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Interview With Rajesh Murugesan : The man Behind Premam Music



Premam is one heart-touching film which many telugu audience fell head over heels in love.  Though we admired the music of the film equally , never got  to know in detail about the film’s music and the music director Rajesh Murugesan. CineBucket had a conversation with Rajesh Murugesan about Premam Music, Departure BGM, Red Velvet BGM, Malare Magic, Telugu Remake and other interesting discussions during the film making. Read on to know what Rajesh had to tell us.


How did it all start?

Alphonse narrated me the script and gave me enough time to compose music. I am a kinda person who usually need lot more than the usual time and since the film too had some time for pre-production that helped me to finish off my work comfortably. By the time pre-production was completed, I am done with three songs. Though we planned for 13 to 14 songs in the album finally it never happen.

What is the first song you composed for the film?

I started with Aluva Puzha song.

The music had different variations for the three love stories. Was this intentional? What was your plan actually?

The music is completely different from love story to love story and we planned it  that way. Like you said, it was intentional. After Kalippu, the music for the rest of the film will be entirely different. We had long discussions for every song composed as we wanted all of them to be dissimilar. I was so very conscious about instrumentation which made rest of the things to fall in place.

Sabareesh Varma explained us the funny and weird experience that you both had during  “Kaalam Kettu Poyi” song composition. Share with us your feelings  in that situation.

I composed that song when I was actually all alone for four days and was pretty bored. I was also in the same mood the song represents. Unfortunately there was a heavy rain followed with the  entire power supply failure to my home resulting in damage to tube lights, UPS and other stuff. That was really a hilarious incident.

Do you hate composing tragic songs?

It’s not that I don’t like composing such songs but I have to go through certain emotions while composing sad songs. Even for this film, while we were composing it in our studio with my violinist Govind, the entire studio had a funeral kind of environment with an emotional and tragic feel filled at every corner of the room (laughs..) For me, doing a such a song is definitely a challenging task.

Story of Malare


Firstly, I have to tell about Malar and her character. Since everyone is gonna fall in love with her, I had to imagine a lot for the song. In fact, I added some imaginations from my personal life too (wink…wink). I  travelled a lot to negotiate with  this song. Malare was one tricky song in the album which I personally felt very difficult and challenging. I spent around a week time in Kodaikanal to get a picture on  how to compose this song. I finished composing the first part of the song in a month. I’m a  critical and deep thinker who usually don’t  get  to conclusions so early and which made me take another one month to complete the rest of the song.

Vijay Yesudas is the 9th person to sing the song. Initially, I wanted a new singer for this song. Later, we auditioned many well-known singers in Malayalam film industry which never gave us sufficient satisfaction. Of all the voices I heard for the song, we found Sabareesh’s was well and I insisted him to sing the song as well. Our eternal goal was to make the song reach everyone. Though we had Vijay Yesudas option from the beginning  I brought it only in the end which turned out as a best decision. When we approached him, he just came and took his time. His inputs really helped the song. We shared a lot of things and there were many improvisations that he made for the film.

I am really overjoyed with all the response that the song received. Malare is everyone’s love and there is my love in it too. We are happy that the audience accepted the song wholeheartedly.

Chinna Chinna Song


I composed this song long before we initiated anything for the film Premam. I made this song and saved it safe specially for Alphonse. When I composed the song, it followed with a whistle from  Alphonse and we just finished the recording without  any 2nd thought in mind. At the beginning of the project, we actually had a plan of using this song in place of Malare . But later we realized that we couldn’t feel any love in the song. Chinna Chinna is more a  song with naughtiness rather than Love in it and which made us go for a  complete love song which resulted in  Malare. It was my decision to do Malare when we thought that Chinna Chinna won’t fit in the situation. We used only half the actual song in the film. Though I was worried a little, when  Alphonse gave me the edited version we are totally convinced that everything was good. That’s how Chinna Chinna happened.

How did you put yourself in Departure scene (Nivin comes out crying when Sai Pallavi fails to recognize him.)?


Alphonse explained me the entire situation clearly with every minute detail of the scene. He explained me that a deep disappointment out of heart-break is something that will be experienced in the scene which is very different. For this Departure BGM, maximum credit goes to violinist Govind . If my contribution is fifty percent, the other half is from him. We had lots of discussions on the way to present it.

