CHAT Remo Fernandes is back to composing film music with a distinct Goa sound — this time around for Bollywood’s latest offering, David
“Iwas a kid of about five or six, when Panjim was a small little doll town. Life moved at a sleepy, slow pace, and Goa and Daman and Diu were ruled by a single government… I’m only trying to paint the picture for you,” Remo Fernandes says before he continues, “And the students who came to Panjim from Daman to study — in the evening when they were homesick, they would take out their guitars and sing beautiful folk songs from Daman. I remembered this one; I always felt it was too good to remain hidden in Goa and at Catholic weddings and what better medium than a Bollywood film.”
He snaps his fingers and picks up the snappy beat and sings, “ Aye Maria Pitache, Aye Maria Pitache !” he breaks off, “The song has international appeal, it crosses boundaries, Bejoy heard it at a wedding and approached me,” says Remo, who has taken care of the music for director Bejoy Nambiar’s movie, David.
He had one half-hour meeting with Bejoy in Mumbai, before he went back to his studio in Goa where he worked on the music. They met again when they were shooting in Mangalore. “Sad irony,” Remo calls it, “The beaches are too crowded in Goa, with shacks and beach beds, there is not a single open beach, so we had to shoot in Mangalore to show a Goa of the 70s, a Goa with open stretches of beach. There were issues even with the permissions; Goa is too sought after,” he explains, with visible sadness.
Much before Remo was known anywhere outside of Goa, a gentleman, party animal and friend said to him, “I hope you take the folk music of Goa to the world.” At the time, a young Remo paid no heed, his mission was to put his music out there, in the world. “Today his words come back to me.”
David is by no means a promise of more, “I don’t know,” he smiles, “It depends on who approaches me and for what. Of late, I have been saying no to playback singing. I am a composer, I should be composing music. David was the first project that came to me in a long time and almost simultaneously I got Luv U Soniyo , a film by Joe Rajan. I’d like to do more films where I get to direct the music.”
Remo works out of his own studio, which ensures that he works on his own terms, “Give us another Jalwa , no?” is a request he gets frequently from the record companies, “People tend to slot you and record companies interfere with the art and the music when they should just stick to the business of selling music.”
CATHERINE RHEA ROY