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    Never Expected Such Musical Success: Jassie Gift

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004
    The success of Jassie Gift in the Malayalam film industry can only be compared to what A.R. Rahman achieved after his first album "Roja".

    All the songs Jassie composed for Jayaraj''s film "4 The People", especially "Lajjavathiye", have created mass hysteria in Kerala.

    After taking a postgraduate degree in philosophy, Jassie started his research work. It was then that he got a chance to sing in a hotel.

    It was destiny that brought Jayaraj''s brother to the hotel, where he heard Jassie sing. Soon Jassie was composing the background score for Jayaraj''s Hindi film "Bheebhats".

    With the release of "4 The People", he is today one of Kerala''s most admired artistes.

    In an interview with IANS, Jassie said he didn''t expect such success in his wildest dreams and added that his compositions in the near future would be similar as that is what people want right now.

    When you were composing the songs for "4 The People", did you ever think you would get this kind of acceptance and instant stardom?

    No, not even in my wildest dreams did I expect this! At that time, the audio market was very dull. On top of that, the album had no sales value as there were no stars and all of us were quite unknown.

    We had a real tough time. Every music company we approached wanted known singers. They were actually more insistent that all the songs be re recorded with other artistes. Those were the problems we faced then.

    What was in your mind when you were composing the songs?

    I had only the college crowd in my mind, as Jayaraj wanted to target that audience. It was to attract them that we mixed all kinds of music, especially English, in the songs. As you know, today's youngsters listen to and enjoy only that kind of music.

    Were you shocked when Jayaraj asked you to sing the songs?

    I objected to the idea strongly. I had never sung Malayalam songs in my life; I used to sing only English songs in the hotel. I was very, very hesitant but Jayaraj was very insistent. That's how I came to sing the songs.

    From where did you get the first feedback that the songs were different?

    The first reaction came from the cinematographer when the song sequences were being shot. He was of the opinion that the songs were really good.

    It took some time for the album to catch the fancy of the public because we could not sell the album initially. Jayaraj gave the song "Lajjavathiye" to a private television channel. One day, more than 500 people asked for the song to be played repeatedly. That was when we realized it was going to be a major hit.

    The first public function I attended after the song became a hit was the Inter-Collegiate Youth Festival. When I sang the song, both the boys and the girls went wild, and that was my first taste of success.

    Yes, people, especially youngsters, loved your song but in almost all the Malayalam magazines you were severely criticized. How did you take it?

    I feel they were critical because the song deviated from a format that was followed till then. But I chose not to react to such criticisms.

    Were you hurt when the so-called cultural authorities criticised you?

    I chose to ignore all the comments. This is not the first time that they are criticizing. They do not like whatever is accepted by the masses.

    It was reported that you were going to release the same album in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.

    Yes, it is true. "4 The People" will be released in Tamil on June 18. After that, we are releasing both the film and the music album in Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. I am going to sing in all the versions. Let's see how it goes.

    Are you flooded with offers after the huge success of "4 The People"?

    (laughs) I don't know whether you can say I am flooded with offers. I have 10-12 films now.

    Is the stupendous success of "4 the people" a burden on you?

    When I started working on my next album, I was told by everybody not to change the format I followed in "4 the people". People will expect the same kind of songs from me.

    I will try melodious songs much later. If I try to experiment in the early days of my career, it may not succeed. So let me continue like this for some more time. In my second album, "Rain, Rain Come Again", I have followed the same pattern.

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