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