Twitter unearths a playback singer
An interview of Rakesh Unni Nooranad, the daily wage timber worker from Alappuzha, who rose to fame through his beautiful cover of Unnai Kaanadhu Naan from Vishwaroopam
At a time when social media is defined by its negativity, here's a rare story to put a smile on your face. For the last two days, Twitter has been abuzz with the viral video of an unknown man casually, but beautifully, singing Shankar Mahadevan's Unnai Kaanadhu Naan from Kamal Hassan's Vishwaroopam. There was no need for an orchestra; his voice was enough.
The video of this workaday man began getting circulated, and soon enough, celebrities like Kamal Haasan, Shankar Mahadevan, Vignesh Shivn, and CS Sam were sharing it too. Eventually, it came to light that the man in the video was Rakesh Unni Nooranad, a daily wage timber worker from Alappuzha. His friend Shameer had recorded and uploaded the video online.
Shankar Mahadevan apparently personally called him to compliment him, and noted composers Gopi Sunder and Ghibran have since expressed their wish to work with him. Rakesh also met Kamal Hassan today evening in Chennai.
When we contacted Rakesh, he said,"I've been following Shankar Mahadevan sir's work for a long time. I'm a huge fan of his and his work is an inspiration for me. I see him as my guru," he says, explaining his choice of song. "When he called me, I couldn't believe my luck. I've been getting plenty of calls actually, and I don't mind it at all. Something like this happening to an ordinary guy like me. I can only attribute it all to god's grace."
Rakesh, who's not formally trained, believes that singing runs in his blood and credits his family for encouraging and compelling him to participate in light music competitions during his school days. He shares he's also good at playing the chenda, and has the backing of an association called the Nooranadanmar Souhrida Koottayma. The association's page online has taken to sharing his earlier recordings to his new fans.
Given his choice of a Tamil song in the video, I ask if he watches a lot of Tamil films. Rakesh says, "I'm a big fan of Rajini sir, Kamal sir, and Vijay sir. Though I see Rajini sir as a role model, I love all three of them equally. I can't say that one actor is better than the other. I loved Kamal sir's Indian, Guna, Thevar Magan, and Thenali; Rajini sir's Thalapathi, Baasha, and Kabali; Vijay sir's Thullaatha Manamum Thullum and Pokkiri. I'm also a fan of Dhanush. I liked his Maryan a lot." And now, there's a good chance that Rakesh could begin singing for these stars. Composer CS Sam -- of Vikram Vedha fame -- has already announced that he will be using Rakesh for an album. Shankar Mahadevan too has expressed interest. Sometimes, just sometimes, social media doesn't seem so bad.