National award winning music director Bijibal,who is celebrating the success of his composition ‘Manikya Chirakulla’ in the recently released Malayalam film ‘Idukki Gold’,said it was not difficult working on the tune.
“Didn’t take much time for the tune,” said Bijibal,who bagged the national honour for the best background score in the 2012 movie ‘Kaliyachan’.
Bijibal has also done the background score for ‘Idukki Gold’ directed by Aashiq Abu which is about a trip down memory lane for five friends in their 50s.
They had to create a special feel for ‘Manikya Chirakulla’ which features the five characters in their younger days.
“What is special about these guys is that they used to listen to different genres of music,particularly English. Music of Abba,Boney M and iconic Bob Marley were quite popular those days,and even now the younger generation enjoy their songs. So some elements of the music of those times were used in the background score and song,” Bijibal told PTI.
He composed two tunes and Aashiq Abu selected the most interesting one. The song was rendered by parallel music exponent Joby Kurien.
The five actors playing the senior characters in the movie are Pratap Pothen,Raveendran (a popular actor in Malayalam and Tamil movies in the late 1970s and 80s),Maniyanpillai Raju,Vijayaraghavan and Babu Antony.
The 40-year-old’s compositions in movies like the Mammooty starrer ‘Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus’,’Artist’,’Da Thadiya’,’Issac Newton S/O Philipose’ and ‘Red Wine,’ starring Mohanlal,has sent his career graph soaring.
Asked if he meets the high music standards set by him in his debut composition,’Thirike Njan Varumenna’ by veteran playback singer K J Yesudas in the Lal Jose directed ‘Arabikatha’,Bijibal said it depends on the subject and one can only compose according to that.
On the trend of composing tunes and then penning the lyrics,he said it was a debatable issue.
“You see,Salil Chowdhury (music composer who composed
several chartbusters in Malayalam in the 1970s) was not
familiar with Malayalam. So the music was composed and O N V Kurup,Vayalar Ramavarma,Sreekumaran Thampy wrote the lyrics according to that… So it was prevalent even in those days.”
During his school days,Bijibal was taken in by Kerala’s traditional dance form of Kathakali. He used to watch several performances and was a hardcore follower of the late Kalamandalam Hyder Ali (well-known Kathakali singer).
He feels it was sheer coincidence that he got to do the background score for ‘Kaliyachan’,a movie on a Kathakali artiste. He also bagged the Kerala state award for best background score for the same movie.
On the famous Devarajan (music composer)- Yesudas-Vayalar (poet-lyricist) combination,which churned out many a melody in the 1960s and early 70s,he said possibilities of such a team emerging these days is remote.
“There are more montage songs now,a kind of narrative style. It is very rare you find a character standing and singing in movies. The space for experimentation with varied singers is much more now.”
Bijibal said because of director Lal Jose,he could find a foothold in the industry. He gave him the break in ‘Arabikatha’ just like the talented visually challenged Afzal Yusuff got to do the music for Mammooty starrer ‘Immanuel’ directed by him.
“Afzal is a dear friend and our association goes back to 1997 right to our college days,” he said. Afzal assisted him on the keyboard in movies like ‘Arabikatha’ and ‘Arjunan Sakshi’ before branching out on his own.
On remixing popular songs,Bijibal said he has decided not to do any more remix. “Why tweak a finished creative product… Better to do your own stuff,receive accolades or brickbats,whatever. Besides,the original creators will definitely feel hurt,” he said.
In the Mammooty starrer 2009 film ‘Loudspeaker’,he reinterpreted the classic ‘Alliyambal Kadavilannarakku Vellam’
rendered by Yesudas in the 1965 film ‘Rosy’ starring Prem Nazir. The remix was rendered by Yesudas’s son ,Vijay. It went off well,and from Vijay,he came to know that the music legend himself was happy about the effort.
“I did another one ‘Kannum Kannum’ (the 1980 hit song in ‘Angadi’) for ‘Venicile Vyapari’ (last year). I met the original creators,and though they were happy about me going to meet them,I could feel a sense of unhappiness. I am a music composer,I can understand the pain. I feel there is no need for doing remixes.”
He is looking forward to the release of three or four movies,including ‘Pakkida’,’Angry Babies’ and ‘Punyalan Agarbattis’,this year.
Bijibal,whose parents too are trained musicians,has his own music band Down to Earth– which is based in Kochi. The band focuses on songs relating to environmental and social issues. He is the lead singer in the band which has six singers and an equal number of instrumentalists.