Deepankuran Kaithapram, who makes his debut as music director in Camel Safari, talks about being his father’s son and making music

Music director Deepankuran Kaithapram’s phone rings without a pause during the chat. “The calls keep coming,” he says apologetically. It’s Friday, Camel Safari, the film which marks his debut as music director, has just been released; so the calls. He, along with the film’s team, is waiting for the morning show crowd to ‘pronounce’ the verdict.

“My mother called me this morning and told me she heard a passerby hum one of the film’s songs. That for me is a huge compliment,” says the 30-year-old. This film is his first release but his first film is his father Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri’s film Mazhavillinattam Vare. The film is scheduled for release later this year.

Making music

Deepankuran sees a design in how his debut came to be director’s Jayaraj’s film. It was for Jayaraj’s Deshadanam that Kaithapram turned music director, Deepankuran’s grandfather acted in the film, he sung his first song, ‘Naavamukundahare…’, for the film. “There is a connection that our family has with Jayaraj sir.”

Deepankuran has learnt music and he has sung for a few films, including for 4 The People (‘Lokaasamasthaa…’) and Kunthapura, but singing was never part of his scheme of things. “The singing just happened. I like the creative aspect of a song…the making of it. The song bears the music director’s stamp of individuality.”

He has set the tune for the signature film for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa (2011). Another film that he is working on is Lisammayude Veedu.

He emphasises, “I have always wanted to be a music composer. I have been preparing for it.” Preparation involved working closely with his father, assisting him, and picking up things from him. The time spent working with his father, he says, prepared him for his career. He even set up a studio at home, in Kozhikode, where he honed his skills. “I didn’t plan for it to take so long; probably the time is right now.” An MBA, he went to Leeds Metropolitan University for a Masters in music production, “which made me technically sound. I know what I am doing rather than working with half-baked knowledge.”

The songs in Camel Safari have been noticed and the response on social media too has been encouraging he says. “Different people liked different songs from the film.” Research involved listening to Rajasthani folk songs for the authentic ‘feel’ and they even got a Rajasthani instrumentalist to play the ‘Raavan hatta’ for a song. He has also sung a song (‘Afreen…’) in the film.

Being Kaithapram’s son opened a few doors and got him opportunities, “but that is all. Now it is up to me to prove what I have in me.” About the pressure of being his father’s son he says he prefers not to think about it because “it is stressful.” He derives great strength from his father’s faith in him that he can create music. “That,” he says, “is all the encouragement I need.”

Does following in his father’s footsteps include writing songs, poetry? “No. I have great respect for the art of writing and I would not do anything that would belittle that. Not for the time being at least.”