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'Going by the Musical Flow'- Pelli Choopulu Music Composer Vivek Sagar Interview

By - August 04, 2016 - 10:09 AM IST

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Telugu Cinema has always been predominantly drenched in commercial songs and elevating background score for the hero but there are some films which win the hearts of every section of audience with feel good characterizations, relaxing music and remind us of the little pleasures in life. One such brilliant film which became talk of the town now is Pelli Choopulu directed by Tharun Bhascker Dhassyam. The film’s music in particular is greatly appreciated by all and done by the young and laid back composer Vivek Sagar of Tapeloop Productions. On the eve of the film’s success, here is an iQlik exclusive chitchat with the composer:

Hello Vivek.. congratulations on the tremendous success of Pelli Choopulu!
Hi.. thanks a lot!

What made Pelli Choopulu an overnight success? What is the biggest plus for the film according to you?
From what I’ve observed, the film didn’t go into audience because of rigorous promotion as such. The people started enjoying and rejoicing and took the promotional activity as their responsibility! The social media is buzzing over our film and it is indeed a moment of happiness to watch our film admired so much. The main plus for the film is brilliant dialogues by Tarun along with realistic characterizations which people found great connect.

How did you get into mainstream film composing?
We began our musical journey nearly ten years ago with a Carnatic band called Catharsis which had my friends Sanjay Das on the drums and Phani Teja on Carnatic Guitar. We loved jamming together and loved the output which had the influences of world music as well. Coming to composing for mainstream cinema, we were never in a hurry to come into limelight or do it in a jiffy. It all happened because of our association with Tharun in short films like Journey and Sainma which earned good name.

How was it working with Tarun till now?
It is a pleasure to work with someone who is likeminded and Tharun is somebody who knows what he wants from music stream. We never planned out on which genre should arrive in a scene for Pelli Choopulu either. Tarun is a great admirer of world music and gave us complete free hand in experimenting with feel good sounding as well as fun tracks. He did a brilliant job in the dialogues department as well for this flick.

What was the motivation behind the brilliant music score for Pelli Choopulu? The album is given so much praise for its fresh sounding!
We started off composing songs as well as the background score only after the film’s rush was done.  In fact, we never planned out which genre of music would suit a scene. It happened naturally like a flow and we were only very particular about the fresh sounding which Telugu people are missing out. The experimental and songs which breath freshness and also have a tinge of fun.  We wanted to stay entirely true to the film’s theme and never elevate heroism and stay away from commercial aspects of Cinema. The entire re-recording and song mixing was done in Tapeloop Studios, our own place.

What is your take on classifying music based on generic terms like melody and fast beat?
Well, music cannot be classified as melody in a separate genre because even an item song should have some melody in it for bigger reach. There is no impactful song without the melodic aspect in it. Earlier, we had commercial films which also had good value and tremendous scope for brilliant songs but now, the hero elevation factor is dominating the entire freshness aspect of a film. As for me, music itself should happen naturally in a flow!

Many critics are classifying your music having the faint influence of composers like Maestro Ilaiyaraaja and Amit Trivedi. How does it feel to hear such compliments?
While it is good to be compared to such legendary composers, I also make sure that their influence does only a positive impact on me. Influence would definitely give a good kick start for composing but at the same time, the influence shouldn’t overshadow my original style. That is why I strive to sound unique and at the same time carry forward the brilliant legacy such composers created. I can nowhere reach to that standards but my task is to bring out the best from my signature style.

Perhaps this is the first time a Telugu film had a sound production title card. How was the experience?
Tapeloop Productions is very special for us because it is where we started off our musical journey. The place taught us many nuances of music and we evolved here gradually. It was Tarun’s idea to have a title card for our studio and it was indeed a great privilege. The film is praised for brilliant sound design I must admit that Sanjay and Varun did brilliant job in bringing out amazing sound quality with the resources we have.

What do you think was the most fetching aspect of Pelli Choopulu?
When we went to Chennai to record the voice of Haricharan for the song Merise, he started off singing in a voice which would sound peppy like the hero but unlike himself. But when we told him that we need the song in his own voice, he was really amazed and said that it has been a while he sang without punchy style which Telugu composers ask for.  That was a memorable moment and the biggest fetching point for this album is most of the songs were done in live recording. The impact live recording creates can never be matched with digital mixing.

Upcoming Projects?
We are doing a docu-drama film named Sheesh Mahal. It is a really interesting project which showcases the lifestyle of Hyderabad and its heritage in realistic colors. The album is quite versatile with an English song, Tamil track along with a Telugu folk number penned by Goreti Venkanna. We might do a film with Tharun once again. As of commercial ventures, we haven’t signed up anything.  We also work for wedding films and provide original compositions as per their requirement.

Okay..thanks and wish you the best in musical endeavors!
Thanks a lot.