Musicians Ganesh and Kumaresh, who besides being established violinists are also part of music maestro AR Rahman’s troupe. The brothers have now been signed as music directors for a film on female infanticide. The versatile composers from the South in conversation with Sagorika Dasgupta
Tell us about the film you will be working on with director Prince Thampi.
Kumaresh: It is a full-length feature film of 90 to 95 minutes. The filming is complete and they are figuring out how to present it in our country and overseas. It is a Tamil-English film, which will release in 2012.
What was it like composing music for a film?
Kumaresh: We have composed music before, for a film called Dance Like An Animal. Thampi’s film is an altogether different dimension of art, thinking beyond ragas, capturing the emotions of the director. We have also composed music for a television movie called Chandrika. Have you heard of Subramaniam Bhartiya? We composed for his last film Unfinished, which is a feature film.
You have worked only in the South…
Kumaresh: Yes, because we live in South India. But if we get the opportunity to work here, we will.
Ganesh: Music doesn’t have boundaries. It can reach the whole world.
Kumaresh: We have collaborated with people all over the world and have worked with musicians like Zakhir Hussain.
What kind of music have you given for this film?
It is a movie based on the contemporary world. But it is set in a village near Kanchipuram, which is also very rustic. Hence we have adopted a contemporary style and tunes fused with Indian ragas.
There are a lot of collaborations with international musicians…
Yes. It’s fantastic! It’s, like, you live in Tamil Nadu and go to Punjab and try to learn Punjabi.
What have you learnt working with A R Rahman?
Ganesh: Music is a very unifying force. So open your ears, eyes and heart and allow things to flow into you.
Did you encounter any hurdles while working on Thampi’s film?
Ganesh: When someone puts something in front of you and you have to see it from the viewer’s point of view, it is a challenge. Also, as a musician, you want to create emotion through the notes. We tried to use all our senses for this film. The biggest challenge is to emote the director’s expressions because at the end of the day, he has to like it.
Piracy is plaguing the music industry…
Kumaresh: Tell me about it! In our country, there is no respect for the creative medium.
Is it the same in the international markets too?
Kumaresh: No. You don’t find any piracy overseas.
Ganesh: A CEO of one company said he had to buy his own pirated product from the market. It is shameful.
To avoid your music being pirated, do you think it is better to work only in the international market?
Ganesh: But there are too many art lovers here. It’s just that government has not taken proper action to implement the law.
Are you working on any other projects?
Kumaresh: In December, we will be playing at a concert with Zakir Hussain in Chennai. We are also working on a Carnatic album.
Do you have a favourite musician, either in India or overseas?
Ganesh: Mine is Kumaresh and I’m sure I am his! (Laughs)
Kumaresh: We cannot say that a particular musician is great. We love Bhimsen Joshi-ji and a lot of other artistes.
Is there a difference in the way the Hindi film industry and South industry function?
Kumaresh: People from the South work with Bollywood and ideas are exchanged. It is more or less the same.
Ganesh: Technology has helped a lot! Vishal Bhardwaj wanted a small sample of our melody. We were in Chennai and he wanted it on the same day but we were performing that evening. We recorded the sample and sent it to Bhardwaj over Skype. It took only an hour. This is how technology is unifying people from different countries.