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It was four decades ago when three brothers, called Mohan and Brothers, with aspiration entered the Kannada orchestra space with abundance of hope and zeal for achievement.
Mysore Mohan, the head of the troop along with his brothers, then went on to compose music for as many as 25 Kannada movies, and also perform in various Orchestra shows across the state.
Mohan used to work with Sudarshan - a guitarist, C Ashwath, Raju Ananthswamy, SP Balasubramanyam and Gopi, his brother, who was also a famous bass guitarist and a close associate of Hamsalekha.
It was a real blessing and a greater learning curve for the band when they had recursive opportunities of working alongside the iconic legend, Dr. Rajkumar, in various orchestras.
Read on to learn more about the brothers and their experiences in the field of music over the years.
Question: Were you interested in music by nature or was it your parents' will which compelled you to venture into the same?
Mohan Brothers: We had a natural penchant towards music as it was an integral part of our family and our ancestors. The three of us were inquisitive towards music from our childhood days.
Question: When was Mysore Mohan Orchestra launched and what was the source of inspiration?
Mohan Brothers: We were pulled towards music at the tender age of 8. We started the troop during the 1970s. We started our musical programmes in Rama Mandira. We were mostly active in college with our music shows. Our initial days were given a good push by the likes of Ananthaswamy, Kalinga Rao etc., which was then followed by the creation of our own Orchestra troop.
Question: How was your debut experience of composing music for Kiladi Kittu movie?
Mohan Brothers: It was in 1978 that the movie happened. Our elder brother, Ramesh, approached the producer of the movie in Mysore and requested him to offer the chance to us.
For the debut movie itself, we were destined to work in a movie which featured Vishnu Sir and Rajini Sir in the lead. To add more sweetness to it, Yesudas, SPB and Janaki Amma had rendered their voice for the songs in the flick.
There were a section of people who had opined not to gamble on the Orchestra troop as it involved a huge risk commercially. But the producer stood by us and had remarked that he was all game for the risk and would even forgo money if need be.
Question: For how many movies have you composed music? Have you rendered music for Vishnuvardhan, Shankarnag and Ananthnag’s movies?
Mohan Brothers: The tally ranges between 50-60 movies out of which, 15 movies never released. We had the privilege of working for Ananthnag, Shankarnag, Tiger Prabhakar and Vinod Raj's movies. Benki Chandu was the movie where we had associated with Shankar Nag.
Question: You shared a good bond with Dr. Rajkumar. Can you share a few unforgettable incidents from the days of your relationship with the legend?
Mohan Brothers: He is a man who oozes ample patience and maintains his composure. But a fan of the legend had spiked his anger once. We were in Davangere for a concert where Rajanna used to be up by 4 in the morning for his early Yoga sessions. One morning, his fan peeped through the window during Rajanna's Yoga session and had caused utter disappointment to him.
Rajanna's disappointment was because the fan had risked his life by climbing a few floors through a pipe to catch a glimpse of him.
He also added that during the live concert, even if Rajanna slipped a note or two, he had the swiftness to fill the gap and come back to track effortlessly. We never had any added responsibilities or fear of working with a legend. He was knowing his art precisely well and we were fortunate enough to work with him.
Question: Please share your working experience with C Ashwath, Raju Ananthaswamy and SP Balasubramanyam.
Sudarshan: Working with Mr. Ashwath was a mere coincidence. A common friend of Mr. Ashwath and one Mr. Prasad, had recommended me for the post of an Admin Associate in Ashwath's office 15 years ago.
Mr Ashwath later realized that I was a guitarist and asked me to accompany him for his musical shows. The much talked about reality show, Kannadave Satya under the direction and leadership of Mr. Ashwath, could be deemed as a one-time wonder. He is an achiever and would pursue his target no matter how hard it gets.
Raju Ananthswamy, though is younger to me, stood tall with his achievements and talent.
Question: You were a close associate of Hamsalekha. Were you with him during the days of Premaloka and Ranadheera?
Gopi: I started my association with Hamsalekha after a span of 30-35 films of the latter, in the industry. Our collaboration was accidental as the designated bass guitarist from Chennai, who was supposed to work for a Srinath movie, failed to turn up and I was filled in his place for a couple of days until his arrival on the third day.
Upon his arrival on the third day, Hamsalekha insisted me to continue with my work as he did not want to break the continuity and also encouraged me for being a native musician.
It was from this point that we started sailing together. I used to be with him for 18 hours a day and our association marks 23 years. I have composed music for as many as 25 movies and have been bestowed with 5 State awards.
Udbhava, Prachanda Ravana are few of the movies which were composed by me, and I had this opportunity of composing music to 5-6 movies of Musari Krishnamurthy. Recently, Anuradha Bhat was bestowed with Best Playback Singer award for the movie Little Master, which was once again composed by me.
Question: Do you feel Hindi Singers are given utmost prominence while Kannada Singers are being side-lined?
Mohan Brothers: Even the Hindi land is inundated with many talented musicians. But the regional talents should be given more opportunities as the same was always vouched and practised by Hamsalekha. He used to audition hundreds of technicians and artists, and gave preference to Kannada artists.
Rajesh Krishnan, Nanditha, Hemanth are the testimonials for the same and we wish that the regional talents are encouraged more.
Question: Your favourite Kannada song?
Mohan Brothers: Dr. Rajkumar's Aadisi Nodu Beelisi Nodu from Kasturi Nivasa.
Question: Your word of advice for the young and upcoming singers and music directors?
Mohan Brothers: Film-makers back then were specific about the music and lyric rendition, unlike the present day. The present day songs are more of noise than sound. Even the lyrics doesn't appeal well these days as it just attracts the audience temporarily but would not linger for a long time in the ears. Yesteryear songs were soulful and had in-depth message which only prompts the present generation kids to use the same in TV reality shows.
Sudarshan: We have a good bunch of talented kids who are required to be groomed well. With the advent of TV reality shows, kids appear confused and it would be the responsibility of parents to enroll kids in good music schools for better training.
Gopi: Time has evolved and the trend has changed. Youth of the present generation are inclined towards today's music. Music of today will have good life if melody of yesterday is respected and retained.
*Interview By Balaraj Tantri