It is 12.20 pm. Sajna Sudheer nervously looks through her phone. She has to find the e-ticket before the Kanyakumari-Bangalore Express comes to Thiruvananthapuram. She is a regular on this train, taking the Sunday noon trip to Kochi, to a job she loves and students who adore her.
Sajna has done so much for them ever since she came two summers ago, as Asst Professor of Music, Maharaja’s College. She helped revive the old music club that everyone had forgotten about, she brought them stages. And now she has included them for her own music projects — where she is experimenting as a composer. Sajna, a singer, has by now composed three independent songs on three occasions, the newest Kana Kana Vaazhgiren coming out a day before Women’s Day.
“It was a love song and we wanted to avoid all clichés,” Sajna says, finally looking relieved after finding her e-ticket. When she says ‘we’, there are quite a few names. Nikhil, who came up with the idea of lost love. Zameer of Muzik247 who advised her to stop doing covers and do more originals and produced the song, giving Sajna all the freedom in the making of it. Abhijith Damodaran, her former student, who would call her ‘Miss, Miss’ and not expect anything in return while doing all the running around for her — to the studio, to the mixing of instruments, to coordinate it all, to listen to her sing and tell her where she went wrong. “When you come from a Carnatic background like mine, and are used to singing openly on a stage, it is suddenly difficult to come to the closed space of a studio. Abhi, a singer and guitarist himself, would wait till I get it perfect,” Sajna says.
There are still more names. It is the owner of her PG in Kochi who brought her to music composition, Sajna says. “Nileena George, who became my close friend, brought me to this. She is the line producer of the song and Zameer is her brother-in-law.” Sajna, a Malayali, wanted it to be a Tamil song, ‘because it seemed more flexible’. “When I first hummed the tune, it came out in Tamil,” she says.
Musician Charu Hariharan wrote her the song after a lot of hard work, for the song doesn’t follow the typical pallavi-anupallavi-charanam route. It has many highs and lows and indefinite twists. Made from the Charukeshi raga, used once by A.R. Rahman, for one of Sajna’s favourite songs. Sajna wanted the song to follow an idea Hollywood actor Julia Roberts once said about love — that love is wanting another person to be happy, even if you are not there. Amalda Liz and Sidharth Rajendran play the unlucky pair.
The keyboard has been played by her student Anantharaman, the programming has been done by another student Abin. Sajna’s previous composition — Gananjali — a song commemorating the 90th anniversary of Gandhiji’s visit to the college, was arranged and presented by her students. Orma Pookkal, the first one, was an Onam song.