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April 5, 2005 > Fremont Composer Scores Music for New Indian Film

Fremont Composer Scores Music for New Indian Film

by Praveena Raman

The popular British film "Undertaking Betty" also known as "Plots with a View" will be released in India this summer dubbed in three different languages Hindi, Tamil and Telugu by producer/director/distributor Mickey Nivelli also known as Harbance Kumar. The dubbing of foreign films is nothing new but this time it is done with a twist, Nivelli has incorporated eight songs into the movie. The music for the film is composed and directed by Fremont musician Praveen Chaddha. In the Hindi version of the film the songs are performed by Praveen and his wife Ritee.

Praveen's foray into music started at the tender age of four, when his mother encouraged him to play the Harmonium (a European reed organ with hand pumped bellows). He started performing at the age six in the neighborhood temple with local musicians. Later he started singing in school performances. While in school his first structured music instruction was in Western classical music under the tutelage of Shri Nityanand Ghosh. He not only had vocal training but also studied the guitar. At the age of 16 he started learning light Hindustani classical music under Pandit Bholanath Prasanna. While still in his teens he had his first opportunity to be a music director in a documentary film produced at a film center run by the Indian government. Later he moved to Bollywood where besides singing in a movie he also released several albums. At a time when his career was taking off in India he suddenly moved to the United States in the late 1980s. This move was initially very traumatic as he struggled to create a niche. Finally his hard work paid off and he started teaching light and contemporary Hindustani music in vocal, keyboard and guitar in Fremont. He met his wife Ritee also known as Lucy in 1996 when she started learning music from him.

"He is a great teacher," said his Ritee with a smile. "As far as music is concerned he is very versatile and I see him exploring and evolving as an artist." As a child growing up in Pondicherry (South India) she learned the piano and later Hindustani classical music from a teacher who taught her to be a disciplined musician. After her move to Fremont in 1996 she resumed her musical education under Praveen Chaddha. The couple performed together under the banner of Shanamo Entertainment and have released several CDs, the most recent is "Aahatein."

The performances together with teaching and making music albums became too hectic for the couple and they decided to move toward production featuring other artists. But fate had something else in store for them. A chance response to an advertisement in the Indian newspaper "India West" hurled them back into the movie arena. Movie director and producer Mickey Nivelli, who had decided not only to distribute the British film "Undertaking Betty" but also introduce songs to enhance the story, was looking for local talent to compose the music. Impressed with the music in the sample CD that the Chaddha's had sent, Nivelli came to one of Praveen's performances and offered him the contract.

Producing the music for the film had its challenging and difficult moments. "The challenge was to compose music with a beat but set to 40s and 50s style of music as the film is set in that era," said Praveen. "It cannot be contemporary." Apart from that challenge producing the music for a movie had another set of difficulties arising from the needs and vision of the producer. Praveen rose to the challenge by successfully composing eight very beautiful songs that he and his wife sing. All prerecording was made in their home in Ardenwood with the final production version recorded at the 510 Studios in Fremont with audio engineers Aaron Tressell and Greg Steichen.

Undertaking Betty /Plots with a View starring Oscar-winner Christopher Walken, Best Supporting Actor, "The Deer Hunter" and Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts "21 Grams," along with Brenda Bleythyn, Alfred Molina, Lee Evans and Robert Pugh will be released this summer in Hindi as Khoya Bachpan Mila Pyaar and Anbe Sugam and Preme Jeevitham in Tamil and Telugu respectively. The songs in Hindi are sung by Praveen and Ritee Chaddha and in Tamil and Telugu by Gopal Rao and Chinmayi.

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