In a music video, composed by Bijibal, his partner Santhi dances while playback singers Soumya and Sangeeta give their voice.
It didn’t actually feel like an official recording. They were friends who knew each one for years, hummed together in chorus, talked and laughed for times on end. So Santhi, Sangeeta and Soumya were totally at ease when it was advised a video be made of them singing and dancing — all traditional. The suggestion came from Santhi’s singer husband Bijibal who composed the tune for them — Sakaladeva Nuthe. Santhi danced, Soumya and Sangeeta chanted.
“Biji ettan had scheduled that song for Vijayadasami with writer Santhosh Varma. That didn’t take place. So he supposed he will bring it out for Deepavali and casually asked me if a video was probable,” Santhi says, minutes after coming out of her dance school in Padamughal, Kochi. It turns a base below Bijibal’s record studio, with the similar title as his label: Bodhi. “I pursued my dance studies — taking BFA and MFA in Bharatanatyam, and then doing a research on Mohiniyattam — all post wedding, on Biji ettan’s insistence,” Santhi utters. She had learnt classical dance as a youngster, growing up in Abu Dhabi but it is later coming back to Kerala she took it seriously.
She is moreover a regular member of his woman chorus group for films and independent music projects. So we have received her voice from the Chinese chorus in Tharaka Malare for Arabikkatha to the Idukki tunes in Maheshinte Prathikaram. “I sing the lady chorus in the initial tracks.” But she doesn’t call herself a singer. “There are so many brilliant voices out there.”
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Santhi and Soumya also sing in Bijibal’s music group Down To Earth, with another girl called Shweta. “I knew Biji ettan since my school days, and Santhi chechi too. He is the one who announced me to film music with Arabikkatha,” Soumya says.
Her most well-known song was perhaps Mazhanila Kulirumayi from Vikramadithyan, composed again by Bijibal. He also has a long association with singer Sangeeta Srikant, the third face in the video. “It is a relationship of long long years. We are all very neighboring,” she says. Even their names rhyme, all start with S. You also see the bond in the video, with the two singers touching up the dancer’s face before the show begins. All three are in saris, no dance dresses here. “We knew that Santhi chechi danced, but it is the first time we were all performing together,” Soumya states.