Music director Girishh Gopalakrishnan Music director Girishh Gopalakrishnan shuttles between the UK and Chennai usually, when he’s making music.
The young composer, whose work in the Nayanthara-starrer Mookuthi Amman, especially the background music, has come for apprecation, is among the few Indian musicians to have formally studied music at the Leeds College of Music.
Now, of course, all the travelling has come to a halt. In this interview, the composer speaks about how the Nayanthara film happened and touches upon future plans. Excerpts:
As a composer who has predominantly worked on the thriller and horror genre, how did you get onboard a film like Mookuthi Amman?
RJ Balaji, who liked my indie album work, approached me in November last year to work on a song in his next project. He enjoyed one track from my album in particular and wanted something in the same vibe.
The plan for him was to approach five other music directors as he wanted a variety of songs including a folk song, a Western track, and an Aadi kuththu.
Later, he told me that he was having a hard time explaining the concept of the film to others and asked if I would do the entire album. I asked if he was sure because though I have done films, my only work in the ‘commercial’ category is Marina (2012). He said he valued my calibre.
The EDM Amman remix track seems to have won you a lot of admiration.
The Amman intro you are talking about is going to be released soon as ‘Amman Swag’ (smiles). We didn’t expect it to be such a hit. Usually, tharai and thappatai is preferred for such music but we wanted to flip it to fit the Amman of 2020.
The EDM approach with udukkai (a membranophone pe r cus s ion instrument) made it more fun. We knew we could not approach an LR Easwari amma song with this treatment, because her fans expect something they are used to. So, we did not want to experiment too much with the song she sings in this film.
How did your own exposure to Amman films influence your work here?
As a 90s kid, I grew up on commercial films that had a mix of everything, like, say, a Muthu. There is no connection between songs like Thillana Thillana, Kokku Saiva Kokku, and Vidukathaiya. But that’s the kind of cinema Balaji and I grew up on.
Even today, just a hint of Vidukathaiya is enough to make you emotional. That essence through music is missing today, we thought. That’s why we have a track like Paarthene that is designed to give you a feeling of divinity, comparable to what you feel when walking inside a temple.
It’s also a byproduct of watching Amman films and of course, the blessings of legends like LR Easwari amma and Deva sir.
You have worked with both of them in this film.
Both of them have done a lot of work in this genre. LR Easwari amma’s inclusion was a part of the script itself. There’s a scene where the dialogue goes, “LR Easwari amma paaduna dhaan idhu Amman kovil-nu oththupanga.”She’s 81 now but her energy and enthusiasm is off the charts. Deva sir is among the loveliest people I have met. When we approached him, he asked why we chose him for a track that sounded like a sufi song, since people usually ask him to sing only gaana songs. We told him that we want the feeling he created in a song like Gokulathu Kanna (Gokulathil Seethai). He loved the experience too. After Marina, you seem to have […]