by Huduga Huduga singer, Chaitra HG. “Namma singers could’ve done a better job with most of the hit numbers rendered by Bollywood singers. Many of them were so easy that anybody could’ve sung them. It doesn’t need a Bollywood name to make a chartbuster.”

Her only request? “Before producers head to Mumbai in search of singing talent, just think of local singers and give them a platform to excel too.”


• Anisutide — Sonu Niggaam

• Neene Neene — Kunal Ganjawala

• Thara Thara — Shaan

• O Gunavantha — Shreya Goshal

• Gubbachi Goodinalli — Udit Narayan


• Usire Usire, Kariya I Love You — Rajesh Krishnan

• Huduga Huduga — Chaitra HG

• Ayitha Lakadi, Jopana Rathri Aithu — Shamita Malnad


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