Shifting Gears Music

Vivek Sagar: Career not driven by an agenda

Vivek Sagar  

It’s been more than a year since Tharun Bhascker Dhaasyam’s Pelli Choopulu released. The music stays fresh and is still on the playlist of many discerning music lovers. The album had Carnatic classical influenced numbers like ‘Sakhiye’, ‘Merise Merise’ and ‘Chinuku Taake’ and a touch of rap and country blues in ‘Spitfire Friends’ and ‘Ee Babu Gariki’. Vivek Sagar and his friends from the Tape Loop team did something magical with these compositions and the background score.

One would have expected Vivek Sagar to cash in on the film’s success and sign up a host of projects. With passion for music at the fore, Vivek chose to play his cards wisely. Last Friday’s release Yuddham Sharanam is only his second mainstream film. In between, he composed for Sheesh Mahal, a film made primarily for the festive circuit, in which he collaborated with Rahul Ram (Indian Ocean) and writer-actor Piyush Mishra. “I’m happy composing music for fewer films, if it means doing good work and working with directors and teams that understand my work,” says Vivek.

Engineering to Tapeloop

The story of how he turned a composer is not uncommon in the creative field. He studied electronics and communication engineering before realising he wanted to make music. The creative field has plenty of success stories of engineers turned writers/composers/directors. Vivek doesn’t remember his early musical leanings. His mother would sing and observed that as a three year old, he hummed along. In school and college days, his interest in music was piqued further by listening to his brother who was clued into Western classical. “My brother would sing and his friend strummed the guitar; they made me understand that you shouldn’t get stuck to a genre. This is when I rediscovered Ilayaraja’s music and observed how he creates soulful music with wonderful textures,” says Vivek.

In college, Vivek learnt to play the guitar. But the focus remained on completing engineering and landing a job. “I worked at a mobile phone company as a ringtone editor. That was the only thing I found related to music,” he recalls. The romance with that job stayed for a mere five to six months.

In 2006/07 Catharsis, a band that celebrates classical music, was formed and Tapeloop followed. “Tapeloop was a name that came up randomly when he had to give our company a name when we began composing for corporate films, short films, documentaries and jingles,” says Vivek.

The turning point was teaming up with Tharun Bhascker for his short film Sainma. “It was shot in sync sound and was a learning experience,” says Vivek.

The big screen

Most of the music for Pelli Choopulu was done after it was shot. With no lip sync songs, the music blended in with the narrative. Vivek collaborated with up and coming lyricists like Shreshta and Rahul Ramakrishna (now a much-appreciated actor as Shiva in Arjun Reddy). “I work with people who are at a similar artistic wavelength. They came up with lovely lyrics. Writing lyrics or composing music stems from how we react to a situation or a moment. So you need breathing space to think and work,” says Vivek.

Vivek Sagar

Vivek Sagar  

The 33-year-old is happy working on one film at a time and had to let go of Arjun Reddy because he had already committed himself to Yuddham Sharanam. Next, Vivek will be composing for Tharun Bhascker’s next film.

Looking back, Vivek says he’s glad he made the shift from engineering to music. “The more I learn about music, the more it surprises me. I don’t have a career agenda. It’s a joy to make music,” he signs off.

Band of Boys: Tapeloop composes for short films, documentaries, corporate films and jingles. The members include Vivek Sagar, Sanjay Das, Phani Teja and Varun Venugopal. In addition to these four, band Catharsis includes Francis Israel and Thiru Bandhela.

(This column features people who dared to give up lucrative career to pursue their dream)

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 7:44:26 PM |

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