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Keeravani on Maryada Ramanna
maryada ramanna

MM Keeravani talks about how he arrived at the tunes of his latest movie Maryada Ramanna. He tells us the importance of giving due credit to the technicians when a film is made with team effort.

July 21, 2010

Tell us about how you composed music to Maryada Ramanna?
When Rajamouli narrated the subject to me, he said that it is a movie of 2 hours duration and there is scope for two situational songs. These two songs are train song and hero introduction song. As the shooting progressed, we ended up having five songs. During re-recording time, I added three bit songs. Except for ‘Raaye Saloni’, all songs are situational and they help the story progress smoothly.

1. Telugammai: Basically it is composed for a comedy situation. Hero has to praise heroine not to impress her, but to impress somebody else. I wanted to do a plain song without any hungama. I used Telugammai word as interlude (interlude is something that comes between pallavi and charanam). Using pallavi as interlude is a time-tested technique to popularize the lyric. Anant Sreeram generally takes a day to pen lyrics for any song, but he took 15 days for this song.

2. Udyogam Poyindi: Rajamouli said that a guy who is in depression needs to celebrate it in a big way. It was a tough task to compose this kind of song. Rajamouli has also said that he loved the title song of Ek Niranjan and he needed the same lyricist and singer. Rama Jogaiah Sastri came up with good lyrics and energy in Ranjith’s voice helped the tune. Since this song is about the celebrations of a depressed man, I asked RJ Sastri to pen lyrics that reflect sadness and I composed a tune that is used for celebration. This song is entertaining and there is comedy in it.

3. Ammai Kitiki Pakkana: I have a songs bank and Rajamouli liked one particular tune in that bank. We didn’t get an opportunity to use it for Rajamouli’s earlier movies. It has got train beat to it. Anant Sreeram penned the lyrics. Karunya sang for my music for the first time. He has got a vintage voice that gives you nostalgic feel. Anant Sreeram said that ‘ammayi kitiki pakkanna koorchundi’ is an appropriate lyric for a train song because everybody wants a window seat. He penned the lyrics around that concept. This song has the same lilting feel like ‘vastava naatho’ song from Amma Cheppindi. I would like to give you a trivia about that song. Initially I wanted Rajamouli to sing the male voice for vastava naatho song. I liked it and Gangaraju didn’t like the voice. We had another singer singing it.

4. Raaye Saloni: It is a mass song without any particular context. It is very easy to compose music when director explains us the situations. It is very difficult if director doesn’t have anything to tell about the song. Composing this song is the most strenuous job because I had no idea about how it should be. I composed around 20 tunes and Rajamouli liked this one. Chaitanya Prasad who penned meaningful songs so far came up with item lyrics for the first time. I loved Raghu Kunche’s voice in ‘Ravanamma’ song and I wanted him to sing this song. Geeta Madhuri is the female singer for this song.

5. Parugulu Teeyi: This song is inspired by the title track of Sambho Siva Sambho movie. This song is based on Vakula Bharanam raga. I used the same raga to compose Parugulu Teeyi song. This song comes in the climax of the movie and it increases the tempo of the proceedings. The ‘Uttara Kumara’ character in Maha Bharatam is known as the coward who fears everything. Arjunudu (in the disguise of Bruhannalu) makes Uttara Kumara fight. The situation is similar. Getting away from the goons for one’s life is also a courageous deed. Sirivennela Seetarama Sastri does take around 30 days pen a lyric of this standard. But he took only 4 days for this song and I give that credit to my music producer and wife Sri Valli. Balu infused the required power into that song with his playback singing. I feel that only Sirivennela can pen such powerful songs that appeal to classes and masses alike.

click here to read audio review of Maryada Ramanna

Rajamouli said that you give your best background music to him because of the editing freedom you get from him?
If the scenes inspire me, then I work harder to give the best background music. Scenes in Rajamouli’s movies inspire me. We also need big budget to get the best work done because we may have to call musicians from Mumbai and Chennai. All of Rajamouli’s films are big budgeted movies, hence I have all the resources at my disposal. Another important factor is the time given for the background music. Rajamouli gives me ample time.

Tell us about the difference between background score and DTS mixing?
Just like a still photographer arranges the members for a group photo, the DTS mixing engineer arranges dialogues, special sound effects and background music together to get the maximum effect. DTS mixer is the one who can make or break the sound of a movie. There is a Telugu saying – ‘devudu varamichina, poojari addu paddaadu’. In movie scenario, we can say – ‘rerecording baga chesina, dts lo poyindi’. DTS mixing is the final creative step in the filmmaking process.

How much time did it take for Maryada Ramanna re-recording and DTS mix?
I took 22 days for re-recording. Madhusudhan Reddy (Sabdalaya) and Shyam (Prasad Labs) took 5 days to complete DTS mixing.

How different is Maryada Ramanna film compared to earlier SS Rajamouli’s movies?
All of Rajamouli’s earlier movies are like four wheelers running of four wheels (emotion, violence, entertainment and grandeur). Maryada Ramanna is like an auto-riksha that runs on three wheels (emotion, entertainment and grandeur). Sometimes auto is better than a four-wheeler to reach the destination (of success). I compared this film with auto because there is a connection of auto in this movie. Hero wants auto during the beginning of the movie.

Tell us about your wife Sri Valli’s role in this movie?
We started ‘Vel Records’ with the following policy

1. To avoid black money transactions
2. To curb/avoid piracy
3. To give respect to musicians/singers

Rajamouli didn’t find sufficient time to interact and extract music from me during the shooting of Maryada Ramanna. Hence my wife Sri Valli has taken up the task of producing music. She interacted with Rajamouli and extracted desired music from me. Siddharth has acted as music producer for Oy movie. One of the roles Sri Valli played for this movie is that of music producer. She also owns Vel Records Company.

The music of Maryada Ramanna and Vedam is digitally available for a legal download at iTunes store. All the Telugu movie lovers from USA can download them for a price. The three bit songs I composed during the re-recording time are also available for download. We had also done away with audiocassettes for Vedam and Maryada Ramanna. We released audio of both these movies only in digital format (audio CDs and digital downloads).

Importance of giving due credit to the technicians
As a technician I know how recognition/respect motivates us. For example, the audio CD’s of Pawan Kalyan’s latest album Komaram Puli didn’t sport the name of the single-card lyricist Chandrabose. I know how it hurts when our name doesn’t appear in credits after working with so much of passion. Some of the producers want to sell music by showing the photos of heroes and by ignoring who worked hard for the music. I think that producer should respect and give due credit to the technicians. We mentioned ‘Balu garu’ instead of just Balu for ‘parugulu teeyi’ song in Maryada Ramanna for the kind of seniority he has in music field.

It was AR Rahman who started giving credit to all the musicians when he became the music director. The inlay cards of his music albums have credits of all musicians. It was a good initiative and others have followed the same tradition later.

The same thing applies for artists and technicians as well. We used to have all the credits at the beginning of movie in our old movies. But the trend changed after the entry of new age directors like Ram Gopal Varma. They started putting only popular names in the beginning of the movie and keep remaining names in rolling titles after the completion of film. I think it is a bad trend. All the actors/technicians with considerable contribution should be credited during the beginning of the movie.

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