Composer duo Sujith and Satish are soaking in the ‘overwhelming’ response for their song ‘Maaripoonkuyile…’ in the Shaji Kailas film Madirashi

Sujith and Satish have realised that making good music alone cannot be regarded as a reliable visiting card in the world of cinema. Had it been so, the composer team, their endearing melody in the Shaji Kailas film Madirashi, should have earned them a couple of new offers. The film did not do well but the song, ‘Maaripoonkuyile…’ has given singer Majari a fresh lease of life and the song a place in last year’s favourites’ list.

“We were fortunate to get this break. It took time for the song to pick up. Once the song sequence was uploaded on the Internet, after television channels and radio stations played it many times over, the response has been overwhelming. Slowly, the buzz has spread. We’re hoping something will turn up for us soon,” says Sujith, an IT professional now into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) consultancy.

Trained in Carnatic vocals, Sujith who hails from Palakkad, used to perform occasionally till he took up a job in Hyderabad. Relocating to Tripunithura, his ‘wife’s place,’ rekindled his interest in music. He also got to meet Satish, who teaches music at Choice School, Tripunithura. Satish plays the keyboard, is a fifth grade piano student at one of the city centres of Trinity School of Music, and takes extra music lessons. “Satish used to come to my apartment to teach my daughter. We got talking and realised that we had similar interests, similar dreams. After the classes we began having our own discussions and jamming sessions,” says Sujith.

They used to choose songs by Johnson and Raveendran and set them in their own tune. Jerry Amaldev was another of their favourite composers. “I was fortunate to be associated with Jerry Sir in Choice School where he taught for a while. I picked up a lot of tips from him…” Satish says even as Sujith jumps in to add, “I was part of Jerry Sir’s group for sometime. I also attended one of his music workshops where for the first time I tried my hand at composing and was appreciated for what I created along with a couple of others in my group.”

Team work

This provided an impetus for Sujith to try his hand more seriously at composing. Satish had been doing this right from the time he joined Choice School. He has composed the tune for one of the school prayer songs, ‘Ennum kale….’ “I usually do all the Eastern music for plays and dances in school. It has been very good training,” feels Satish.

Initially Sujith and Satish split up the work of composing. It was not really team work. “It is not that we conceive our musical ideas together. The usual process we sing, or play pieces on the keyboard and record them. We work on each other’s ideas; throw it back and forth several times. This exchange is not there when one works separately. When the final tune emerges, it often become difficult to identify individual motifs or inputs,” explains Sujith.

Before Madirashi, the duo brought out two devotional albums with an impressive line-up of singers. The albums ‘Karunya Sparsham’ and the more recent ‘Ashtagandam’ did fairly well in an otherwise cut-throat market.

Madirashi came about through its producer Jagadeesh Chandran. “Incidentally, I was teaching music to his daughter too. He promised to give us a chance and kept his promise,” says Satish. The mandate was to create tunes to suit specific situations in the film. “Initially, we were told that there would be two songs, one Malayalam and one in Tamil. The track for the Tamil one was ready but it was dropped. For the Malayalam one, we composed a melody, a bit fast and rhythmic. This was sung by Rimi Tomy and recorded. That was when the situation in the film changed and we were asked to compose another one. That was how the Manjari song came about,” explains Sujith.

There are obvious advantages of working as a team. “The workload, ideas, keeping the stuff together is shared. There’s so much in mixing, sound design, creating new sounds that we need to learn. We also have plans to launch a band of ours in February,” says Sujith.

The duo is now waiting with their fingers crossed on the few ‘discussions’ that they have had with film makers. Till then they continue with their musical experiments and jamming sessions. And, of course, their ‘full-time’ jobs. “We believe that our jobs are something to fall back on and also compliment our passion for music,” says Sujith, with Satish nodding in full agreement.