What goes into making of a song? (Part II)

Ram Vishnubhotla (vishnurx@frc.com)
Thu, 26 Jun 1997 13:32:42 -0400 (EDT)


(ra)sAlUri rAjEswara rAvu (S.R) took 6 months to compose music for the movie 
mallIswari. In those days, composing sessions use to involve the MD (music 
director), lyricist and the director. Every person involved would have a 
very clear understanding about the situation. The MD used to give 
suggestions to director on how to picturize the song and the director 
used to give suggestions to the lyricist and the MD. It is actually a 
good team work. One of the main reasons of the success of the songs in 
rahasyam (finacially it was a disaster) is the team work. Even the 
producers used to have a good taste.

In the same movie, the hero/heoine get seperated but keep thinking about 
each other. So, the team decided to use kALidAsAs mEghasandEsam as the 
theme to create the song "AkAsavIdhlO... " in a rAgamAlika. The yettugaDa 
of G in the caraNam "gagana SImalanElu O mEghamAlA.... " is very well 
composed by S.R and sung by G.
Now, nobody has time to have these kind of detailed sessions. More than 
half of the movies in telugu last year (1996) are dubbed from other laguages.
With the changes in the technology and introduction of new musical 
instruments and new recording techniques are giving a new dimension to 
the cine music. Only time can tell the life of these songs. Nowadays 
everyone seems to be in a hurry including the hero/heroine to express 
their romance :-))).

One day SPB sang 18 songs and recorded them (I think it is a record 
in recording :-))). The life of a song lies in its creativity. We forget 
some songs soon after we get out of the theatre. Some we can never forget 
in our lifetime.

In the cine/light music compositions, there are no restrictions that the 
MD/composer has to stick to the same notes of the rAga in 
the well defined ArOhaNa/avarOhaNa. They deviate from the standard notes 
to give a different punch/flavor to the compositions. 
If the composer deviates too much from the ArOhaNa/avarOhaNa then it is 
difficult to say the rAga in which it is composed. It is always a 
challenge to find the rAga of K.V. Mahadevan's compositions as he 
deviates to a great extent.

People who do not have any classical music background can also compose 
songs. But their creativity can be limited. At the same time, not everybody 
who learns classical music can compose music. Getting exposed to various 
forms of music/instruments is very important for a creative MD. The 
harikadha "sirulucelangE bhArata bhUmini pAlincina bhUpAluralO.." in 
"shAvukAru" is a superb creation by G. IMHO, it is just because of his 
exposure to this form of art (please note that G's father is a harikadha 
bhagavatAr) since he was a child. I would like the list members to listen 
to it one more time as it has a piTTakadha in it and it is the usual way 
of narrating the harikadha. Again, the burrakadha in kanyAsulkam, 
"puttaDi bommA pUrNamma" is a master piece of its kind. 

Understanding the situation where the song is picturized is the most 
important for the success of the movie. BUT, you might have come across some 
movies where the songs are good but the movie is bad (rahasyam is a 
typical example). 

Using an instrument also has some influence on the MD to compose a song in a 
particular rAga. Examples are:

1. tushAra sItala sarOvarAna in sAntinivAsam is composed in hindOLam. The 
singing character uses sitAra and hence G might have decided to compose in 

2. manasE andAla bRndAvanam in manchi kuTumbam is composed in 
hindOLam. Again the singing character uses vINa and hence kOdanDapANi might 
have decided to compose in hindOLam.

How can people without any classical background compose? The key to that 
is that they have good voice. They can reproduce any song sung by others 
and with some imagination, can borrow the mood for their own 
compositions. Some smart singers, know their vocal abilities and 
choose/compose songs that would perfectly match their voice. IMHO, SPB 
falls into this category. He is able to succeed more of a singer than a MD.  
In one of the episodes on pADutA - tIyagA, one of the contestant sang a 
song (more of a combination of a folk and a lullyby) of his own 
composition. He selected that song, because he felt it would suit his 
voice and he is very much right in that aspect. But he could not succeed 
beyond the quarter finals.

In my opinion every person is a singer, only the degree varries. For a 
person to be a writer, first she/he has to be a good reader. Similarly, 
for a person to be a singer/composer, one has to be a very very very good 
listner. The listening should not be limited only to the singers voice 
but it should include the beat, the mood, various intstruments used in 
the compositions and last but not the least the lyrics.

Using a singer just for a small line gives a diffent dimension to the 
song. The first song I noticed was composed by G in "peLLinATi pramANAlu" 
and the song is "bRndAvana candamAma" by leela. G comes at the end of the 
song with a small line "andamella nIvE Anandamekada nAdE..". In the movie, 
it is the best way the hero lets the heroine know that he is 
interested (you can call it love :-))) in her. What a subtle way of 
expressing the love? Similarly, in "iddaru mitrulu" S.R did compose the 
song exactly the same way in "pADavEla rAdhikA". G comes at the 
end and sings "praNaya sudhAgItikA". I do not see these kinds of 
exchanges in the new movies. :-((((