Interviewer : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Camera : Maran | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Coordination : Venkatesh
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Vaagai Sooda Vaa directed by Sargunam marks the musical debut of Ghibran, who had been composing jingles before. The tracks of VSV have come in for praise from all quarters. His infectious and childlike smile lighting up the room, Ghibran talks to Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar on his journey, influences and Vaagai Sooda Vaa.

Your journey till Vaagai Sooda Vaa

Vaagai Sooda Vaa is my first film and I have been doing ad films for the past 13 years, having done around 800 of them in many languages. I have been interested in music right from my childhood. After 10th grade, I started concentrating in Trinity College’s piano and theory classes and continued being in the ad industry. When I was around 24, I decided to study music in depth and joined Lasalle College in Singapore and completed degree in classical compositions and film scoring.

How did VSV happen?

Director Sargunam Vimal, producer Muruganandam and I are good friends and we would have discussions about films, literature and other such allied subjects. In fact Sargunam and I were involved in doing many ad films. Sargunam always wished that the four of us work together. But situations were not conducive during Kalavani times. Once after the success of Kalavani, Sargunam told that we can team up for the next project and that describes the team of VSV.

Sargunam and I were involved in

doing many ad films

Audience is able to recognize

even the minute chords

How is the response for VSV songs?

Response has been very good and much more than expected. Many accomplished people from film fraternity called up and appreciated. The response of the audience has been amazing. They are able to identify even the minute chords that we have used. I never expected such minute details would be noticed. I have never felt that while doing ads. I have understood the power of films.

Appreciation from film fraternity

Cheran, Prabhu Solomon and Bharathi Raja sir appreciated my work. Mostly, people associated with Sargunam had conveyed that they liked the songs of VSV.

Cheran appreciated my work

Sargunam’s notes were like

seeing a film sans music

What is Sargunam’s contribution to music in VSV?

Before composing each song, Sargunam gave me the storyboard and explained shot by shot and also the characterization. He was very clear; his description and notes were almost like seeing an entire film sans music. I just followed them exactly and it turned out well.

Can you comment on the international touch in the tracks of VSV?

Perhaps it is to do with my education at Lasalle, Singapore and the work experience with international artists. And I have also performed for international players. I have released two world music albums in 2002 and 2005 called Reverberations 1 and 2. These experiences could have generated the international feel.

I have performed for

international players

Name the albums that you have released

I did a fusion album for Cosmic Music which is completely instrumental. I have done that with Nadaswaram with orchestral stuff combined with fusion elements. The album had many experimental notes targeting the audience.

Who is your guru?

In Chennai, I studied music under Paul Augustine who is like my Godfather. I also studied compositions under Lindsay Vickery from Australia. These two are very significant in my musical career.

Senga SooLa Kaara and singer Anita

Senga SooLa Kaara is about the village Kandeduthan Kaadu and its inmates who work in brick kiln factories. The idea was to record the life of the people there and we decided to go in for a female voice with yearn and boldness. After composing the score, Anita who had sung in many ads was called on to lend her voice for the track.

Later, we went to show it to Vairamuthu sir to check if his lines are rendered correctly and he said “Please don’t change the voice as this girl has sung the song beautifully without spoiling the beauty of Tamil” and he wanted us to retain Anita. Actually, Sargunam and I were happy with Anita’s rendition and were wondering if we should change her. But our dilemma was put to rest by Vairamuthu sir who endorsed our opinion.

We narrowed it down singularly

to Chinmayee

You have brought out a melodious side of Chinmayee in Sara Sara. Comment

Sara Sara number is set for a naughty situation; a game of sorts between the hero and heroine. The song was expected to convey the character of the heroine who is mischievous and keeps playing pranks on the hero. We wanted the song to be cute and beautiful and wanted a husky voice. We narrowed it down singularly to Chinmayee.

Porane and Neha Bhasin and Ranjith

As I had said, heroine’s character is bolder than that of hero’s. And hence for a duet, we decided to have soft male voice and a dominating female voice and we fixed on Neha Bhasin. Sargunam is fond of Pesugiren number sung by Neha and we took her on board. Although we felt that nativity was a tad missing, but in its entirety the song sounds good especially after mixing.

VSV composition began ten

years back!

There is a small story behind Porane number. I used to have a band ten years back with my friends Ranjith (singer), Sai and Ganesh and Porane was composed for the band then. Sargunam heard and liked it much and said that he would use it in his film at a later date. When VSV happened, Sargunam desired to use Porane track. I can say that VSV composition began ten years back!

Aana Aavanna and Lisbon International symphony orchestra

Aana Aavanna would appear in an important segment in the pre-climax stage in the film. Sargunam wanted it very powerful and it is a children’s song. The story demanded power for this number. We composed this after trying 2-3 tracks. While in composing stage itself I treated it as an orchestral composition. Sargunam also liked it.

Which is your favorite song in VSV?

All are my favorite numbers but by a small margin, Aana Aavanna scores a wee bit more than others. It took two months to score with symphony orchestra- 80 piece orchestra- writing notes for every instrument.

What is the major influence on your music?

Classical music is my major influence as I had studied the same.

Favorite singer in the current times

Without a doubt, Ranjith and he also happens to be my close buddy who has been with me through my ups and downs. I like his voice.

Have you signed any new project?

I am in talks and waiting for the release of VSV.

A Chinese sang Yuvan Shankar

Raja’s songs

What do you think of the music scenario in Kollywood now?

It is amazing as international audience is watching Kollywood very carefully. I know this because I have worked with many international technicians. A Chinese guitarist who worked with me in VSV sang Yuvan Shankar Raja’s songs. I was stunned and realized the reach of our music. I am proud to be associated with Tamil film industry.

Tags : Ghibran, Vaagai Sooda Vaa, Sargunam, Vairamuthu
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