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.

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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

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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

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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.)?

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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”

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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?

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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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