Music Reboot, an audio film by Sunil Koshy, tells a story entirely through songs
From the word go, everything about this album is different. Different perhaps means ambitious. It has the best of musicians — Keith Peters, Alwyn Fernandes, Faiyaz Khan, Arun Kumar and more; the best lyricist of our times — Jayant Kaikini; and it has a innovative and lively illustration for its jacket — the protagonist of the album Suko driving a scooty, with a tanpura perched on his legs and modern gizmos peeping from his backpack. The back of the cover with a comic strip of the storyline talks about finding inner peace in a world filled with mundane activities. And how is that achieved — for Suko, it’s through music. Reboot is the story of Suko, it’s also a musical narrative, and it’s singer Sunil Koshy’s musical journey. It comes with a nostalgic experience — as you listen to Reboot , you are reminded of the soundtrack of films that used to be popular in the 1980s.
The album has six songs, and most of them are in a mixed musical idiom. While some are lively, and some plaintive, one finds that they are overloaded with “contemporariness”. It’s a laudable experiment, but it could have been done with a bit more feel and less sound.
Excerpts from a conversation with Sunil Koshy. What are your musical inspirations?
I am inspired by any piece of music which takes me to a different world, be it Indian or Western classical. It could also be the film compositions of Salil Choudhary, Jaidev, Naushad, R.D. Burman, Ilaiyaraja, A.R. Rahman, Vidyasagar and others. When it comes to singing I am inspired by Yesudas, Rafi, Kishore, SPB and Hariharan, and many others from the international music scene.
What led to the making of this CD?
I wanted to make something that is contemporary and relate to people. Being a techie, I decided to make a musical that would tell the story of a techie. I strongly believe music is a powerful medium of expression. Through Reboot , India’s first audio film, I wanted to rediscover the power of sound, to prove that a story could also be told through only sounds. Besides, the film helped realise my dream of working with greats such as Keith Peters, Alwyn Fernandes, Maxwell, Ustad Faiyaz Khan, and Jayant Kaikini.
The CD obviously is a mish-mash of several genres. Was it deliberate? Or is that your natural musical idiom?
This CD tells a story, and the songs mark different phases in the life of Suko, the protagonist, and celebrate his distinctly different moods. The opening college song belongs to the 1980s pop with electric guitar leads to create that nostalgic effect, and the celebration of landing in the U.S could best be expressed through reggae, with the use of bass guitars and trumpets. Similarly, the other songs were designed to give the listener a new experience. I also wanted the songs to sound different from the contemporary film music. Hence the use of different instruments and genres to suit the mood.
It has this unusual FM radio format. Were you targeting a specific crowd?
This is an audio film, an attempt to tell a story entirely through sounds, predominantly music interspersed with short dialogues. The radio format came in when we realised we needed a narrator for the whole story. Also, radio stations have not been supporting non-filmi (independent) music. Hence we thought of our own little show.
(For those who wish to get a copy of the album, write to firstname.lastname@example.org)