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I am a one-man army, says composer SS Thaman

SS Thaman

SS Thaman   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

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Thrilled with the success of ‘Ramulo Ramula’, S S Thaman hopes his entire soundtrack for ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramloo’ is a success

The songs from Ala Vaikunthapurramloo — ‘Ramulo Ramula’ and ‘Samajavaragamana’ have become such a rage that it took even music director SS Thaman by surprise. He says he knew they were good, but didn’t expect them to become so popular so quickly. “I was actually worried about Ramulo Ramula, a mass song and a second one in the album.”

He adds, “I cannot relax because one song is a hit, I need to deliver the remaining songs in the album. The Daddy song is out and I am awaiting the response to the remaining two,” he says.

Thaman who debuted as a composer in 2008 had always maintained that Venki Atluri gave him wings with Tholi Prema (2018). He recalls, “No one offered me a love story earlier. I would ask for love stories, as they give more scope, but none came my way. I even did a love story without taking payment. Commercial films will work at the box office but may not have longevity. My time started with Mahanubhavudu and Bhagamathi but I was hungry for more. Tholi Prema changed everything and I re-invented myself.”

Accepting that he was repeating himself, Thaman says, “Yes I was doing it unconsciously and I accept my mistake of doing more such films. It is more about selecting the same type of commercial scripts where there is a hero introduction number, a mass number and an item number. After Sarrainodu, I took a break of one and a half years, that helped in my resurgence.”

Thaman admits that he would compose according to the pulse of the crowd but now he keeps the script in mind. Also, he is not taking up two films of the same genre at a time. Ask him if he gets upset if a director doesn’t repeat him, he says, “At times yes, but not any more. I thought after Mirapakaya, Harish Shankar would ask me to do Gabbar Singh, but he didn’t; he went with Devi Sri Prasad . Later I understood why he didn’t repeat me. The hero had a continuity understanding with the music director and also DSP was the front runner those days for a remake film.”

Thaman says working with Trivikram and Seetarama Sastry is invigorating. Trivikram never speaks a word unnecessarily and a song never crops up without a reason in his films. When Trivikram and Sastry discuss, Thaman is also invited to participate. “The tune comes while the duo converse. I evolved listening to their conversation and exchange of words. My mom sometimes helps me in understanding the language,” he says.

Thaman does all his work on his own, doesn’t let his assistants handle his songs. He cites a reason for that: “I work through skype and mails with people in Mumbai and Chennai, they trust me and offer assignments and I cannot take a chance by delegating it. He adds, “It is important that they learn with experience and I will not teach them. The 25-years of experience that I gained, I am putting it back in films, I value each film. I am a one-man army and sometimes, I work from my car too.”

Thaman reveals that he doesn’t let failure or success go to his head. He still plays cricket with his team, irrespective of the film’s result. His only indulgence is buying gadgets — anything new in the market, he will be the first one to buy it.

Finally ask him why he changed his name to Thaman, he is more than happy to clarify, “I too don’t know its meaning. Actually it was my folder name in which I would store my music.”

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:01:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/i-am-a-one-man-army-says-composer-ss-thaman/article30105711.ece

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