For Anoop Seelin, associating songs to his many moods has become an involuntary habit. “It’s like this, as I hear you interview me, I already have a song playing in my mind that suits my reaction to your voice,” he says. Most definitely, tunes, notes and songs are Anoop’s life.
“Name any song, 1960 onwards - be it Mohammed Rafi’s, Kishore Kumar’s, Manna Dey’s, Hemant... Mukesh. Or Hamsalekha’s compositions, I have them all on the top of my mind,” says the Kannada music composer and singer.
“In fact, often upon listening to my music, people tell me that they can sense a unique quality to it. I think they refer to this mix of influences that is constantly running in my mind and how I experiment with it.”
Film compositions aside, Anoop takes in a lot of classical music, attending as many concerts he can in Bangalore. On the other hand, Iranian, Turkish and Sufi tunes have caught his ear. “I am truly lost in my own world of music,” he says.
Anoop is possibly being modest about his music madness, the result of a passion doubling as a profession. Working late into the night “when the stillness inspires me best”, Anoop sleeps for only three to four hours a day. “The rest of the time I am working, working and working. I am not very religious, but I believe making music is my worship.”
Anoop is among the flavours of the season in Sandalwood, his latest chartbusters being songs from the film Parari. He’s got his hands full with projects among which are Neer Dose, Rose and Bhagyaraja.
“I feel an intense challenge in being a music composer for Kannada films. It’s time we took our music to the world stage. Right now, listenership is restricted, that needs to change,” he says.
Music does more than drive Anoop’s ambitions, “It makes me a different person too. I have noticed that I tend to empathise with most people, perhaps it’s because I am thinking of songs for all kinds of situations, for all kinds of people. Music lets me enjoy a direct connection with life around me. This makes me a very calm and composed person too. For instance, rarely will I react to rude behaviour or harsh words with anger.”
This quiet within requires some effort. Anoop is not one to have earphones on all the time. “When I am driving or at home, I am particular about music being played at a low volume. The reason being that in the studio, where the volumes are high, I need my senses fresh and ears sensitive to the sounds I hear,” he says. And though Anoop is inclined towards soft lyrical songs, he has to compose all genres, including the dance numbers. “But you don’t realise that even these fast-paced songs have moments of quiet.”
He says, “Take Rukmani, Rukmani from Roja (Anoop counts the film’s composer A R Rahman as his inspiration, along with Illayaraja and Hamsalekha). Before the drums set in, there’s a slow chant by the elderly voice. That is silence.”
As we hum the tune, he breaks into a mini-performance. Music takes over Anoop yet again.