2.07.2009

Director's Composer



In film music business, for a music composer to have a long standing career, a good working relationship and successful track record with a movie director is vital. Instead of presenting the huge list of successful director composer duos who made it big, I can make it vivid by quoting one composer who couldn't make it big inspite of being most talented than most of the composers in Tamil Film music today. Karthik Raja. This man has immense talent and potential. Inspite of some brilliant soundtracks, he couldn't sustain simply because he has not continuously and consistently delivered good music with one particular movie director. In Tamil Film Music, year 2008 has seen most number of popular director composer break ups. But none of the break-ups worried (as much as I would have worried if Balumahendra broke up with Illayaraja) me, because the directors have gone either to a better composer or to a composer at par.

The biggest surprise is Charan picking Colonial Cousins (Hariharan and Leslie Lewis) for his next ‘Modhi Vilayaadu’ over Bharadwaj. From what little I heard in television interviews, it sounds interesting. Together, Charan and Bharadwaj (and Vairamuthu) gave some beautiful melodies and one hit kuthu or item number was an inevitable in their soundtracks and sadly that is what they would be popularly remembered for. I am sure Colonial Cousins would bring a totally different sound to Charan’s (occasionally intelligent) masala entertainment.

More than Selvaraghavan it is an opportunity for G.V.Prakash, as he is going to replace Yuvan Shankar Raja’s sound and music in a Selvaraghavan movie. I always felt that Selvaraghavan interferes too much in the making of his movie’s music (and probably why Yuvan had to plagiarize for some of the songs and background score), and extracts the best from the composer. I hope he does that with G.V.Prakash too (without pushing him to plagiarize). G.V.Prakash became a routine masala movie composer doing one kuthu song, one peppy song, one pathos song, two romantic melodies after Veyil. Now he gets an opportunity to compose music for a movie director who knows how to carry the story forward with music and songs. I hope he utilizes this opportunity and reach the next level. Another important aspect in a Selvaraghavan movie is background score, and infact all Selva + Yuvan’s background score were released in a separate CD after the release of the movie. G.V.Prakash who already has shown some promise in this area as he has been doing and including at least one instrumental theme music in most of his soundtracks (recent one being from Aanadha Thaandavam - that serene flute playing the beautiful melody of Poovinai on a happy note which after a bit of turbulent rhythms turns trembling and shivering, conveys almost the entire narrative arc of the movie), would definitely have to work hard for background score of a Selvaraghavan movie as the visuals in his movies demands so much drama from its music. I am eagerly waiting for ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ soundtrack, to know how much of Selvaraghavan is there in his movie’s music.

According to me, Gautam Menon is at no loss because of Harris Jeyaraj’s decision to not work with him again. Harris Jeyaraj gave his best is Gautam’s movies, but those are the songs that would have worked in any other movie equally well. After Ameer’s controversial remarks about A.R.Rahman working only in high budget commercial movies, here he is working with a upcoming movie director’s, the budget of which could be well below what Rahman usually takes as fee for his music. (It is little puzzling that Rahman who now says that he wants to work only in such independent cinema like Slumdog Millionaire and not in big budget Hollywood movies where he will not have creative freedom does exactly the opposite when it comes to picking the movies in Tamil). I am really anxious about ‘Chennayil Oru Mazhaikaalam’ soundtrack as Rahman returns of youthful love story in Tamil after quite a while (I hope he doesn’t use his songs from Jaane Tu).

