Remix songs are not new to Malayalam film industry. Kannum Kannum (Angadi), Kasthoori manakkunnallo (Picnic) and Alliyambal (Rosy) are a few examples.
It is the allure of old songs that makes filmmakers remix these soundtracks for new films. The common factor linking these soundtracks was their use in song sequences. Now there is a trend in M’town — many popular songs of 1980s and 90s are being used in films; not in the song sequence, but to back the story narration.
Those who watched Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Thattathin Marayathu will recall Aayiram Kannumai track in the film. Later many filmmakers adopted this style.
Recently releases — Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Mudhugauv and Valliyum Thetti Pulliyum Thetti — have borrowed soundtracks from films released around 25 years ago.
All tracks used in these films were composed by the national award-winning music composer Ouseppachan. He is only happy to see his old compositions enriching new films.
“I’m proud. Moreover, the films which used those tracks were released almost together and were rendered nicely. The irony is I am very active in the industry when my songs are being remixed or rearranged for new films,” says Ouseppachan.
He feels the freshness in his tracks was the sole factor for directors to reuse them. “I have always tried my best to introduce unique tracks or incorporate fresh ideas while composing songs and scoring background music. Many director friends have pointed out that my tracks have the power to shine in the future,” says Ouseppachan.
“One who listens to my track, for example — Devadoothar Paadi… which is being used in Mudhugauv — for the first time, cannot recognize it is an old song. That is the freshness,” he says.
It was a few months ago Ouseppachan got a call from Vineeth Sreenivasan, seeking his permission to use his Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam track in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Vineeth briefly narrated why he wanted to use the sound track. The master obliged.
“I forgot all this. Later, at a theatre in Thrissur I saw the thanks card on the screen. People started clapping when my name came up. It was then that I recalled the conversation with Vineeth. That made me curious about how the track is being used and the scene was visualised. I am happy for it,” says Ouseppachan, who got a chance to watch yet another film — Mudhugauv — with his tracks on the screen.
“Its makers also called me for permission to use Devadoothar Paadi… As I became curious about the scene the track was being sought for, I told them to narrate that portion. I let them have it only after that,” he said.
“But later, when I entered a cine hall to watch yet another film, I could see that around three tracks of mine were used in that film. It was a shocker,” he concludes.
Vipin Das, director of Mudhugauv, admits he had no option if Ouseppachan had said ‘No’. “From the day of scripting it was the first song in mind while composing this scene. My plan was to go for a single take of around 3 minutes’ duration. The scene is set against the backdrop of 1994. More than these factors, I wanted a song with a particular rhythm. There was no substitute to Devadoothar. Frankly, this track helped me take the film to the audience. I still don’t know which track to use if Ouseppachan sir had said, ‘No’.”