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Scoring a winner

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Tuneful: Ouseppachan’s hallmark is sheer melody.
Tuneful: Ouseppachan’s hallmark is sheer melody.

S.N.

Ouseppachan wins his first National Film Award for music for his songs in ‘Ore Kadal,’ all of which were composed in Shuba Panthuvarali.

The Gods decided to smile on me and give me this award after working in this field for more than two decades…

It’s third time lucky for music director Ouseppachan who wins his first National award for music with his soulful songs in ‘Ore Kadal,’ the film which has bagged the National award for the best regional film.

“I was told that I had narrowly missed the National award for ‘Unnikale Oru Kathaparayam’ and ‘Freaky Chakra,’ the only film in Hindi that I had composed for… So maybe the Gods decided to smile on me and give me this award after working in this field for more than two decades,” says Ouseppachan speaking on the telephone from Chennai.

Enhancing the mood

He says he considers himself lucky that the award jury were able to judge the merit of the five songs (written by lyricist Gireesh Puthencheery) that are all composed in one raga – Shuba Panthuvarali. The evocative, poignant numbers sung by singers like Bombay Jayashri, flautist Naveen Nair, Sujatha, G. Venugopal and youngsters Vineeth Sreenivasan and Swetha, and the composer himself, had enhanced the mood of the film and the theme.

The music composer is all praise for the director of the film, Shyamaprasad, who suggested that he compose all the songs in one raga to retain and accentuate the mood of the theme. To ensure that the songs did not sound monotonous, he “decided to vary the shruti and tempo” of the songs.

“It was a challenge for me. It is not a difficult task to compose songs in certain ragas like Mohanam or Kalyani but Shuba Panthuvarali is a difficult raga and so the director wondered if it would prove to be a difficult task. But, surprisingly, I took only three minutes each to compose four of the songs. It was the title track sung by Naveen that I had to work on,” recalls Ouseppachan.

He remembers that he was a little perturbed when Shyamaprasad wanted one of the songs (‘Pranaya Sandhya Oru …’) to be rendered in Bombay Jayashri’s silken voice as the tracks for the songs had already been done in a certain pitch. “Jayashri has a lovely low pitch and so I had to rework the pitch for her voice. It turned out to be one of the hits of the audio album although she had a few problems with her diction when we were recording the song.”

The haunting songs in the album reigned over the charts as the film continued to make waves on the festival circuit. However scoring hits is not something new for one of the most consistent music directors in the Malayalam film music industry. Ouseppachan’s hallmark is sheer melody; a trait he has maintained right from the time he entered the music industry as a violinist for maestro Devarajan Master. And ‘Kathodu Kathoram,’ the first music album tuned by him in 1985 was soon followed by the State film award for best music direction for ‘Unnikale Oru Katha Parayam’ in 1987. Over the years many of his songs for films like ‘Aniyathipravu,’ ‘Harikrishnans,’ ‘Kakkothikavile Appoppan Thadikal,’ and so on continue to enthral listeners.

Busy finishing his work for several films scheduled for release, Ouseppachan is in an upbeat mood.

“After 17 years, I am working with Kamal again in his film ‘Aagatham.’ I also have a crop of interesting films such as Jayasurya’s Mohanlal-starrer ‘Angel John’ and Siddique’s Dileep-starrer ‘Bodyguard,’” he says. As long as melody reigns supreme in the world of film music, directors like Ouseppachan will continue to score.


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