Will Sreevalsan bring home an Oscar?

Sreevalsan J. Menon

Sreevalsan J. Menon  

It may have become an annual affair for A.R. Rahman. But for the young Carnatic musician Sreevalsan J. Menon, it came as a pleasant New Year gift, only a bit early.

The music he composed for Rupesh Paul’s new film Saint Dracula is one among the 104 films, along with the one composed by A.R. Rahman for People Like Us , in contention for the final nominations for the original music score category for the 85th Academy Awards.

“I am not very excited, but am definitely happy. This is just the first step and there is a long way to go. But even this is an achievement, especially because I am featured along with composers like Hans Zimmer whom I have always admired,” Sreevalsan Menon told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The film Saint Dracula is a new-age interpretation of the Bram Stoker story. “Though there have been more than 200 films based on the story, this will perhaps be the second one belonging to the genre of drama and love story and not horror. It is extremely hard to do a drama, in tune with the Indian aesthetics, in Hollywood. So even a small recognition like this matters a lot to me,” Rupesh Paul said from Dubai, where he is doing audition and promotion for his new film, Kamasutra .

His film reverts to the original life story of Vlad Tepes Dracula of Transylvania, Romania in 1431. “My Dracula is a Christ-like figure, who has been a victim of the power politics of the Church and how he fell out of favour with the Church,” he said.

The film was shot mostly in the U.K. “The music was done entirely with a Western orientation, as the story line demanded, but with an Indian presence. There are five or six recurring motifs, in one of which I have used Sarangi,” said Sreevalsan Menon, who has already earned a position among leading Carnatic vocalists.

This is his fourth work as composer of original score for films and second with Rupesh Paul.

“While working on the music for this film, I definitely had the anxiety of influence. Mostly because some of my favourite music scores were from old Dracula films such as Love Never Dies . My challenge was to match them,” he said.

Sreevalsan Menon has also composed music for the two English songs featured in this film. It will be another fortnight before he and Rupesh Paul can know if it has been included on the long list.

Explaining the selection process, a communication from the publicity office of the Academy Awards that Sreevalsan Menon received said that a reminder list of works will be given along with the nominations ballot to all members in the music branch. Top five entries winning the most votes will be selected as nominations for the final voting for the award.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on January 10, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre and the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, which is on February 24, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Centre.

A pleasant New Year gift for the Carnatic musician as his score for Saint Dracula is in contention for the final nominations.

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