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Chartbusting debut!

K. Pradeep
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chat Young music director Ratheesh Vegha who made his film debut with ‘Cocktail,' is high on hopes and dreams as he has a tete-a-tete with K. Pradeep

Grand entry Ratheesh Vegha's ‘Cocktail' of offers seems impressive photo:H.Vibhu
Grand entry Ratheesh Vegha's ‘Cocktail' of offers seems impressive photo:H.Vibhu

T here's the loud, rhythmic background of the heavy rain outside. It almost drowns Ratheesh Vegha's animated talk. Unfazed, he keeps chatting. There's something very positive about this young musician's attitude. He unzips his backpack, pulls out his laptop, quickly gets himself connected, fishes out earphones, all the time talking about music.

Ratheesh Vegha is zealous about his music. The young music director, who makes his film debut with the just released ‘Cocktail,' has great hopes and dreams. And he has anchored them on a very creative, melodious music sense.

Top duet

The duet, ‘Neeyaam thanalinnu thazhe…' from ‘Cocktail' sung by Vijay Yesudas and Thulasi Yatheendran has already found its way to the top of the charts. Ratheesh's music approach is lucid, romantic, never wayward or sketchy. It is raga-based but yet maintains a contemporaneity. His background score has also come in for praise. The music has not gone overboard, it helps sustain the emotions, does not dominate, goes with the flow of the film, almost like a character.

“For me, when it comes to composing a tune, the raga comes first. I try out many tunes in my studio at home before zeroing in on a couple of choices. Of course, the final decision is taken only in consultation with the producer and director,” says Ratheesh who has a degree in music from Madras University.

After his degree Ratheesh pursued a short course in sound engineering ‘basically to keep in touch with the latest in sound.' But all the while he nursed hopes of becoming a singer. “I always wanted to become a Carnatic vocalist. I still continue to learn music from Thrissur R. Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. But somehow this did not happen.” Ratheesh found himself anchoring a music show instead.

For nearly two years Ratheesh spearheaded Music Talks on Asianet. “This show took a behind-the-scenes look at music in films. From singers, music directors, lyricists, studios, musicians, recording, re-recording the show gave information on how music was made for films.”

This show also provided the turnaround in Ratheesh's career. “It was during this time that I met Gopi Sunder, the noted music director and programmer. He told me that I could try my hand at composing music and also introduced me to many people in the music field. I believed in Gopi Sunder.”

Jingles

Nothing came on a platter for Ratheesh. He virtually slogged it out, beginning with jingles. “I have done jingles in all the South Indian languages with numerous clients and for many big brands. Some of them like Kalyan Silks, Josco, MCR and Joy Alukkas did a lot to soar my stock.” Ratheesh even won the Pepper Award in 2010 for his striking jingles.

In between all this, Ratheesh worked on a couple of albums. And these albums helped find his way into films. Of these ‘Café Love' and ‘Njanum Ente Ayyappa' had tunes with the typical Ratheesh Vegha stamp – a judicious blend of the East and West styles of music. “The Ayyappa devotional for Vox Music, US, was designed quite differently from the usual ones of the genre. It was priced at seven dollars and sold around 5,000 copies. But it was ‘Café Love' (Sathyam Audios) that gave me my film break.”

‘Café Love' had some exciting tracks sung by Unni Menon, Sujatha, Biju Narayanan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Benny Dayal, Gopi Sunder and others. It had some haunting melodies like Unni Menon's ‘Ormayil…' and the trendy pop-styled ‘Nestle coffee…' by Biju Narayanan and Thulasi Yatheendran. “In fact, this duet will certainly find Biju Narayanan in a totally different style. I have tried to break the mould in which this singer is usually typecast.” This album did very well.

Clear about choices

But Ratheesh is quite clear about his choices. “I'm choosy when it comes to taking up album assignments. My projects are a bit expensive. That is because I try and make them as creative as possible, with sound design, programming, use the best of technology, live sounds. I have begun work on a new album, which I promise will be different from anything you have heard before.”

“When I was introduced to Milan Jaleel Sir by Mani, a common friend, I was surprised that he had heard of ‘Café Love.' He immediately offered me a chance in his ‘Cocktail' and after he listened to my music in this film, offered an opportunity to work in his next project, ‘Kasargod Khaderbhai'. I have already composed two songs for the new film, a Vineeth Sreenivasan-Thulasi duet and a solo by Benny Dayal.”

Ratheesh has one more dream and that is to have his own band. “A six-member band maybe, that will play old melodies, evergreen hits, from Malayalam and Tamil films. I won't be changing anything only trying to push the songs in their original form. I won't be reinventing but following the song, its spirit using guitars, drums that will be used very softly.”

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