Musicals are back with a bang

Gone are the days when movies had less or no songs
It has been 67 years since the release of Nirmala, the film which featured music for the first time in Malayalam cinema. Later, many films hit the screens with sound tracks and background scores and eventually, a major share of films became popular just because of its music. Unfortunately, owing to the influence of western culture and other unknown reasons, music became a least important factor in the later years which led to the decline of musicals, one of the popular genres in the industry.
After a long gap, musicals are back. Recent releases Saigal Padukayanu, Kaliyachan and Ennu Ninte Moideen can boast of bringing back the much-praised genre at a time when there is a common criticism that music is not an essential element for the success of a movie.
Bijibal, who composed the music for Manoj K. Jayan-starrer Kaliyachan, says the acceptance of these films is a green signal for more musicals. “Yes, there was a scarcity of musicals in the industry.”
“Post 90s, after movies like Bharatham and Kamaladalam, musical films vanished. The later films started giving importance to subjects sans music. A section of filmmakers even avoided music, considering it as a cliché or monotony. Now it is a changing phase,” says the music director, who bagged National Award for the background score in Kaliyachan.
Interestingly, globalisation has become a reason in the change in music side of Mollywood. “Owing to the over influence of western musical icons such as Michael Jackson, certain filmmakers decided to use such tracks in Malayalam. They thought that our indigenous music (thanath sangeetham) has not much popularity among film-buffs. But it became monotonous and naturally, paved way for the return of thanath sangeetham,” he says.
R.S. Vimal, the director of Prithviraj-starrer Ennu Ninte Moideen doesn’t think his film to be a musical one. “My film cannot be shortlisted as a musical film, but of course the music is its essential factor. Both sound tracks and background score contribute to the life of the film. No songs have been included as a hit formula. All the tracks were added at the portions where the script demanded it,” says Vimal.
He says that music became a crucial factor to give hype to certain portions. “All my musicians M. Jayachandran, Ramesh Narayanan and Gopi Sunder have given their best to my film. I still remember, during the composition of the background music of the scene in which Moideen and Kanchana meets after a long gap, I just narrated the situation to Gopi and said there should be a heartbeat. As I could not speak about the technicality of the music. I told him it should feel like a storm raging over throbbing hearts, in order to depict their feeling.
But the output from Gopi was much above my expectation. It is the same feel from M. Jayachandran and Ramesh Narayanan,” says the director, who is all set to collaborate with A.R. Rahman in the Tamil remake of Ennu Ninte Moideen.
According to editor-turned-director Bijith Bala, who directed the musical Nellika, Malayali audience are always ready to accept good music as it is a part of their culture. “But it is a fact that for a long period, no hit musicals got released. Though a few films came up with good music, those did not get noticed. Absence of a star cast and lack of marketing are the factors which made them unnoticeable,” says the editor of musicals — Saigal Padukayanu and Kaliyachan.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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