I don’t know if I have to say it as break-up, but though they worked together in just two films, the movie’s music and especially the kuthu songs were one of the prime reasons that drew the crowd to theatres to watch the movie and thereby making both the movies a big hit. I am talking about Sundar C.Babu and Mysskin. By watching recent interviews I came to know how much Mysskin hates to have songs in his movies (and that is evident from the way he picturised the song Manasukkul in Anjathey) to an extent that he has chopped even two of Illayaraja’s song from his forthcoming movie ‘Nandhalala’. When it comes to Illayaraja, it is not the director who has a say, Raaja does what he feels like doing. And that clearly shows in ‘Nandhalala’, but still the simplicity and less complicated approach of Mysskin towards his screenplay is evident in Raaja’s compositions also. I am really looking forward for the background score of the movie also. Mysskin is also a director, who gives good importance to background score, and he even included the main music themes in the soundtrack CD of ‘Chithiram Pesudhadi’ and ‘Anjathey’ but this time it isn’t there in ‘Nandhalaala’. I hope they release a separate CD with the background score after the release of the movie.

18 comments:

Vinith said...

Yuvan-Selva split is really bad :(
A great loss :(
The magical chemistry that they had is rare to find in tamil cinema. Only few such pairs can be found in Tamil. Like ARR-Maniratnam.

Vishnu-Yuvan combo is yet another successful combo. Vishnu has openly told in an interview "Yuvan indri Or Anuvum Asayadhu". That's a feather in his cap. I hope this combo rocks in sarwam. Audio releasing next week.

Naren said...

I really liked your write up. Obviously you looked at present day pairs and not yesteryear ones like the Rajas and Sridhar-MSV and etc. I think I agree with your view on HJ and Gautham. I had not thought of it that way before but his movies made such great impact that the songs sound like they are tailor-made (esp minnale, PKMC).

P.S. Just finished watching "Raman Thediya Seethai". Loved all the songs and came over here right away but was disappointed to not see your review on them!

Vijay said...

Good article.
IMO , Harris Jeyaraj is the one who is at loss because of his recent breakups. One with Gautham Menon and the other with the late Jeeva.Compare his songs from these 2 directors' movies and the others and we will know how much the director-composer combo plays a role in a successful soundtrack.
And , I am jealous of that Mysskin fkr. He is shifting music directors faster than Kareena kapoor changes her boyfriends. His next movie is to be with ARR . And its supposedly a superhero movie. I personally dont want ARR to score his mindless masala flicks like Ghajini which can be managed by any other MD.
All said and done , ARR - Mani is the best combo ever. IR - Mani also worked big time. So , logically its safe to say Mani is definitely one of the secret ingredients.

jaaze said...

Vijay, Mysskin didn't direct Ghajini and he is not working with ARR.

kannan said...

I think the Harris-Gautham pair was quite significant for Harris, because I personally think those were the only movies in which Harris actually paid any attention to good background music. But about the songs, yes I think both of them can still do fine without each other. Other than Vaaranam Aayiram (which had a lot of soft melodies), any other Gautham-Harris song wouldn't have sounded odd in any other movie.

Off-topic : Saw Naan Kadavul yesterday. Didn't really like it, but I know people who did like it. I guess it's a movie which will divide the audience into people who really like it or really dislike it. Don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't caught the movie yet, will say more on what I thought when you review the movie here.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vinith - Yes. It is sad that Yuvan and Selva parted ways but I am somehow have confidence in GVP's abilities to fit into Selva's emotions...

And I didn't know that Sarvam is Vishnuvardhan movie... will buy the CD for sure next week...

Suresh Kumar said...

Naren - According to me, any Harris's song can be placed in any other movie that he has done... He is more of hit melody maker than a film music composer...

And I really like 'Raaman Thedia Seethai' music. But if you see I have been missing out to review so many of such good albums due to various reasons...

Suresh Kumar said...

Vijay - Oh yes. I forgot about Jeeva. Harris kept him next to Gautam when it comes to giving his best...

And about Mysskin, arrahmanfans group says Rahman has not accepted to score for 'Mugamoodi' yet...But if it happens i would be delighted...

Suresh Kumar said...

Kannan - Yes, Harris scored some good background score pieces in Gautam's movies... esp Minnalae and Kaaka kaaka, but background scoring is not Harris's forte at all...

