Theirs was a good old-fashioned romance where the hero and the heroine take their own sweet time to build something meaningful before tying the nuptial knot. The whole feel of the story makes the listener sit down and enjoy the evolving stages of their musical journey.
It is easy to get mesmerised with the songs of Gopika Poornima and Mallikarjun, spanking fresh talent on the south Indian film music scene. Music lovers eager to drift away from day-to-day cacophony and looking to drop every pretence and lose themselves in good music and emotion will adore their songs.
Even while relishing the amicability of the lively chat session, one realises that there was no way the suave Mallikarjun could have escaped elegant Gopika’s charm.
The ordinariness of their lifestyle is a great pull that lends a fascinating aura to their persona. Life couldn’t have been more melodious for this singing couple which met in the first batch of a reality show Paaduta Teeyaga, hosted by S.P. Balasubramanyam to spot fresh talent.
Despite losing the title to Usha, now an established playback singer, Gopika made a mark while Mallikarjun, even with a third position, emerged victor by greatly impressing his ‘Balu Sir’. Post-Paaduta Teeyaga the ascendants were at a crossroads in search of a new direction. Their mentor SP held out his hand for them and they took it.
“I’ve been immersed in music since I was a really young kid…its just the way I came into this world. I come from a family of academicians and musicians. My father sings, mother is a trained Bharanatyam dancer and my atthaia (father’s sister) teaches veena. The entire household sings. I never thought of making singing my profession but now, it is the love of my life,” says Gopika rolling her eyes.
“My father was keen to see me as a singer. He even gave my name for the competition without my knowledge. When I realised that I had the spark in me, I began to give it my best shot and here I am today with no regrets whatsoever,” she chuckles.
Mallikarjun has been singing since he was all of six. “I don’t have any music background but my father is the driving force behind this passion. He would take me wherever there was a singing competition.”
Paaduta Teeyaga gave ample scope for the two upcoming singers to come close and share their inhibitions and enthusiasm. “Ours is a close knit joint family. He started coming home and soon befriended all my family members. We remained close friends for a long time and never realised when and how the streak of love managed to creep in,” she spills the beans.
A subtle romance blossomed somewhere along their eight-year long association and the new bond gave them the strength to withstand pressures that are the hallmark of this competitive field. “Since the field is replete with ego hassles, constant motivation is essential to keep going. Mallikarjun does a wonderful job of encouraging me when I need it the most,” she says throwing a glance of admiration at him.
It took four years for them to realize that there was more to their relationship than just friendship and a wait of three long years to take a decisive stand on marriage. Humming together in sync, the happy twosome have been supplementing one another in their exploratory voyage.
Their life is a musical phenomenon and people in the vicinity experience a real sensory feast. Gopika has sung for more than 150 films in Telugu and Tamil for leading music directors including MS Vishwanadhan, Illayaraja, AR Rahman, Devisri Prasad, Koti, Mani Sharma, and Harris Jayaraj amongst others. She has also rendered more than 3000 devotional songs and accompanied maestros like SP and A.R. Rahman in live concerts in India and abroad.
“Except Allu Arjun and Nagarjuna, I’ve lent my voice to every top hero in Telugu film industry,” declares Mallikarjun.
Happy with the way their life is shaping, the couple, at the moment, is happy to strike the right chords professionally.
He gave up non-veg for my sake. He is not fussy about anything and understands me completely.
The only problem with him is that he is not an early bird. With an orthodox background, I have been taught to be up on my feet by five in the wee hours. Mallikarjun practices till late night and so gets up also late.
But he is good in time management. I am a bit slow and need to be left alone to do things at my own pace. The best part about him is his flexibility.
She gave up eating potato, a favourite dish, only for me. She is immensely talented but at times, needs that push to reach her best. We were lucky to be noticed and picked by Balu Sir who went on to play an important role in our union into wedlock. Reality shows are the best thing to be happening for fresh talent, as they have almost put a full stop to the practice of music directors bringing in singers from outside the State. After SP, Mani Sharma is my second godfather.