Bollywood composer Chirantan Bhatt is making his southern debut with the forthcoming Telugu film “Kanche”, and he says the opportunity to work in the war drama gave him the freedom to experiment musically.
“It made me understand and appreciate Carnatic music. Unlike Bollywood, where music is expected to be an instant chartbuster, I got to do a lot of melody in this album. Since this was a period film, it gave me scope to experiment with my work,” Bhatt told IANS.
For someone who has predominantly worked in Hindi films, fascination for southern music started when Bhatt studied audio engineering here.
“Since I studied in the south, I always had the urge to work there. Even though I worked in ‘Thoofan’, the Telugu dubbed version of ‘Zanjeer’, I couldn’t create music that’d suit the local sensibility because the songs were composed keeping Hindi audiences in mind,” he said.
So when director Krish Jagarlamudi approached him with an offer to work in “Kanche”, he was excited to take up the challenge.
“I knew it was going to be challenging, considering it’s a period film. But if it isn’t challenging, it’d be like doing some kind of daily chore you’re so used to doing,” he said.
Jagarlamudi’s crystal clear vision helped the “Shaapit” composer immensely.
“To understand what Krish exactly wanted was the real challenge. Once I cracked it, it wasn’t so tough to work. He gave me references of southern composers such as Ilayaraja and Keeravani,” said Bhatt, who experimented with a variety of instruments in the album.
“In Bollywood, the use of instruments mostly is limited to drums, piano, pads, violin and guitar. For ‘Kanche’, I used tabla tarang, sarod and a few other instruments because the songs had to depict a lot of mood and emotions,” he said, adding southern filmmakers still prefer recording music with live instruments.
Talking about the difference in the music culture between the two industries, he said work in southern cinema is “very organised”.
“Even for one song, there’s so much of ideation in the south. The director sits with the lyricist and the composer, discusses the song and lyrics. In Bollywood, they’re always talking about creating a hit number,” he said.
“The oddity factor works in Bollywood. It’s alright even if a singer sings out of tune; it’s still lapped up because it’s odd. In south, most singers are musically literate, well versed in Carnatic music, which is part of their upbringing,” he added.
One of the challenging parts of working on the film was to do justice to the war portions. The film is set against the backdrop of World War II, and the team shot the battle sequences in Georgia.
“We tried to approach the battle scenes like the way Hollywood would. Some of these war scenes were like nine-minute long. There’d few minutes of lull followed by some aggressive fighting, so we had to constantly innovate with the music to keep the interest level intact,” he revealed.
“Kanche”, which features Varun Tej and Pragya Jaiswal, releases worldwide on October 22.