The Indian born, Bangalore brought up California living middle age Mano Murthy with the massive hit of his maiden music direction ‘America America’ has not been hasty in picking films. He is looking for a distinct stamp in music and he has ‘Music Bank’ ready in his place California ready with over 100 tunes.
The distance of Bangalore and California is not a matter of disturbance for this melody maker Mano Murthy. The only pivotal attachment he gives ‘do something worth remembering for ever’. Had it been anyone else he would have got bizarre of offers from Kannada films. He is not a person who fixes the producers for his traveling expenses which is as much as the remuneration what the present day music director takes.
Then what is he looking for? Right persons who can vibe with his concepts, who can extract a solid work from him and also give an excellent output in his films.
It is difficult to fetch him the Kannada film industry might ask – No says Mano Murthy a resident of United States of America since 1976. He keeps coming here thrice a year and he is easy to find.
We at Chitraloka traced this unsung hero at the audio launch ‘Nanna Preethiya Hudugi’ his second venture in Kannada again for director Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar.
‘I want to take Indian film Music to Hollywood’ is what Mano Murthy aims in forthcoming days. Rarely found unassuming, simple, humble and knowledgeable music director Mano Murthy brief
Could you say when did this brain drain taken place in your life?
After completing my studies in Electrical Engineering in 1976. I did go there for further studies and proficient in Hardware and Software now. I stayed in Link Road Malleswaram studies in St.Joseph’s school and then did my Engineering in Electrical division in UVCE college, Bangalore.
Do you possess any background in Music?
I have a Western classical music degree - a part time course of four years from California is my basic qualification. I scored music for some dramas of Kannada Sanghas. I have brought out three albums – Prema Gaana, Bhava Malika, America Bharatha (lyrics written by N.S.Lakshminarayana Bhatta) – the third one was released as ‘Mareyalaare’ in United States.
I am a percussion player learnt Tabla from internationally acclaimed Zakir Hussainji. I am a music lover of film songs and my favourities are OP Nayyar, Shanker Jaikishen, S.D.Burman, R.D.Burman and in South India I like A.R.Rehman for his pure melody capacity and in Karnataka I like the duo Rajan and Nagendra efficiency.
How did you get in touch with director Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar?
He keeps coming to US. It was during his Kotreshi Kanasu time I met and he saw what I possess and studied my strength and booked for America America in 1995.
Which are the songs you liked most in ‘America America’?
The one I struggled a lot was not my favourite. The song ‘Nooru Janmaku and Yava Mohana Murali.. I liked most.
Is it economically viable for Kannada film producers to book you for films?
Oh Yes. I come on my own go on my own. I won’t stress or insist on my traveling expenses. But what I require is a person like Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar who can understand.
How did the second venture for director Nagathihalli Chandraskehar happened?
He gave me the lyrics in November 1999. I readied in December.
In your visits to India have you not met any director or not got any offers?
I have spoken to some directors. It has to materialize. Till then I don’t want to say anything. Basically I want to work for clean story films. In fact I did not pursue after America America. I don’t want commercial films. Even if it is one film a year it is OK for me. It has to be good at any cost. I have rejected the offer made by producer of ‘America America’ Mr Nandakumar. It was for his film ‘Clinton’. It was a commercial venture.
How do you prepare for scoring music?
I prepare according to the lyrics. Most of the work I do in my studio in California. But the final product has to be done here only. The recording engineers there in US have no taste of the requirements here. Our lyrics and tunes are better for hearing. Technology wise there is not much of difference.
I believe a place like Akash Audio owned by Madhu Bangarappa in Bangalore can produce the perfect sound thought out by a music director. I have my pet Stephen Dharma who helps me a lot. I like soft and music that is very melodious. I am also on the way to score music for love songs for albums.
Are you a permanent music director for Nagathihalli Chandrasekhar?
This is what I cannot say. He as talked to me for one Italian and German project. It is at a premature stage.
You are settled and well off in US?
I am a CEO of a company in California. My wife Lata is a marketing manager for contract manufacturers like Printed circuit boards etc. My 9th grade studying -son Nevin is learning Piano. I have a sweet daughter Sonia studying at 8th grade in California.
Do you keep a tab of Kannada film music?
Off late I have not kept a track. I am raring to take up assignments provided they are clean family films.