Never imagined it would become such a big hit: ‘Varaha Roopam’ songwriter

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MANGALURU: With the blockbuster ‘Kantara’ still running to packed houses abroad and minting crores in other languages in India, the popular song ‘Varaha Roopam…’ has gained everyone’s attention.

The song’s lyricist and lawyer Shashiraj Rao Kavoor of Mangaluru, in a tête-à-tête with Public TV, says the Panjurli encouraged him to pen the lyrics which is now on everyone’s lips.

“It’s a nice feeling and makes me very happy. I have written lyrics for many Tulu movies and two Kannada movies. This was my third Kannada movie. I have also written scripts for Kannada plays, since it is my hobby. But I never imagined that the song ‘Varaha Roopam…’ would become such a hit. It’s something mystical, you can say it’s a boon from God.”

To a question on how the filmmakers picked him and when they approached him, Shashiraj said, “Mime Ramdas, who plays the character of Naaru in Kantara, is a folk singer, writer and actor. He’s a good friend of mine and about 10-15 years ago, we had created a song titled ‘Va Porluya’, related to Kola which became famous across Tulunadu. I had written the lyrics and Ramdas had composed the music. He approached me to allow them to use the song in the movie”.

Lawyer and lyricist Shashiraj Rao Kavoor sharing his thoughts with Public TV.

“I had gone for discussion with the team when Rishab Shetty mentioned about using the song in the film. I knew him since I had played the role of the defence lawyer in ‘Kasargod Sarkari Hiriya Prathimaka Shale’ along with Ananth Nag. Then, Rishab Shetty suggested that I write a new song and sent me the tune. The discussions went on and I left around midnight that day.”

“I couldn’t sleep that night thinking about it and I composed a few versions by around 2.30 am and sent them to him, but there was no response. Then I decided to try something classical, something folk, in Sanskrit and added a few Kannada words. When it was ready, I sang it myself and sent the audio clip to him. Around 3 am, he replied via voice message saying it was very nice and he asked me to add another paragraph. I did that and B. Ajaneesh Loknath finally approved it and it was used in the movie”, he noted.

Shashiraj Rao Kavoor explained that Varaha Roopam does not mean Varaha avatar, which is a form of Lord Vishnu. “In Tulunadu, all daivas are Shivaganas, though in some places and in some traditions and literature, Lord Vishnu’s avatars are also worshipped as daivas. In Kasargod, you have the Otte Kola, which is quite popular. I have specifically said Varaha Roopam, but some people have raised questions, saying it means avatar. But generally, people have wholeheartedly accepted the song and I keep getting messages and calls every day, appreciating it. This is nothing but God’s grace”.

On what prompted him to use Sanskrit words, he said, “Panjruli daiva has a lot of significance in these parts. To give it a divine touch, I thought of experimenting by using Sanskrit words and Rishab Shetty too was very appreciative of it. Earlier, some songs in thespian Dr Rajkumar’s movies would also have a sprinkling of Sanskrit words and those songs have stayed with us. So, that also inspired us”.


On what he feels about the popularity of the song, he said, “When composing the lyrics, we wouldn’t know if the song will become a hit. But when Rajesh Loknath sent the tune, it was thrilling. That is why I took special interest and composed about 10-20 versions. But I had never imagined that it would become a hit worldwide.”

Regarding the controversy over the tune, which has been objected to by Kerala band Thaikkudam Bridge, Shashiraj, a lawyer himself, said “If you look up on YouTube, you can find out for yourself that there is no copyright infringement. Experts in music have also said so. The Kerala group’s plea states that the sound of the metallic guitar matches at some places and the tune also match. In some of the ragas, the arohana and avarohana seem very similar, but that doesn’t become copyright infringement. Our teams of lawyers will present our side before the Kerala High Court and in Kozhikode and Palakkad. We are confident of winning”, he concluded.

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