'Kanthaa' capturing hearts

By Sreedevi Manohar

Kanthaa: the yearning, a musical offering by Mithun Jayaraj and Nandini R Nair is a leisurely stroll back to our roots. Mithun’s seasoned voice navigates the complex notes of this Swathi Thirunal classic with ease as Nandini brings it to life with the effortless grace of her movements and her captivating expressions, channeling a kaleidoscopic view of our rich artistic and cultural heritage. Even the quiet elegance of the terracotta tiled home nestled in the background is a nod to this nostalgic embrace.

The idea for the song stemmed like most good ones do, from a conversation between two longtime friends. The two have in the past collaborated with each other for a couple of home style videos but having to work from different cities came with its own creative limitations. When Nandini came to Kochi for a short vacation they finally found the opportunity to explore a more substantial milestone.

Kantha thava pizha njan, a Swathi Kriti vocalising a lover’s bereavement and the angst of separation seems to be a befitting theme that resonates with the current predicament of many. Mithun says “Mohiniyattam is Nandini’s forte and we were trying to find a composition in which the visual representation could flow harmoniously with the musical intensity. Kanthaa was a perfect fit and since not many have explored this song till date, it further gave us room for fresh perspectives and interpretations.”

Nandini on the other hand calls stumbling upon this composition ‘serendipitous’, “The Atana raga in itself is so alluring and intense and the poetry is equally stunning. It speaks of the longing for love, the separation at one instance makes a moonlit evening feel like a shower of hot embers. It’s figurative and passionate. And that’s how I interpreted the poem. The objective was to not concentrate on using gestures to communicate the lyrical component of the composition, but instead to go through the emotions of the character.”

Since its release, Kanthaa has been garnering appreciation and praise from all quarters. Mithun is ecstatic about the response, he says “As an artiste you constantly strive to create art that brings the audience joy, something they can make their own and share with others. Kanthaa has certainly fulfilled this vision.”

Indeed it has, with noted names in the industry like Mohanlal, Vineeth Srinivasan, Anna Ben and acclaimed musicians like Gopi Sundar, Sujatha Mohan and Sithara Krishnakumar sharing the song and showering it with praises.

For Nandini ,the joy from the success of the song walks hand in hand with gratitude. “The recognition Kaantha is getting is thrilling and very encouraging. These are difficult times, we need to keep moving forward and we need to create our own happy places. The process of working on the project in itself was so therapeutic , the outcome was almost a secondary thought”. It is probably the joy that went into the making of Kanthaa that resonates with the audience as the song continues to gain popularity, the acceptance at odds with the yearning it portrays.