From tree logging to online musical fame. That would be the story of Rakesh, who became a hit on the Internet with some hobby singing, and won the support of actor Kamal Haasan and singer Shankar Mahadevan.
Rakesh, called Unni by his friends, is a 30-year rubber wood logger who sang ‘Unnai Kaanadhu Naan’ a number from Kamal Hassan-starrer Vishwaroopam during a work break last week, and his friends posted the video on social media. It has been a dizzying spell since then for him, with a call from Kamal’s office inviting him to meet the star-politician. He also has an offer to work on a project, from Shankar Mahadevan.
Meeting Rakesh in Chennai on Tuesday, Kamal Haasan said such prodigious talent should be encouraged. He was moved by what he heard and forwarded the amateur singer’s video to Shankar Mahadevan.
Rakesh said, “Shanker Mahadevan is like a guru. He called and congratulated me from London. He said I have excellent talent and only those with God’s blessings can sing like this.”
“He offered me a chance to work with him after returning from London. I have sent him another video of me singing ‘Kumari’ from Anniyan,” he said.
Rakesh hails from Nooranad in Alappuzha district. His social media-aided rise was supported not just by netizens, but by some big names in the industry, including composers Gopi Sundar and Balabhaskar.
Shankar Mahadevan shared the video of his song and posted on Twitter: “This is called fruit of labour! When we hear this, it just makes me feel so so proud of our country that produces so much talent and is so rich in culture. Who is this guy??? How can I trace him? Need help & would like to work with him.” On Tuesday, he found the man with the help of social media, and promised to take things forward.
“I am a rubber tree logger and load and unload logs. Last week, we were taking rest and one of my friends asked me to sing a song. I was a little bit hesitant, but my friends urged me to sing. Then I sang a number from Vishwaroopam. Shameer recorded it and posted it on social media. It was shared by musician Pandalam Balan and soon went viral,” he says.
Rakesh has not received any formal training in music.
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