Jayanth Kaikini and his chemistry with words, lyrics

Literature is bliss. And so is music. When someone can treat you with a delightful combination of both, so much so that you end up pondering over and over and developing a fondness for every other line that is composed, it means the person is truly gifted.  One such littérateur in Kannada is Jayanth Kaikini, who has taken up writing at a young age and has already reached excellence. The Karnataka Sahitya Academy rewarding him with its annual award four times proves that he is a gifted soul. 

Star of Mysore had an opportunity   to meet Kaikini when he was at Suruchi Ranga Mane in Mysuru to recite stories to children recently. The lyricist speaks to us about his works, movies, his thoughts on literature and more. Excerpts…

By Ambika Nagaraj

Star of Mysore (SOM): You received your first Karnataka Sahitya Academy award when you were just 18. What inspired you towards literature and writing?

Jayanth: Firstly, I believe that life itself is an inspiration. And any simple incident that occurs, the people you meet, a song or a story that you listen to, a book that you read or even a simple or a mundane situation that you come across in life could kindle the passion within you towards your interests. I too got inspired in such a way.

SOM: What is literature to you? How special does it mean to you?

Jayanth: Literature, I feel, is magic in itself. It may appear to be mere writing to some, but it has many things to teach us. And most importantly, literature is what makes us human and knowledgeable while it also helps us understand the simplicity of life. It enlightens us with broader perspectives of imagination.

SOM: You studied and specialised in biochemistry and even worked in the field for many years. What made the chemist in you drift towards Kannada literature?

Jayanth: People like me see art in the subject of science, as much as we see the same in writing. I worked as a chemist for several years after I completed my master’s degree in biochemistry from Karnataka University, Dharwad and enjoyed every bit of my work. You can, in fact, notice that several famous Kannada littérateurs have written on science.

Dr. Shivarama Karanth has authored books and short stories on scientific literature and even authored four huge volumes of science encyclopaedia while Rashtrakavi Kuvempu pioneered in the study of sciences. There are many such Kannada writers who have shown interest and worked in the field of science as we often feel these subjects are no different from the subject of art for us.

SOM: What literature compositions are you working    on lately?

Jayanth: I have been writing a set of short stories currently that is both fiction and non-fiction stories. I plan to publish it once I complete a set of ten or more write-ups.

SOM: You have been writing lyrics for movie songs from the last few years. Your compositions are beautiful and we can say people have fallen in love with Kannada movie songs that had lost their charm somewhere midway. Tell us how different it is to write lyrics for movie songs than writing poetry or a song otherwise?

Jayanth: It’s a huge challenge. For, as lyricists, we need to write songs to some already set tunes. When making a composition otherwise, we can write the way we want and wish whereas selecting words to match the set tunes is never as easy as it appears.

Also, when writing lyrics for movies, it is even big a challenge for it is all about love that we need to think, feel and write. We need to imagine ourselves in the place of someone else and understand what they might sense and feel at that moment which is very interesting and different from other forms of writing.

SOM: Which are the movies you have worked for recently? What are the upcoming songs that we can look forward to?

Some of the very recent movies that include my songs are ‘Kirik Party’ and ‘Pushpaka Vimaana’. The upcoming movie for which I have been writing is ‘Mugulu Nage’ by Yograj Bhat.

SOM: How do you like Mysuru? Do you visit the place often?

Jayanth: I can say Mysuru is a very dear not just to me but for any writer or a poet. Two places that a littérateur always gets mentally inclined towards and connects with are Mysuru and Dharwad because these places are magical and have inspired many writers by their charm.

It is indeed a privilege to visit or stay in a city that has influenced several writers who have enjoyed living here. We have a lot to see, learn and take away from this beautiful place.