We actually planned a song in this situation but later I changed the plan. As we already have a tragedy song, it is of no use to convey the same through another song. So this way, though we initially planned for a song , it ended up in background music which went apt for that situation. That’s how it happened and it was one difficult task in the entire process.

“Red Velvet”


Alphonse explained me the situation in a beautiful way. He actually wanted me to imagine my girlfriend in the place of Celine and me in Nivin’s place, then he said “Imagine, You are offering her a cake and she is having it sitting with you and how will you enjoy that?”. He wanted me to imagine everything in detail the way she had the cake, her lips movements , her eye movements , the way she moves her eye brows, the expressions , the feel she goes through enjoying the cake  like each and every minute thing in detail. I did my best to go through that feel, imagine and compose music for that particular scene. I am overwhelmed with joy to receive  so many appreciations for that.

There was no female singer in the audio album. Have you ever thought to make someone sing a song in the film or at least Madonna Sebastian (who is a singer too)?

I actually wanted to make Madonna sing a song in the film. I wanted to make her sing a love song in the third part but unfortunately we didn’t had  any such situation in the third part. But we tried to make her sing Ithu Puthan Kaalam with some English lyrics and after we got everything ready due to some reasons it did not work out.

How did you learn about Hyderabadis loving the film?

A lot of friends from Hyderabad started calling me stating that a huge number of Non Malayalee audience are observed in the theatres and are equally enjoying the film. Initially it was a bit unbelievable but very soon even Alphonse got so many calls from Telugu people saying people there started  loving and enjoying the film . Then we were happy that  things are  going good and later we learnt about this remake plan.

What was your role for Premam Telugu remake?


Mine was a limited role for this remake. My ideas were always there but Gopi Chetta (Gopi Sunder) is taking care of everything. He has done all the extra part that  is needed for the Telugu version. He wanted to keep five songs from the original version and I shared my ideas. I have already spent one and half year on Premam and Gopi Chetta  took care of everything for Telugu version and worked on the re-recording part as well.

Your opinion/view on Telugu remake?

I am also one of those who is eagerly waiting for the release of Telugu version.

Are you choosy in selecting projects? Is that the reason for doing less films in your career?

It’s not choosy but the reason was that I require a lot of time. I wanted to dedicate myself completely for the film. In spite of that, I am always ready to take up projects.

Any offers from Telugu Film Industry?

Yes,  a couple of well-known directors have approached me but all the projects are still in the discussions and nothing has been finalized yet. Even I am getting offers from Tamil and Malayalam films. I am looking out for the right opportunities where I can get some good time for myself to create music.

What’s the latest update on Neram/Premam remake in Bollywood?

Alphonse is planning that. He can plan anything under the sun (laughs.). It is still in discussions and he will soon come up with some announcement.

How about creating Premam theme for all Premam Lovers?

I actually wanted to do this Premam theme from a long time and it’s already been two years. Though  I tried a couple of things I was not satisfied with that. For me, Love is a difficult part  and I need to do a lot of research to come out with a best one. It is a slow process but it is a chance of  learning for me. I will find out the theme very soon. Because I feel it’s my responsibility!!

How does it feel like to receive Love from a completely new language?

Firstly, a big Thank You. Actually many people thanked me which really gave me extreme pleasure, satisfaction made my day . Telugu People accepting our Malayalam-Tamil mixed film is something which I did not expect and I’m really happy and thankful for that.

Wishes for Telugu Premam remake?

I am eagerly waiting for October 7th. I still wanted to know how this turned out. Probably people came forward to make the film out of passion. They tried their best to make the film and even I can’t wait to watch this experiment.

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Journey of Making a Successful Crowd Funding Film VASHAM : Interview with Director Challa Srikanth



Vasham is the first ever crowd funded science thriller made in Indian film industry. Challa Srikanth is the director of this film. He is very much successful in completing this project in limited budget. Vasham is gearing up for a release on August 4th in theaters.

Here is what the director of Vasham, Challa Srikanth have to say about his crowd funding film Vasham. He shared many interesting things about the journey of vasham and the process of crowd funding.

vasham director challa srikanth interview

1. What is Vasham from your POV?

Vasham for me is two things, first is my love for movies, I wanted to tell a different story , a straight pure story..interlinking the concept of science and ancient spiritual knowledge. And two , my  first experiment in crowdfunding in telugu market, to understand the business perspective and I am sure I will make few more even if I work with production houses in future.

