Vidyasagar’s love for melody makes him turn to Malayalam film industry time and again. In this exclusive interview to Sify.com the most sought-after music director down South speaks about his love for the Malayalam industry and his future plans. Excerpts:
Tell us about how you started off in Malayalam?
Looking back, I am still surprised, how director Kamal called me up to do Azhagiya Ravanan. Though I had worked earlier with composers like Devarajan master, Salil da, Dakshinamoorthy swamy and Arjunan master, Malayalam industry was totally new to me. But I took it up as a challenge and the rest as they say is history. The song Vennila Chandana Kinnam in the film got me the Kerala State Award in 95. I believe that it was a God send opportunity for me to work in one of the finest film industries.
Are you a melody maker?
Basically I love doing melodies and it has always worked well with Malayalees. Every song that I have composed in Malayalam is like a dream come true for me. There are films like Prananayavarnangal, Summer In Bethlehem and Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu that have done good business at the box office due to the songs in them.
Tell us how you created such good tunes in Malayalam.
A lot of people have told me that my music resembles Babukka’s style...like not sticking to the raga, but deviating a little bit by adding more of Hindustani music and trying to make it sound nice. This style of Baburaj came naturally to me. I have never had a chance to work with him. I am very comfortable doing music in Malayalam and I am the only outsider who has made a name here.
What are the essential ingredients that go into a good Malayalam song?
A melody that goes into the soul of a listener, a good orchestra and the presentation.
How do you differentiate between Tamil and Malayalam music?
I don’t see much of a difference as the tastes of the people depend on the cultural background of a state. Keralites are more music oriented, as a lot of good musicians and singers from here have been able to make a name for themselves in other states too. In Tamil, a lot of gimmicks are added to music, as rhythms are wilder as everybody prefers fast paced music.
But the fast paced music is popular in Malayalam too.
It’s happening everywhere. After my song “Confusion…”, there was a new turn and even in Meesa Madhavan, I had come two steps down, as the music had to suit the subject of the film. Though I have made a lot of these so-called ‘adipoli’ (fast paced) songs, the mix of western style with melodies had worked well in films like Chandran Udikkuna Dikkil and Niram.
About the music of Meesa Madhavan.
My association with Lal Jose started four years back with his first film Oru Maravathoor Kanavu and till Meesa Madhavan I have composed music for all his films. We vibe well and that shows in the music. He has always supported me and the best way of reciprocating is by giving him good music.
What is the secret recipe of your success?
I attribute this success to the entire team of the films I have worked with, as any good music will not get its due unless they are placed in a successful film. I was extremely lucky that all my films fared well and my music was appreciated. I have to confess that Kerala was the first state to recognise me and it means that God wants me to serve them more. So every little chance that I get to do music, I will definitely take up the opportunity.
Which would you rate as your best songs?
I think they are yet to come (Smiles!).
Tell us something about the music of Kilichundan Mambazham?
My association with Priyadarshan goes back to Chitram days, as I did the background score for the film and we have worked together in the Tamil film, Snehithiye. In Kilichundan Mambazham all the songs are melodious and believe me, the composing of five songs took just 45 minutes, as I knew what Priyan wanted. A new lyricist B.R.Prasad has written all the songs and two new singers Kailash Kher from Mumbai and actor Sreenivasan’s son were introduced.
Tell us something about your other songs.
Gramaphone which was based on a musician’s life has some very good Hindustani classics. My new release is CID Moosa and after that Lal Jose’s Pattalam. In CID Moosa I have tried to be innovative, as it is a fusion of contemporary American music in Malayalam for the first time. The film is a huge hit and the songs are all chartbusters.
What is the advice to hundreds of aspiring singers in Kerala who are looking for a break?
A: I have introduced 21 singers till now, and my advice to them is to try and have an identity of themselves by not imitating other established singers. If you are worthy enough your chance will definitely come. See, I have got all this credit and importance after 14 years of persistent hard work, patience and Gods grace.