Toronto: ‘When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it’. It must be Vijay Sethumadavan and his wife Mridula Menon, who mostly felt that this famous quote of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is very much experiential in life. This is because both found their niche after a long journey through accidental twists and turns in their life. When it came to choosing an Engineering discipline in University, Vijay Sethumadavan chose Mechanical Engineering as his elective field. After successfully completing his Engineering degree in India, Vijay Sethumadavan chose to test the waters in the advertising field, before taking up his maiden job as a Sales Engineer in a Bangalore Hydraulics Company. He travelled extensively to various parts of India picking up the nuances of Sales & Marketing. He later made a career switch to the IT field, thanks to the burgeoning demand in the late 90s in India. In 1998, he had the opportunity to move to Canada on a work visa. A trained Classical dancer, Mridula Menon performed on various stages during her College days and anchored events in Bangalore. She was employed at The Times of India, before moving to Canada. Mridula Menon now works for an Insurance company and Vijay Sethumadavan continues in IT.
When the opportunity to produce a Malayalam radio beckoned, Vijay Sethumadavan discussed the idea with Mridula Menon, and they decided to take the plunge. In September 2004, a weekly half-an-hour show called ‘Madhurageetham‘ was broadcast on the Canadian airwaves, making it the first ever Malayalam FM program in Canada. Juggling full-time jobs, young kids and a busy social life, the couple managed to keep the radio show running successfully at a time when the Malayalee community was not a significant presence in Canada. In a time period, when there was no Social media, the couple worked hard to broadcast quality programs to gain more audience. With a growing listener base, Madhurageetham succeeded in touching the pulse, becoming a household name in the Toronto Malayalee Community. The success & the growing popularity brought in more sponsorship and ad revenues helping them to increase the show duration to 2 hours.
Over the years, Madhurageetham has continued to feature interviews and talk-shows of some of the biggest Malayalam Movie Stars and Playback Singers from India. News features on IFFK Film Festival, Attukal Pongala and many significant events continue to be covered by Madhurageetham‘s Correspondents in Kerala. Information about local events, interviews with local personalities & artists, special shows for Onam, Vishu and Christmas, interesting and interactive Phone-in contests and prize giveaways fuelled the interests in the Malayalee community who religiously tuned-in every Saturday contributing to the growth of the radio show. The Malayalee Associations in GTA extended their support and helped spread the word to the growing community.
The success of the Malayalam radio show gave them the confidence to venture into producing radio shows in other Indian languages like Telugu and Marathi. The Telugu show Morning Raaga now airs in the same FM channel and will soon complete 6 years of broadcast. In 2019, the couple created an Event Management company called ‘Masala Meltdown‘ partnering with a young couple, Bipin Maliakal and Anupa John. The company has hosted DJ nights and Special events like Kappa Nite, Fish Rock and Neethone Dance for the Malayalee and Telugu Communities. In 2019, the couple launched a Pan Canada beauty Pageant Company called the Miss & Mrs Telugu Canada featuring 34 contestants. For this, the duo partnered with a clothing boutique in Toronto. During the initial stage of the Covid pandemic, the couple launched a musical competition called Canadian Malayalee Idol under the VMR Ideations, partnering with leading realtor Manoj Karatha and IT entrepreneur Rathish Menchery Mony. CMI featured some of the best musical talents in Canada and was judged by popular Playback singers G. Venugopal & Anuradha Sriram alongside renowned Violinist Jayadevan.
Looking back, Vijay Sethumadavan and Mridula Menon say that they are happy and proud of their magical journey despite facing many challenges during the initial years. The duo is pleased that Madhurageetham continues to spread joy and creativity through music, information and entertainment.
People like Vijay Sethumadavan and Mridula Menon are an asset to the Malayalee community in Canada. Let’s hope that Madhurageetham will keep reaching out to the Malayalees like a stream of music that will continue to flow eloquently in the years to come.