Sunday January 1, 2017
Who is the music director of Gautham Menon’s Enai Noki Paayum Thota?
UPDATE: January 4, 2017 – Chennai Times announces Darbuka Siva as the composer of Enai Noki Paayum Thota!
In the heavily marketing-dominated world of cinema, I do not recall an instance when a filmmaker withheld credit for any department just to increase intrigue/interest. After all, every name worth marketing could be—and should be—used to help the film gain visibility.
I recall examples of producers or directors not announcing the title of the film for a long time even when it is in advanced stages of production. But a title is not a ‘credit’, it’s just a fictional name.
Given this backdrop, I love what Gautham Menon is up to, with Enai Noki Paayum Thota. He has worked with composers like Harris Jayaraj, A R Rahman and Ilayaraja, and a few more as a producer (like singer Karthik, in Courier Boy Kalyan; Joshua Sridhar in Veppam; Yuvan Shankar Raja in films like Thanga Meengal and Nenjam Marappathillai etc.).
Gautham says, in a tweet: “A song is mostly judged or liked also by who the music director is. Please listen to #MaruVarthaiPesathey & like it purely on it’s (sic) own merit.”
Last year, when I was reviewing music for DooPaaDoo, Madhan Karky’s new independent music portal, I had the opportunity to preview songs with no credits whatsoever – no names of singers, composers, lyricists. Some singers, I could easily identify, but identifying composers was a true challenge. Still, I could make out certain composers, like Santhosh Narayanan, long before the names were revealed, given the musical style.
Now, going by what Gautham has tweeted, he wants us to enjoy the song without being hampered by expectations or preconceived notions of who composed it. Let us analyse that further.
If the composer of the film was one of the 3 composers who has worked with Gautham in the past, there’d be tremendous expectations for the combination and that only works to improve the chances of it being liked and helping the film further gain awareness and visibility. Harris Jayaraj, A R Rahman and Ilayaraja are saleable names, and their combination with Gautham has worked wonders in the past and even more saleable as a combo. So, there’s no specific reason for Gautham to hide the names of these a-listers.
The counter-point to this could go like this: Fans (and people) have preconceived ideas of how a combination should sound – Gautham-Harris combo should be as good as Minnale or Vaaranam Aayiram. Gautham-Raja combo should be as good as Neethaane En Ponvasantham. Gautham-Rahman combo should be as good as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (cough… cough!) or Acham Enbadhu Madamayada. And there are other permutations – Gautham-Harris combo is better than Gautham-Rahman combo, or Gautham-Raja combo is better than other Gautham combos etc. So, to avoid these biases that may creep into listeners and judge the song even before they hear it, and to literally cock a snook at listeners for their biases, Gautham may have tried this novel approach.
This counter-point could also be applicable if Gautham is working with either an untested composer, or a composer who doesn’t (yet) have a great standing in the industry. For example, Srikanth Deva, Deva’s son – this is also Google’s guess, for some reason (possibly because Srikanth Deva composed for another Tamil film called Thotta, a Jeevan-starrer)!
Known for low-budget movies and largely templatized kuthu numbers, Srikanth Deva doesn’t yet have a decent enough standing in Tamil film industry. If Gautham announced that he is working with Srikanth Deva for this film, chances are, people will judge the music long before they hear it, purely based on Srikanth Deva’s past and not including Gautham’s music sense. That works against the film’s prospects.
The same logic works for other composers like Joshua Sridhar or singer Karthik who do not have very successful films as composers to their credit.
However, other new composers like Nivas K Prasanna, Leon James, Anirudh, Sean Roldan, Santhosh Narayanan or Justin Prabhakaran do have some worthy films to their credit and have proven to be ‘good’ composers. So, announcing their names as composers will only add to the film’s prospects, and let people expect new things from the Gautham-X combo.
The other possibility is that Gautham is introducing a new composer, a debutant. That could set enormous expectations on the composer and hence, to shield the debutant from adverse reactions and to let the composition(s) do the introduction to the composer (and not the other around), this could be a smart marketing ploy by Gautham. Some names being thrown in the debutant ring (on Twitter) include A R Rahman’s son (!), Simbu (who is, in fact, turning composer for the Santhanam starrer, Sakka Podu Podu Raja!), Simbu’s brother Kuralarasan (who debuted last year with Idhu Namma Aalu, a lackluster debut, by all standards), singer Sid Sriram and so on.
So, the chances of the film’s composer being either a new name or someone with a baggage that is not-so-positive is perhaps higher, at least going by Gautham’s tweet, in my opinion.
Personally, I’d love it if it was someone like Joshua Sridhar who produced a superb ‘Man meedhu’ from Parandhu Sella Vaa, last year. It was an inspired comeback for a composer who deserves better and has seen his career derailed, though he had a pretty good run in Kannada briefly. Going by the energetic music and flute base, my guess would be Joshua too, since, in my mind, I seem to associate the musical style with that of Joshua’s!
Let’s see who the composer finally is. It could also a be a set of composers, like Hindi films – say, 2-3 composers composing 5-6 songs between them… you never know! Or it could be Gautham Menon himself, trying his hand at composing after making his singing debut!
But one thing’s sure – this is a mighty unique marketing ploy by Gautham Menon and full marks to him for trying something as new as this, even in the film’s background!