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# Adapted from The Hindu article after the National Film awards
# for 1995 were announced. Unnikrishnan got the best male
# singer award for the song "Ennavale Adi Ennavale" from the
# movie "Kathalan".

	Unnikrishnan had not fully recovered from the jet lag for 
only  hours before the interview, he had returned from  the  U.S. 
The  news  of his being the recipient of the national  award  was  p73 
conveyed to him when he was in the U.S. Soft spoken  Unnikrishnan 
started  singing  at the age of six. ``I used to  put  the  talam 
correctly  at a tender age of three itself and at six, I  started 
singing devotional songs. My first guru was V. L. Seshadri. After 
learning  for  a  few years I lost interest  in  Carnatic  music. 
Cricket  was  my passion. My mother insisted that  I  must  learn 
music.  So  I started learning music seriously. I joined  Dr.  S. 
Ramanathan  as his student. I learned a lot from him.  After  his 
death his student Savithri Sathyamoorthy was my teacher.''

	Unnikrishnan  said he was a founder member of  the  Youth 
Association  for  Classical music. ``This Association  helped  me 
know  more  about Carnatic music. T. Vishwanathan and  T.  Brinda 
selected  me  for a workshop which was very useful  and  made  me 
understand  the aesthetic sense in Carnatic  music,  particularly 
the Veena Dhanammal style.''

	How  did he get a break in films? Music  director  Rahman 
after  hearing his classical singing offered him the  ``Kadalan'' 
song  ``Enavale Adi Enavale''. The first song itself has got  him 
the  national award. ``As far as the award winning two songs  go, 
the  credit goes to Rahman and the lyric writer Vairamuthu. I  am 
happy that Vairamuthu has also bagged the award this year.

	Why  do you sing only melodious or serene songs  but  not 
the  popular  variety of pop or rap? He feels that  only  certain 
types of song suit him. ``If I think the song will not suit me  I 
tell  the  music director concerned or the director of  the  film 
that  the song can be recorded with some other singer.  I  choose 
the song or my music director selects the songs for me. They  all 
know that I am basically a classical singer.''

	But  why  sing  film songs? ``What is  wrong  in  singing 
them?'' Pat came the reply from Unnikrishnan. ``When the song has 
a  Carnatic base, I love to sing it. In terms of classical  music 
you  are saved as long as you maintain the tradition. I  used  to 
sing light music numbers before becoming a classical singer.  Now 
I have decided not to sing film songs on stage but only  Carnatic 
music.  For me classical singing is meant for the stage and  film 
songs only for the recording theatre. Both are different in their 
own way.''

	Is  it  easy  to sing film  songs?  Certainly  not,  says 
Unnikrishnan. He feels that after every song, he feels he  should 
have done a better job. ``It is not very easy to sing film songs. 
You  need  some experience. The mikes are really  sensitive.  You 
must learn the song and give your best in two hours.''

	It is not surprising that Unnikrishnan is a fan of singer 
Jesudas   the  man who sings both Carnatic and  film  songs  with 
equal felicity.

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