2. Did you work anywhere in the past?

My first film is a Hinglish feature ‘Song of Life’ I made in my college, and then I worked in pre production for ‘Minugurulu’ and then for a couple of years in Suresh productions and as a co-writer for Chandamama kathalu.

3. What is so special about this film?

We have very few films discussing science and philosophy, so the concept is something very fresh, I hope it reaches the students and personally first film is always special though it is very tough.

4. How did you convince yourself to go ahead to initiate crowd funding for the film?

This is the toughest question, and believe it or not, I just got this idea in a minute ,  but I could see the long persistent efforts I need to keep though and also the possibility of finishing it. I am very happy my investors really made this happen!!!

5. Tell us about how did the crowd funding idea start and tell us the entire process that you have gone through in attaining the funds.

It is the story, that actually made me to crowdfund the film, After finishing the first draft I really wanted to see the story on screen, because I liked what I read, so that gave the Idea, lets reveal some part of it and make people curious, they will also be a part of it!! 
Then came the idea of creating a platform, we decided to keep a website where people can download the script, names of the investors were also mentioned there, smallest ticket being 2.5 , and one lakh for producers Tag!!
Slowly we tried to spread the word, we got 10K script downloads, it started with friends and new people also joined slowly
They are all very good friends now, irrespective of the result most of them want to stay for my future projects as well. Must say I am lucky!!

6. How did you see this entire journey of Vasham?

2 and half years of efforts ( with no income!! ) Believe me I cant do this again ( the amount of effort ) , but this will be with me all my life, learnt a lot about film making, people .. Work teaches you the best lessons I think

7. Tell us about the experiences that you had from starting the project to till date.

a) Learning the craft of film making, nothing beats that! the experience cant be bought in any other way!
b) The joy of completing the task, this is the best experience, we shot everyday as planned.. the planning the Team put in is awesome.. and luck is also there, no rains, or any other natures obstacles came on our way..
While dubbing one guy fell sick for two months, I wondered how lucky I was , i can get it dubbed by someone else but cant shoot without him!
c) Handling people, almost 120 people invested in the project, I tried my best to update everyone, Heard no complaints from anyone!!
d) Finding my cinematographer is like a miracle, He messaged me once , I completely forgot about it but when he messaged again i checked his works and wondered how come no one knows about him when he can show such good showreels!! Then I came to know he worked for Anil mehta camera department, he even worked with Majid Majidi for ‘Beyond the Clouds’ after completing Vasham

9. What do you think are the highlights of the film?

Climax!! , BGM and the set up is very fresh..  

10. How tough is it to make a film in Telugu without any support or background?

It was very tough for me, my first film is releasing after working for 8 years in Industry.. But then I know enough talented people who are seniors to me and yet to get a chance!

11. How important is it to convince the distributors and how did you manage that?

I am lucky in this case, My manager, executive producer became such a close friend, that he handled all the stuff, else it would have been a very big struggle. I owe him a lot for releasing this film.

12. With your experience so far, what do you tell the budding filmmakers?

Honestly I am just a starter and I just started to work for my next project.. but working here for some 8 years, I have few points to add, 1) Just don’t enter for name and money, the percentage is very less, And I know many talented guys waiting for a chance and are struggling to survive 2) And you will meet real insensitive people, Someone said” Your father doesn’t raise you right” and one more said ” Had he been my son I would have thrashed him”.. As much as you feel like thrashing this scum, you simply have to smile and try to escape and of course not to mention those free suggestions from absolute outsiders.. 3) Hard work, you should be ready to work hard, sometimes days together.. there wont be fixed timings, Imagine watching a product hundreds of times , and the release issues, unless you have great patience and man management skills you cant survive!!!..and hell yeah stay away from people who just keep blabbering without doing anything.. If you are fine with all this.. then think of choosing this career

13. What are your upcoming projects?

I am eagerly waiting to find a producer to work on a commercial film and in parallel I am working on another crowd invested project , 400 slots each slot worth 1Lakh to make a Chak-de type movie with cricket back drop.. I am a big fan of sports movies!!

