CHENNAI: Two individuals from dissimilar backgrounds and geographical settings share one thing in common — the drive to do what they love. One, a Carnatic music enthusiast who moved to Chennai from the US out of love for the art; the other, a Charted Accountant-turned-stock broker-cum-creative investor. Meet noted Carnatic musician Sandeep Narayan and creative investor C Srikanth, who will be in conversation at the Bliss Catchers even, today.
Coming from a conservative family, it was expected off Srikanth to become a CFO in an MNC, driving a fancy car, and living in a bungalow with a fat paycheck fancy. But the man in questions had different plans. Unplanned and unreserved, things changed for the better for him. “From being a CA, the next 25 years of my life was spent in making a career in stocks and the financial market. To be honest, I enjoyed every bit of it,” he shares.
But towards the end, for almost 10-15 years, Srikanth was involved in projects that are creative and break traditional formats. “Stock broking wasn’t easy and definitely not predictable. After a long stint in making and losing money, I wanted to invest in creative endeavours, though I don’t see myself as a ‘creative’ person,” he quips.
And as the opportunity arrived, he went on to produce films like Margazhi Raagam (2008), featuring Bombay Jayashri and TM Krishna and One (2015) featuring TM Krishna, through his company Agal Films. “If someone asks me what I do, I genuinely find it difficult to answer… I don’t like labels,” says the co-founder of the NPO, Altius Foundation.
For Sandeep, who comes from a family with a music background, falling in love with Carnatic music was natural. But what no one anticipated was his decision to pursue it as a career. “My entire family loved music yet, nobody took it up as a career,” he says. Most of his childhood was spent going back and forth from US to India and vice versa to learn music. “Though my academics was in the US, I used to come here to learn music, go back and practice there. Even when I was in high school, I came here again to learn more from Sanjay Subrahmanyan and he gave me the idea to take my passion to the next level,” he recalls.
As the idea grew in his head, Sandeep completed his undergraduate programme in law from the University of California and moved to Chennai in 2006, thus foraying into the Carnatic music scene. “One hurdle was that it was unheard for someone to have come from America and learn the music and settle here for the art. It took time for me to convince the music community that I was here to stay and that I won’t go back,” he says. “But, after four years, I got rid of the tag as just a guy from America and people started seeing me as serious musician.”
During the chat, the duo discovers a similar quality in each other. “I am very impulsive and I don’t plan things. I go with what happens and that has panned out well for me. Stereotypes and clichés bother me a lot!” grins Srikanth, and Sandeep opines, “It’s been exactly 10 years since I came here and I wouldn’t have been able to plan the last 10 or even two years in my life. In the next five years, I wouldn’t know what I’ll be doing – definitely music, but at what level, I don’t know. And I like it that way.”As we look for some advice on how to deal and mitigate risks similar to what they’ve faced, they say: “Well, we have no advice but a lot of opinions. Let us just say, follow your bliss!”
Catch the duo at Odyssey bookstore, Adyar. For details, call: 24402264