A Hindi, Telugu or Tamil movie grossing over rupees 100 crore has become no news in India. But, a Malayalam flick touching the magic number of 100 crore certainly is. Now, the Mohanlal-starrer Pulimurugan has made it to that elite club with a bang.
The celebration is still on and Keralites can't help 'hunting' each and everyone behind the scene of this big-budget movie. Among them, one name is seen repeated several times. That is none other than the most sought after Music director of Malayalam film industry, Gopi Sunder. The National award winning music composer's intro BGM for Mohanlal has gone down well with the Malayali audience who always have an ear for good music.
One will find himself puzzled if one look at this popular tunesmith's Facebook page, where he reaches out to his fans by instantly replying to their comments. It is literally flooded with words of appreciation for the marvelous job he has done for the movie.
“Keralites are not at all shy in exposing the duplicates and fakes. As a person who faced their ire for several times in the past, I can guarantee you that if my music for Pulimurugan was well-received, that means it is original. And, I am happy that I was able to be a member of this big crew,” Gopi Sunder tells SouthLive.
The main takeaway for me, as far as Pulimurugan is concerned, is the valuable comments I received from Lalettan (Mohanlal) for its songs and BGM. He appreciated me during the audio launch of the movie. We all know that he won’t come up with such an appreciation unless it touched his innermost. Another major luck was that the two legends of South Indian music Dasettan (KJ Yesudas) and Chitra chechi (KS Chitra) sung a duet for me. I was overwhelmed at that moment seeing them singing a song of mine. Happy that people received the song with wide armsGopi Sunder
Gopi Sunder; where speed meets quality
In the year 2014, Gopi composed music for 22 movies, in which most of them were super hits as far as collection and audience feedback were concerned. This is not the only case with the year 2014. You can always see him working for two, three movies at a time, with some others in the pending.
I have encountered questions on this line very often and I can understand why they are asking this. Because in normal cases, composing music consumes a lot of time. But, now I am able to deliver at this speed due to my years of experience in the field. It is not a thing just happened all of a sudden. I had realised even during my school days that my career would be in music. I am here in this profession for last 23 years. I started my journey by assisting the well-known music director Ouseppachan. He is my Guru. I was playing Tabla for him. It took me 14 years to be an independent musician. I started late because I wanted to learn the medium thoroughly before stepping in and tried to start fully-equipped. I believe that those hard works are paying me back now to take my career to another level. Many wonder how can I switch between different genres of songs. But for me, it is all about taking challenges and proving that I can that. That is why I experiment between fast number songs, Sufi songs, and melodies. Directors should not have any prejudice before approaching me. If that happened that would be my failure as a musician.”
What makes Gopi Sunder different from his peers is his ability to sense the pulse of masses and compose music accordingly. One can differentiate it while checking recently-out Malayalam songs that fall into the category of “popular song or super hit song.' One among ten of such songs would be from Gopi Sunder. This is just because of his determination to do things differently, instead of doing so many things.
“What all we can do is try our maximum to respond to the trends and to give people what they need. There is no any art in the world which is acceptable for all people. It is all subjective. If you make a painting you can not expect a situation where all people love it. There will be, for sure, different of opinions. All arts are like that. What we can do is know the trend and deliver the best,” says Gopi Sunder.
Calls from outside
The trend-setting music composer has so far become a hot favourite with all South Indian directors, particularly Telugu ones. His music for Premam Telugu is trending in the Telugu-speaking states. His previous works for the movies like Malli Malli Idhi Rani Roju, Bhale Bhale Magadivoy, Seetamma Andalu Ramayya Sitralu, Oopiri and others have also gained him a multitude of fans outside Kerala.
He tells SouthLive that he never had such a plan to widen his ‘kingdom’ since he was happy with what he received so far. “ It was just happening. I have worked as a programmer for a couple of Bollywood songs as well. I worked with Vishal Dadlani for the popular song ‘One Two Three Four’ from Chennai Express. I have also worked in Om Shanti Om of Shah Rukh Khan and 2007 movie of Saif Ali Khan Ta Ra Rum Pum. These all were very good experience for me and if such striking offers come to me, I won’t say no.”
In Telugu, he so far has composed music for eight movies and now committed to a Venkatesh movie and to a Naveen Babu Ghanta Nani movie after he finishes his current commitments. In Malayalam, he has teamed up with Amal Neerad for his new movie with Dulqar Salman in lead and with K. Biju for his upcoming movie Georgettan's Pooram starring Dileep. Music lovers can also listen to him in a Krishnakumar movie, written by Murali Gopi, titled Tiyan, with Prithwiraj in lead role.
Experiments with BGMs
Some ten years ago, BGMs had never been a matter of discussion in Kerala. Time has changed, thus the trends. Now the first thing people search for, after releasing trailers and teasers of a movie would undoubtedly be its BGMs.
In Malayalam alone, there were lots of movies got 'furiously trolled' for the mismatch of its BGMs. Even in the case of Pulimurugan, what viewers took to their houses after watching the movie was its lead's (Mohanlal) intro song, Muruga Muruga Puli Muruga.
The music composers of my generation have played a pivotal role in creating such a trend in Kerala in a short span of time. According to my understanding, the first BGM that was widely shared and discussed among Keralites is of Mammootty’s Big B. Though some of the legendary works of Johnson Mash were hugely accepted by Malayalis, this became a trend after Big B. We, music directors of my generation, are happy that we got a chance to become a part of it.
Trolls and support
Netizens must have seen him answering/ clarifying/ thanking/agreeing occasionally to his followers who appear in his comment box with criticism/ applause/ suggestions etc. He is one of the few music directors in Kerala to do so. Even though he had absolute freedom to turn a blind eye to all these feedback, we never saw him doing that.
“Becuase I like feedback. My father used to tell me: “To avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.” I am trying to do something, so there will be responses. Be it negative or positive , I try to acknowledge that. I have never become disappointed by the criticism. Instead, I see it as an important chance to correct myself” he says.
Upon being asked about his success formula, this was the answer:
If there is something like that, do you think that I would share it with others? Do you think I am that stupid to do so. (Laughs)
That is Gopi Sunder.