We have created a song against Hitler: Balamurali Balu
The composer, who's got quite a few promising films in his kitty, including Ghajinikanth and Pallu Padama Paathuko talks about his works
Balamurali Balu is the man behind the music of Santosh Jayakumar's Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu. His latest, Traffic Ramasamy, released last Friday to mixed reception. "There are three songs in the film. The first, Poraali anthem, which comes in two-three places in the film, has been extremely well-received. The second, Family song, was designed to push the screenplay forward. The third song, Komaali, is the item number, and I had high hopes for it as it had the commercial pulse. Unfortunately, it didn't sit well in the screenplay and everyone felt it was misplaced," he says.
He felt the film was quite different functionally, as "working with SAC sir was more like interacting with a professor. With director Santosh, we would just hang out and come up with a concept for a song. But here, it was more structured. I had to follow his work flow, adapt to it and convince him about the tunes." Regardless of reception, he says he doesn't regret doing Traffic Ramasamy. "I was just focussing on peppy beats and catchy tunes for my first two films. The focus here was on the emotional content and it was challenging."
Bala loves challenges. It likely explains why he is next doing a zombie fantasy comedy like Pallu Padama Paathuka. "It is not an adult comedy. The title makes people think that it is one, but it is not. Yes, there's some adult content, but fundamentally, it is a zombie fantasy. If a zombie bites, you turn into one and that is all we mean by the title," he says. "Of course, having such a title helps in gaining a lot of traction." He really liked the creative freedom he had on the project. "It was more about making the client happy when it came to Traffic Ramasamy, but in this film, we were all new, and so, I could provide a lot of inputs to the film."
The composer has experimented with his music in the film. "Take the intro song, for example. It is basically a zombie fight song. We sampled all the screams that inhabit the horror films on the internet and made a song out of that. Another song is basically a hero going behind the heroine to give a love letter. It starts as a conversation, proceeds as a song, and ends in a conversation. It is a gaana number but the underlying orchestration is jazzy."
But the third song in PPP, according to him, is the craziest. "There is a usual feel when it comes to item numbers. In this situation, as it is a zombie film, Hitler comes back to life as a zombie and falls in love with a Tamizh ponnu who he thinks is Eva Braun reincarnated. Now, our heroine doesn't like Hitler; so what she does is dance an item song and escape at the end," he says. "In this song, we have incorporated the traditional music and sounds of Jews to tamil folk elements to produce a unique sound. Hitler frowns during these interludes, and this whole song has a Nazi aversion tone to it."
He doesn't always go crazy with his choice of films though. "Ghajinikanth, my other project, is the remake of the Telugu superhit, Bhale Bhale Magadivoi. The original had a Sriragam-based song that had a Thyaragaraja keerthanai remixed into it. We have used the same raga with different lyrics and tune, but funny thing is visually, the song still fits. Also, in the original, they don't have a bar song. Here we do, because it is our speciality, right? (laughs)."
He is also working on one other film, Thatrom Thookrom. "The film has Teejay, a popular UK-based singer, debuting as a hero, and is very similar to Goli Soda in concept. There are three people working in a TASMAC and when a problem arises, do they escape or not? The film revolves around demonetisation and we have already released one song last year called the Demonetisation Anthem, sung by Simbu. We are currently working on 2 other songs," he says.