Monday, 25 June 2018

Budget Decides Quality of Music: Composer Balamurali Balu

Working for a Rajinikanth starrer and making Kamal Haasan sing to his tune is the two big dreams that music composer Balamurali Balu has for his lifetime. The man who impressed with sizzling songs in Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, and some revolutionary and dramatic numbers in Peechankai and Traffic Ramasamy has already established a peck of versatility in the industry to become a promising composer for the next couple of years. I recently caught up with Balamurali for a short informal interview. Here are the excerpts.

1. All your four movies have been unique in their own ways. Is that you, who was so choosy in selecting experimental plots?

That was totally coincidental. Had I been choosy, I would not have been a composer at all. I am from a family with a non-film industry background. So, I was waiting to take up any opportunity given to me. So, I was anyway ready to say yes to my first offer Peechankai. So, it is the movie that was choosing me, but not the other way.

2. Since you are the first film industry professional of your family, was that a big deal to convince them when you signed for two adult comedies in a row?

No, I took my parents to watch Hara Hara Mahadevaki. All I wanted from them was happiness after seeing my name on the title card. Even, they were so happy about that. They did not mind about the plot of the movie. But, for Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, I did not reveal them about the plot or the movie name until the posters and teaser were out. I had just said that I signed for a new movie. They did not react anything to it.

3. Hara Hara Mahadevaki's theme song and Traffic Ramasamy's Komali song have a new style of composition. How did you do that?

Both these songs were out of inspiration. The promo song of Hara Hara Mahadevaki was a collage of all audios by the famous infamous Whatsapp Swamiji. The movie's title was itself an inspiration of Swamiji and so we wanted to maintain that theme throughout the film. But, Komali song was to set a mood for the film. Since Traffic Ramasamy was a political satire, we opted for the 'I am very happy' theme of the popular fake politician role of Goundamani in Suryan movie. The main percussion of Komali was developed from that beat.

4. How much of instrumentation do you imply in your songs in this digital era of cinema music?

It all depends upon the budget of the movie. Involving instrumentation makes a song more lively. But, it costs much. So, most small budget movies have simple electronically programmed songs. But, my upcoming flick Ghajinikanth is of a bigger budget than previous ones and so the makers were okay for live instruments. We have a classical song in the movie based on Sri Raagam, which will have a mix of traditional and western instruments like Sarangi, guitar, and electronic drum beats.

5. So, you have learned classical music before entering the industry?

I am still learning. Since I was not allowed to think about anything else except becoming a doctor or an engineer during school days, I could not learn music. But only when I decided music would be my career, I started learning it during college days.

6. What are all your dreams and wishes as a music director?

I have a lifetime dream to work for a Rajinikanth movie. Also, other than actor Kamal Haasan, I love the musician inside him. So, I wish he sings for my tune. Apart from that, I would like to explore more genres like action thriller and romance dramas to experiment a lot on the original score.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, June 25, 2018.