Isaac Thomas Kottakapally tunes in to the Forties and Fifties to score the songs and background score for ‘Kutty Srank.

Although Shaji N. Karun's Mammootty-starrer ‘Kutty Srank' smoothly sailed into several major film festivals around the world, it was premiered only recently in Kerala. The ‘Sailor of Hearts,' as the film has been titled in English, captured the hearts of cine buffs with its multi-layered tale of a man who is beyond petty man-made divisions of region and religion.

‘Kutty Srank''s lyrical voyage has been enhanced by the fine background score and songs in the film, all of which were scored by Isaac Thomas Kottakapally.

"Since the film covers three regions, the music had to take that into account and yet have a unity of narrative. It was a challenge that was met so well by Isaac. Moreover, the film was set in the early Fifties and so our effort was to recreate the sounds of that period,” says Shaji. The movie also traces the evolution in a man whose basic instincts to kill and hurt undergoes a change after his exposure to spiritualism and fine arts.

The singers

In addition to the haunting title song, ‘Oru Minnaminni,' sung by Jassie Gift, Dev Anand and Pradeep Palluruthy, Ramesh, Basheer and Rajeswari have sung the songs and snatches of lyrics for the film.

Mammotty himself (‘Aaaradum Koorukutti') sings a song with Basheer, thus proving that the thespian can also carry a tune when he wants to.

The award-winning music director who has worked with titans like Aravindan, says he see music as an intrinsic part of any film and not as an add-on for entertainment. “So the music had to be in sync with the period and the story. We have tried to use live instrumental music as much as possible or replicate the ‘natural sound' electronically,” says Isaac.

The music and lyrics used for the Chavittunattakam were sourced from Father Joseph who has been doing research on the subject for quite some time. The lyrics are believed to have been written by a priest in Velakanni and that is why there are a lot of Tamil words.

Shaji and Isaac listened to more than 50 songs to select the apt songs for the sequences that are seen in the film. Shaji adds that one of the musical instruments used in those times can now be found only in a museum in Thrissur and so they had to make a prop akin to that for a scene.

Among the male voices, Rajalakshmi's sweet voice stand out as she trills two duets (‘Maga Chandira…' and ‘Thangameyyole…') with Ramesh. “Most of the songs were tuned and choreographed by the asans of yore, each of whom had his own idea of how a play must be staged,” explains Isaac.

He adds that quite like the asans, he has also made certain changes to the tune of the songs. “It was a challenge I enjoyed as I am fascinated by both music and choreography. The music I score depends on the theme of the film and the situation. But my greatest ambition is to score the music for a opera. That should happen soon,” adds Isaac.