In this fast paced, superficial world, happiness and peace are two elusive entities that man has been continually chasing since eras, in vain! Happiness has often been wrongly perceived as being directly proportional to success; and success has often been equated with the material trophies that one clinches during one's lifetime. A great job with an MNC is still regarded by youth across the world as the most important yardstick to measure success. It is not every day that you come across a young man who put aside a promising career with the iconic Warner Brothers in USA to chase his passion! For Ramesh Vijayan, born to artistic parents, raised in an environment of art, perhaps this act of courage was simply an instinctive digression. Talking to him revealed that his decision was sparked by the desire to do something more purposeful and fulfilling in his life! Read on to know more about him.
Can you describe your entry into the world of music and films?
My mother, Mrs. Rathi Vijayan is a dance teacher so she started dance classes for me at the age of 5 and there was no escaping that and by 7 I was already performing dance for stage shows in Kuwait. Around the same time I started going for Carnatic vocal classes under Sadanandan Payyur and also started classes for drums and Karate. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to perform drums with Cochin Kalabhavan at the age of 12 and when I was in Higher Secondary, I was also the Kalaprathibha for 3 consecutive years which fueled my passion towards music and films and boosted my confidence to think of it as a career choice.
Movies were always a huge part of my life. I have always been mesmerized by the power of visual language and how a thought from scratch can be brought out and conveyed to millions irrespective of language or boundaries.
2) Your inspirations this far?
Anyone and everyone who has had a positive influence on me are all my inspirations. If I have to name them there is going to be a lot of people but I would definitely say my father first, who is my role model and my strength.
In movies, it would have to be Mohanlal, Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth for sure and in music, definitely AR Rahman and Michael Jackson.
3) You are an IT professional and you left a great career to plunge into music and films in what could be termed an act of courage. Why did you do so and where did the strength come from?
I would not term that as an act of courage as I was only chasing my dream. It can be very difficult to get into an industry where you do not have a Godfather. But Cinema has always been my dream and I always wanted to see myself as an actor from a very young age but never told anyone because I did not know how they would react and did not want their reaction to scare me from dreaming higher. But the decision to get into this right now by taking a break from my IT job that I was doing in California definitely comes from the love, encouragement and strong support that I got from my family at home. My father, P. Vijayan, my mother, Rathi Vijayan and my wife, Archana who I believe are my biggest strengths and motivators. Support from family and home come first but beyond that I had that strong urge and drive to follow my passion or at least give it a shot before it’s too late at being an actor. This is what I have tried to convey through my latest musical ‘Rising Sun’ too.
4) How receptive have people been to the wonderful musicals you have done?
By God’s grace, I have received only wonderful responses to the musicals encouraging and motivating me to pursue and push harder to get better with every musical that I conceive.
5) Can you talk about the musical 'I Miss You'?
The music for ‘I Miss You’ was done 4-5 years ago by my Music Co-director Mithun Mohan and me. At the time, the song was conceived as a melodious break up song and did not have the bridge (The portion performed by the female vocalist in the original track). I always loved the song but I just could not get into 'sync' with the sad ending of the track. In today’s world, we are often bombarded with a lot of negativity in person or through media. Hence, Mithun and I, once again sat together to compose and add the bridge. This gave me the opportunity to widen my thought process and as I did not want to conceptualize it in the cliched girl - boy romance storyline and being a pet lover myself, it didn’t take too long for me to come up with idea of portraying the bond between a cat and a dog through this wonderful ballad. Cats and Dogs have lived through history bearing the crucifix of enmity that man has thrust on them and through this musical I wanted to show that, if these 'born enemies’ can love and respect each other, why can’t we humans do the same?
6) Have you thought of venturing into a playback musical career as well or do you see it as a launch pad into films
I initially did think of music as a launch pad into films to begin with because I did not know how else to get any contacts in the movie industry.
Music composing happened to me during my College days in NIT, Calicut. That is where I met Mithun Mohan, my Co-composer with whom I used to spend most nights in hostel composing music till dawn and then head straight to class only to come back to the music room in the evening to continue composing. We got the opportunity to compose the theme song for our cultural festival, ‘Ragam’ which was the beginning of my musical journey. The song received great appreciation and response and to this day still serves as the Theme song for the festival. Recently, I did get the opportunity to sing for a couple of Tamil movies which are yet to be released. I do want to venture out and try my prospects at playback singing too along with my acting career. Both are very dear to me.
7) Can you talk about your film career?
As of now I have only started looking out for opportunities in films full time so it is very early to say anything about it. But I did meet a number of film directors and technicians through my friends, who have been very supportive and helpful. I did a small scene for an upcoming Malayalam movie slated to release in February. It is all about meeting the right people, at the right time, at the right place. Everything has to come together in this industry for something to work out but I am feeling very positively about this whole experience and am very excited about it.
8) Can you talk about your philosophy of life, if any?
Life is a wonderful stage full of opportunities and choices. We just need to pursue it and grab it at the right moment.
My philosophy in life is all about staying positive, sharing positivity and spreading happiness. I love to laugh and spread that to people around me because I strongly believe it is the best thing you can do to inspire or cheer someone. The bigger the platform you have, the better and a greater number of people you can touch with your positivity. So, this industry being in the limelight also helps with that.
9) Do you think art can help bridge the chasm between human minds?
I do feel that art, music, films - all play an influential part in people’s life. It does definitely help in creating a positive influence in human minds because it did to me. A song composed with the right intent or a movie with the right message can definitely make the listener or viewer question their own thoughts and ideologies or at least inspire them to think from a different tangent; an open-minded attitude which is a dire necessity in today’s world.