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About Aswath
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C. Aswath has contributed vastly towards theatre, films and sugama sangeeth.

In Theatre

He entered the world of theatre music by scoring the music for Ku. Vem. Pu's Smashana Kurukshetra.

Aswath went on to experiment in theatre music by performing in productions like Othello, Mid Summer Nights Dream, Caucasian Chalk Circle and others.

Aswaths contribution to theatre music has been inspired by folk music. He has been a part of over 34 productions in Karnataka. Experimentation has always been the hallmark of his music. Some notable experiments include:

  • Using just human voices for the kannada version of All My Sons
  • Using jazz music for kannada version of Caucasian Chalk Circle
  • Using percussion instruments for Mricchakatika
  • A fusion of Hindustani and Karnataki music for Bhairavi, and adaptation of Amadeus

His achievement in theatre music in Karnataka has earned him a fellowship from the Karnataka Nataka Academy in 1994.

In Films

Aswath entered the film world when his friends in Nataranga decided to bring the popular play Kalkanakote on celluloid.

Over the last decade, he has scored music for more than 20 films in kannada and the very fact that half of them have won either the National or State Government awards, proves his ingenuity in music.

Besides scoring music, his concept of 'total film' is evident by his participation in screenplay writing for such films as Santa Shishunala Sharifa, Mysoru Mallige, Chinnari Mutta and Kotreshi Kanasu, which went on to win State and National Awards.

Aswath has personally received many awards including the prestigious State Government Award and the Filmfare Award. Many of the films he has worked in have also received State and National Film Awards.

Nagamandala is a movie in which, apart from wielding the baton, he also shares the credit for screenplay writing. Nagamandala stands as an unique experiment with 17 songs that depict the story.

Few press remarks about the music in Nagamandala:

  • Indian Express
    The music provides an important dimension to the movie. Aswath's repertoire is so vast and abundant that you seldom find a Rahman or a Bhupen Hazarika here.

  • Times of India
    Aswath's mastery of folk music imparts such a lyrically fullsome touch that one will go back over for songs.

  • Deccan Herald
    Music Score by Aswath is impressive. As many as 17 short songs featured in the film actually give the movie an uncommon aura.

Aswath has also been a well-known playback singer. He has lent his voice for a number of films with music scored by vetern music directors like G.K. Venkatesh, Raan-Nagendra, Vijaya Bhaskar, Rangarao, Hamsalekha, Manohar and Ilayaraja.

In Sugam Sangeet

Aswath's contribution to Sugam Sangeet earns him a special place with legendary personalities such as Kalingarao and Mysore Anantaswamy. So much so, today Aswath is a synonym to Sugam Sangeet in Karnataka.

As a composer, Aswath has brought a refreshingly new approach to Sugam Sangeet based on his proposition that the lyric is themost powerful element and the moving spirit behind the music in Sugam Sangeet. He has evolved his own unique style of rendering Sugam Sangeet, which has delighted the listeners.

His most outstanding contribution to both music and literary fields lies in his introducing and popularising the first Muslim poet in Karnataka, Shishunala Sharifa, known as Kabir of Karnataka. He has recorded eight cassettes comprising of 72 songs.

Since, 1980, he has produced 77 audio cassettes through which he has popularised the poetic works of Kuvempu, Da Ra Bendre, Narasimhaswamy, D.V.G. Gopalakrishna Adiga, G.S. Shivaradruppa, Lakshminarayana Bhatta, Venkatesha Murthy, Lakshmana Rao and others. If more than a crore of kannadigas hum poetry all over Karnataka, the credit should certainly go to Aswath.

Aswath also takes the credit of having written the first ever book on Sugam Sangeet, defining the form and detailing the techniques, nuances of the form, defining the role of the composer vis-a-vis the poet or the writer. While taking the credit, he has also squashed the doubts of many pundits who questioned the existence of the discipline called Sugam Sangeet. Apart from winning many an accolade from both critics and common readers, the book also won Aswath an award from the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy.

He has been awarded the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award and also the Santa Shishunala Prashasti, the highest state award, for his contribution to music in Karnataka.


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