Ganesh and Kumaresh on their award-winning forays into film music and experiments with sound
For well-known violin brothers Ganesh and Kumaresh Lessons In Forgetting has opened a new chapter in their musical voyage. “One that is unforgettable,” says the duo.
They bagged the Best Background Score award for this National Award-winning film at the Indian Independent Film Festival in Bangalore recently.
A hard-hitting film based on Anita Nair’s novel of the same name, it is the poignant story of a single father (played by brilliant actor Adil Hussain) who is out to find what led to his daughter’s comatose condition. An English film, it has quite a bit of Tamil thrown in as a major part of the film is set in Minijikapuram, a small town in Tamil Nadu.
“With more and more distressing reports of violence and abuse against women, the film portrays the unsafe environment women, both progressive and uninformed, live in. It was wonderful to do music for such a meaningful venture,” says Ganesh.
“Along with the cast and script our music had to drive the intensely emotional drama forward. And director Unni Vijayan was clear about what he wanted — classically-influenced subtle tracks. He wanted the dialogue, not the music, to do the talking.”
The brothers drew from their extensive rhythm and raga experiments in their lyric-free melodic pieces ragapravaham. They also infused some original and stylised folk tunes into the music for the scenes shot in rural Tamil Nadu.
“Before we began work Unni gave us a copy of the novel to understand the musical requirements of the film,” says Kumaresh. “His methodical approach made us enjoy the whole process and come up with music that was more about the heart than technicalities,” say the brothers.
With the creative strength and skill of two it has been easier for the brothers to push musical boundaries. “Yes,” laughs Ganesh. “We trained together and began performing as a duo. We have shared notes, dreams, anxieties and awards, and like other siblings, have arguments and disagreements.”
Though they began by playing at cutcheris, the two soon moved on to thought-provoking collaborations with Indian and foreign artistes. “The violin being a western instrument, we realised that it offered immense potential to go beyond traditional repertoire and explore the acoustic range of its deeply communicative strings.” They became a permanent fixture on tabla wizard and ace of cross-cultural exchanges, Ustad Zakir Hussain’s global tours and fusion ensembles. “He is truly an Ustad — the man behind the contemporary appeal of Indian classical music the world over. And performances with him are like entering new musical phases. He helps you assess and understand yourself and the art better.”
With a chock-a-block concert calendar, the brothers are always eager to take up fresh musical challenges. “In the world of swaras ‘static’ is a non-existent term. It’s fun finding your way through the twists, turns, depths and heights of musical notes,” smiles Ganesh.