I have been reading mixed opinions on NK And I haven't the movie yet... I will watch it next weekend...

s6 said...

Independent Tamil Films cannot afford ARR, Suresh. It's a plain fact.
Most of the director-MD combo has resulted in Monotony sticking to a Formula. IR-Mani and AR-Mani combo were the exceptions that reinvented frequently.
Mani is a smart a**, Remove ARR from TT, Dilse, Alaipayithey, Yuva, Guru and there will be little to talk about the movie.
It'd be interesting to see What pans out from these new collaborations. Not a bad change.

Suresh Kumar said...

S6 - True.

And about Mani - ARR... Can you believe that Alaipayuthey and Yuva were initially planned to be made without songs?

s6 said...

I read that somewhere, Suresh. Mani being a smart cookie realized he needs a Bigger Selling point that his own Craft.
Any idea who's Scoring for A wednesday remake by Kamal?
Since the film warrants only BGM I wish it goes to Raja and not VidyaSagar or Himesh Bhai :)

Suresh Kumar said...

S6 - I guess for Wednesday remake they will re-use the BGM from Hindi version (which is quite loud)

Naren said...

I guess I see your point about HJ now. His BGM truly are fiascoes in every movie he has done barring may be Minnale. That flute piece he uses when Rajesh shows Reena the park and the swing was used in Majunu (but ARR has done this before as well and so has Raja). He had a bizarre yet catchy sounding veena sound I believe for sad scenes in the movie. He repeated most of this BGM score from Minnale for Ullam Ketkume and thought we never would notice. Also, he tried the bizarre sounding notes for Varanam Aaryiram but it did nothing but screech my eardrums.

raj said...

Suresh, about KR. You are one of the few who even talks about this talented son of IR.
I feel he didnt get opportunities again with directors whom he delivered stupendous tracks to.
JD-Jerry of Ullasam - made Whistle next with D Imman. It was a bad horror movie but still KR could have done good here
Shiv Nair of Grahan - went to ARR next. Cant question that and he got a fabulous track from ARR too.
Dum Dum Dum - Azhagam Perumal next made Joot with Vidyasagar. The movie didnt have much scope for music anyway
Album with Vasanthabalan - the saving grace of the movie was the criminally under appreciated music. Thazhampoo still rings in my ears while Kaadhal Vaanoli is as fine a gowri manohari(atleast in the pallavi) as you can hope to hear in your lifetime. Chellame Chellam is actually still popular. VB did Veyyil next and the rest is history. So is KR. The sad life story of this man. I think he lacks the people skills - people like Yuvan fought with Selva AFTER 4 movies - looks like KR has it in him to piss of directors the first time he works with them so despite fabulous scores, they ditch him.
(I think the Naalai guy actually retained him for Chakravyuham - must be a record for KR).

Suresh Kumar said...

Raj - True. True. None of them repeated him. I would like to add Sundar.C's 'Naam Iruvar Namakkiruvar' also in the list.

raj said...

I thought of NINI but then save for Indha Chirippinai, couldnt even remember the rest of it. I actually liked manickam and Alexander better. Those were pretty good efforts for an young composer. Enakkoru Magan Pirappan was good, too. Wonder where that promising musician in KR went away.His has been a career in steady decline - The quality seems to be almost descending in the same order as his filmography.
In the last 4 years, Neranja Manasu went totally unnoticed. Paarthu Po by Shreya Ghoshal is probably the best marriage of tamil folk with peppy POP managed by anyone other than Ilaiyaraja in the last 20 years

Suresh Kumar said...

Raj - KR has delivered good stuff in last 4 years too, they weren't heard enough... Solla Vaarthaigal Illai from Mercury pookal, Naalai, Manadhodu Mazhaikaalam, Kudaikkul Mazhai (both songs and background score were his best), and more recently Chakra Vyuham... heard good things about Oru Ponnu Oru paiyyan soundtrack also.. but haven't heard the songs yet...