14. What is the word that you would like to give for the audiences who are coming to see the film.

Watch the film in your nearest theaters on August 4th. Encourage small films and help many more to come. Wishing the entire team of Vasham for a great success.
Here is the trailer of Vasham.

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Interview: Rahman Is My User Manual of Life says ‘Neeve’ composer Phani Kalyan



Phani Kalyan: Until some time back, no one knew him, but now, he became a part of our lives in the form of music on our playlists with the song Neeve/Neeye/Neene. Phani Kalyan is the music director for this trilingual popular dance video song directed by Gomtesh! The young music composer is celebrating his birthday today, and Cinebucket caught him for a conversation where he revealed about his life and his music.

Image may contain: 1 person, stripes and indoorCB: This birthday is very special for you! You’re a celebrity in South now. Do you also feel the same?

(laughs) No! Not at all. But I’m loving the attention and special love coming in. It’s a great feeling.

CB: ‘Neeve’ is a big hit. Did the compliments end?


No! They didn’t end; I get at least 3-4 messages and comments daily about Neeve’, and the shares also haven’t stopped yet. And these comments are my daily dose of motivation.
CB: What is the best compliment you received for ‘Neeve’ so far?
Every compliment is special for me, but I was surprised to see comments coming from people who don’t understand the language! People from USA and Italy are showering me with compliments, and it feels good! A funny comment was that a girl proposed to a guy getting inspired from ‘Neeve’. Another person said, “As soon as I watched ‘Neeve’ I became deaf and blind, started to feel that I am a part of this beautiful nature. That’s what a piece of art makes a person completely lost and found.”
Many film industry personalities from the five South Indian states have shared, acknowledged the video. That itself is a huge compliment for me, and I jumped with joy when SS Rajamouli garu tweeted about my work! All these things give a lot of happiness.
No automatic alt text available.
CB: What is your Guru AR Rahman’s reaction for ‘Neeve’?
I emailed him the video song, and he replied saying, “Fantastic” along with best wishes.
CB: What is AR Rahman’s impact on you?
He’s like my user manual of life. His music is the only reason for me to take music as a career.
No automatic alt text available.
CB: How do you look at the success of ‘Neeve’?
It indeed boosted my confidence to the next level. ‘Neeve’ success is very humbling to our whole team. Now, I’m looking forward to many more interesting and exciting videos. I’m sure every video will impress the music lovers as much as ‘Neeve’ did.
CB: How is life going now after the super success of ‘Neeve’?
My attitude towards life has changed completely. I became more confident and positive. I am getting to meet different artists and people from the industry.
CB: What is music to you?
Music is the only escape from the mundane life. Music heals, music comforts the soul. Music is everything.
CB: Tell us about your ‘Chandamama’ music video.
‘Chandamama’ is the music video I worked on, after ‘Neeve.’ 
CB: There must be many Neeve’s in your tune bank. When are you going to bring them all?.
Image may contain: plant, outdoor, nature, text and water
Very soon. I am currently working on a new music video.
CB: Are you ready to work with ‘Youtube’ talents?
Yes. Any aspiring directors, cinematographers who have some out of the box ideas for music videos and want to collaborate can reach me.
CB: Success is followed by movie offers in the film industry. Has any approached you after ‘Neeve’?
Yes, many did. I have signed two films already but will reveal the complete details once the producers make it official.
CB: Tell us about the support you received from social media users.
The only big support is from social media. Many online portals and Facebook pages wrote articles and helped the song reach the wider audience. My sincere and heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone who shared and cared.
CB: Are you going to continue working for music videos?
Yes. My plan is to release a new music video every month apart from making music for movies.
CB: Here’s wishing you a happy birthday and all the best for the future works!
Thank You. 🙂

How To Reach Phani Kalyan

Facebook: Phani Kalyan || PK Music

Twitter: Phani Kalyan

Youtube: Phani Kalyan

Any aspiring directors, cinematographers who have some out of the box ideas for music videos and want to collaborate can reach Phani Kalyan on [email protected]

Interviewed by: Rayarao Sriram

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Kirrak Party 09 Feb 2018
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Rangasthalam 30 Mar 2018
Rajini’s ‘2.0’ 13 Apr 2018
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