Triumphant tunes

Doing Chennai proud Ganesh Kumar

Doing Chennai proud Ganesh Kumar  

Ganesh Kumar has won an award for his soundtrack for the Hollywood flick “9 Lives of Mara”

9 Lives of Mara”, a Hollywood horror flick written and directed by an Indian along with an American, has overshot its release schedule. However, the extra time taken to make it seems justified. The film has impressed the critics. At the Hollywood Investigator’s “Tabloid Witch Awards”, he got five ‘bests’ against the film’s name – Best Horror Feature (Balaji K. Kumar and Eric Massey), Best Actor (for Chad Donella, who is caught up in a mind game), Best Supporting Actor (Troy Gentile), Cinematography (Joseph Rubinstein) and Best Music Soundtrack (Ganesh B. Kumar).

In this list, music composer Ganesh B. Kumar is the odd one out. He was the only one to work for “9 Lives Of Mara’ away from Los Angeles. In fact, he was not even in the vicinity when required. His soundtrack for the film was made entirely at his studio attached to his house on Lake View Road, West Mambalam.

First, based on inputs, Ganesh sent ‘Mara’s Theme’, which he composed in three weeks. “There were 18 other composers from around the world and I was not unaware of this fact. On hearing my music, the panel comprising investors, production executives and the director unanimously selected me. They thought ‘Mara’s Theme’ precisely reflected the mood and the essence of the movie.”

When he got more familiar with the story, he realised it did not need an orchestral treatment. When informed the production team that he would compose, record and mix his score from his studio in Chennai, they thought he was joking. “They mailed me a ticket with an open date. When I insisted, they agreed only after a thorough examination of my demo CD at Switch Studios, California.” As the demo CD was found to be on par with American standards, Ganesh was given the go-ahead but on one condition. He had to mix the project at Los Angeles.

Downloading the reels through FTP, Ganesh began to study the film and its characters. Set in the ‘Supernatural Noir’ category, “9 Lives of Mara” is about the horror that takes place in the mind. It is a sinister tale where the line between reality and unreality blurs, with devastating results. “I led my instincts take over while formulating a musical style appropriate for the film,” says Ganesh. His score is thick with ambient, acousmatic and retrograde sounds. “I started working scene by scene. I was able to complete two minutes of music every day and the entire underscoring was completed within three months.” As and when each reel was completed, he sent the rough mix to Los Angeles. “As they gained confidence in me, they let me mix the whole underscoring in Chennai.” He transferred the final mix to DVDs, which were couriered to Los Angeles. The rest, as they say, is history.


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