Edited Excerpts from an Interview
When did your tryst with music start?
I was drawn into music since the age of four. My parents recognised my talent and encouraged me to participate in music competitions in school. I won many prizes initially but at the age of 12, during my voice transition phase, singing became a difficult task and I decided to give it up. It was the winning of a consolation prize, at what I considered to be my last competition, that gave a new lease to my singing. Years later, my father told me that I had actually lost that competition but since he feared that losing might discourage me from music altogether, he requested the organisers to give me a consolation prize, which he had purchased from a nearby shop. I have never looked back since.
How did you foray into devotional singing?
At the age of 17, I attended a charismatic retreat, which prompted me to read the Bible. This is when I became an active member in the church choir. Later, I joined a devotional band named Gospel Tuners owned by Pastor JV Peter. I have been composing, singing, penning lyrics and doing the orchestration of Christian devotionals since then.
Tell us about your transformation from a Christian devotional singer to a music director in films.
The journey from the church choir and devotionals to cinema happened over the years. It was a meeting with scriptwriter duo Sanjay-Bobby that set the scene for my entry into the film industry. It all started off with the re-recording for the duo’s tele-serial Avasthantharam. I then went on to compose the background score and title song for Avicharitham, another serial. Around the same time my debut film, the super hit Malayalam movie Traffic happened. Interestingly, an idea I had suggested in passing, about a heart transplant, became the main thread of the movie. The Malayalam film Melvilasom followed.
How did the Tamil film Pallikoodam Pogamalae Pass Boss, for which you composed the music, come along?
A friend of mine, director Goutham Krishna, introduced me to P Jayaseelan, the director of Pallikoodam. He came down to Kerala and narrated the script to me. The script revolves around our education system. The idea seemed very interesting not just to me, but to my wife Rona and children Ann and Steve as well. Unlike mainstream commercial blockbusters, this film has got a message in it. That is when I decided this is my cup of tea.
Tell us more about the songs in the film.
For me music is something that infiltrates our heart and enters our soul. I love to leave a lot of vacuum in the music I create. The vacuum is itself music to me. Pallikoodam has four songs in it. The melodious song Daivathe parthathille, which I hope becomes a superhit, is sung by Karthik and penned by national award winning lyricist Na Muthukumar. The film has a rap song written by Jayaseelan himself along with another lyricist. It is bound to be a trendsetter.
So, what lies in the road ahead? Can you tell us something about your future projects?
As of now, I have not signed any projects. I am keen on working in good films. A good film can influence humanity. Therefore, I prefer listening to the scripts first. Also, I am looking forward to the Telugu release of Pallikoodam Pogamalae Pass Boss.