Manikanth Kadri: Carrying music legacy forward, while carving out a niche

Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Sep 6: Children of celebrity parents often have to carry the burden of living up to the expectations of the society which soar sky high depending on the parent’s celebrity status. Whether they like it or not these children are constantly observed, scrutinised and compared to their parents. Just like there are exceptions to every rule there are children who shoulder the burden with élan and carve out their own niche in similar or different fields of their parents to emerge successful.

Manikanth Kadri, son of legendary Saxaphone player Padmashri Dr Kadri Gopalnath, who debuted as a music director in films in 2006, is now a leading name in film music industry in the south. Since his debut, he has worked for almost 30 films - in all the major languages of South India including Tulu and also in some Hindi films which are under production.

Value Addition

It is a matter of great pride for Mangalureans that a musician of his calibre is one of the judges for the excitedly awaited ‘Mangalore Idol 2015’ singing reality show presented by Big Time Creations in association with Daijiworld 24x7 which is already underway. The preliminary rounds of the second edition of Mangalore Idol began on a high note on August 15, 2015 and the grand finale is slated for later this year. Manikanth Kadri was also one the judges for the hugely popular and successful first edition of Mangalore Idol 2014 and his involvement as one of the judges added credence to the show. Having realised his strength the organizers have once again roped him as one of the judges.

Preetham M N, partner of Big Time Creations defending the choice of Manikanth as judge points out "Mani represents the new generation music, is a crowd puller and is a youth icon. So we have roped him as judge for our reality show for the second time in succession. Naturally the reality show has attracted lot of young talent. Moreover, the fact that Mani will be able to provide a proper platform for a few talented singers he comes across from among the participants in the show has been an added attraction."

Incidentally, Mangalore Idol is not the only reality show judged by Manikanth Kadri. He was the guest judge at the hugely popular and successful "Ede Thumbi Haadu" along with iconic S P Balasubramaniam and Jayanth Kaikini. When asked whether he felt the pressure of living up to the expectations, Manikanth candidly admits, "I never faced any problem except that the pressure was not to spoil my father’s hard earned reputation as a musical genius. In fact my father has been my inspiration and he never pressurised me into doing anything. As such I was free to choose my own path and by god’s grace I have reached this stage".

Music Career by Choice

It can be safely said that music runs in his blood being born as the second son with a legendary Kadri Gopalnath and Sarojini, a teacher who was also a Veena player. His elder brother Guru Prasad Kadri who is also a flutist is in Dubai working for UAE exchange as area manager. His younger sister Ambika Mohan is a violinist/vocalist and is in charge of Kadri Music Academy that trains aspirants in Carnatic music. Having grown in a musical environment it was natural that Manikanth took to music at a young age. His father wanted him to learn music in a systematic way and put him in the hands of Srinath Marathe (late) who was a staff artiste at Akashanvani Mangalore, to learn Carnatic classical. It really helped and learnt the rudiments of music under his guru. Having gained sufficient training and confidence he decided to opt for music as a career and has been going strong since then.

After his graduation from Shri Gokarna Natheshwara college, Manikanth who went on to do diploma in computer science knew that he was not made up for a regular 9 to 5 job. "By now I knew that I would take music as a career. I was very much attracted to computers and electronic music production. I learnt the basics of electronic music production and recording techniques from Prince of Arcot Asif Ali and then everything fell into places," asserts this talented youth icon who has worked for almost 30 films as music director in all the southern languages and composed music for over 100 radio and TV jingles.

Manikanth Kadri showcased his inherent music talent at a young age with his first musical work - an instrumental fusion album with his father Dr Kadri Gopalnath. The albhum "Dream Journey" brought out in 2001 became such a rage; they had to release 4 volumes of it to meet the demand. That was the kind of fillip Manikanth needed and having tasted success from the very first go he began producing independent albums, short films, jingles and corporate films. This experience of working in different fields proved to be the stepping stone for his foray in film music that began with English movie Tantrik Journal which bagged 8 international awards.

Manikanth who considers his father Kadri Gopalnath as godfather in the music field incidentally did not have any exposure of film music before he took to music field as a career. "But I have been an ardent listener of film music and my specialisation is melody and soft music", he explains. His first entry into commercial films was through the Malayalam movie "Smart City", directed by Unnikrishnan followed by many other films. He made his debut in Kannada films KVR Krishna’s "Ganesha" directed by Dinesh Babu. This opened the floodgates of Kannada film industry to young and upcoming musician Manikanth Kadri who went on to give background scores to many Kannada films such as "Savari 1" and "Savari 2", "Prithvi", "Ijjodu" "Maduve Mane", "Ganesha" "Crazy Loka", "Cool Ganesha", "Swayamvara", "Radhana Ganda" "Jaathre" and many more.

Despite working with some of the best names in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films Manikanth says he was overjoyed when he was asked to score music for a Tulu film. "I consider it an honour and privilege to score music for Tulu films. As a Mangalurean I always wanted to stay connected to my language and when opportunity came knocking I grabbed it. Tulu film industry is growing exponentially and I want to contribute my share to the industry. It is my good fortune that the films "Rang"and "Chali Polilu" for which I have scored music and background music are a huge hit". Manikanth has also orchestrated music for Devdas Kapikad’s yet to be released Tulu film "Chandi Kori".

Background Music – Like Salt to Dish

Manikanth opines that scoring background music is quite an onerous task as compared to giving music. He explains: "Background music is like adding proper amount of salt to a dish. Adding a little more can spoil the dish whereas a little salt can render the dish tasteless. Does he feel any difference working in film industries of different tastes? "All industries are similar yet different in their own way. But all industries are equally challenging demanding the best from us. At the same time we mustn’t forget that taste differs from state to state and language to language. Basic earthiness differs because of cultural variations. The composer has the bear the humungous responsibility of striking the right kind of balance. It is also the responsibility of the composer to compose music keeping all categories of people in mind. People should understand the work of the composer rather than trying to understand the musical knowledge of the composer. That is the greatest challenge for a composer."

Manikanth is now occupied preparing for live performance of musical programmes. He is toying with the idea of starting a record label focusing primarily on non-filmy music. "My motto is to live a complete meaningful music life", says a musically inclined Manikanth.

Apart from music, Manikanth was a passionate cricket player. But a dislocated shoulder led to his giving up his passion. He also loves playing snooker and has a penchant for water sports. Married to Adithi with two children Avyukth and Anika, Manikanth unwinds by listening/learning music and also by exploring and experimenting other genres of music.

With such dedication and yearning to explore and experiment we can vouch that Manikanth Kadri is sure to write his name in the annals of Indian music.


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Comment on this article

  • sid, mangalore

    Mon, Sep 07 2015

    best wishes are always with you

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [2]

  • Sandesh Shetty, Jeppu/Bangalore

    Mon, Sep 07 2015

    I like your Back ground Music in the Movie Savaari-2 ..
    Ninna Danigaagi Ninna Karegaagi Ninna Saluvaagi Kaayuve...
    Theera Balibanda Neenu Nangondu Sojigadanthe Kaanuve...

    and also BGM of ' Saradani ande dunipu ' from the Tulu Movie 'Rang -

    All the best Sir for your Future Endeavors

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [3]

  • Prem Moras, mangalore

    Sun, Sep 06 2015

    Congrats Manikanth...Nice to see you as successful musician. I still remember those old days playing clarinet together in St Aloysius college Band.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [7]


    Sun, Sep 06 2015

    Manikanth Kadri.
    Mangaluru Pride.
    Best of luck.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [13]

  • Alok, kadri

    Sun, Sep 06 2015




    Reply Report Abuse Agree [15]

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