Ram Gopalkrishnan, a well-known saxophonist, son of Padma Vibhushan TV Gopalakrishnan, the fifth generation musician of the family with a rich heritage in Carnatic music, recently tried his hand at being a film composer for a mainstream film. Gopalkrishnan opens up about how having a Carnatic background gives him an advantage in coming up with tunes for films.
Though this is the first time he is donning the hat of a composer, Gopalkrishnan has worked with many leading composers in the industry — “Ilaiyaraaja sir was a disciple of my father, and later I worked with him in many films as a violinist. I have also worked with other prominent musicians like Yuvan Shankar Raja, Vidya Sagar, and Harris Jayaraj.”
Gopalkrishnan’s renditions have also traveled the world through the frequent concerts he performs in places like Milan. When asked what prompted him to become a composer, he quips, “One of my friends, a dialogue writer, suggested my name to Charanraj, who is launching his son Tej in a film called Laali. I was then signed on as the composer.”
Talking about how Carnatic music helped his film albums, he asserts, “I would say the traditional music background gives you more sensibility and makes you more creative in finding tunes. Also, you get more adaptability in terms of tunes,”
He also adds, “However, there are certain characteristics of Carnatic music that you should make sure don’t enter your film renditions. For example, prolonged sangathis don’t go well in mainstream music. It should be used in a controlled way so that the song doesn’t like a keerthanai.”
Other than Laali, a directorial venture of Lingan Rajali, Ram Gopalkrishnan also has a few more films in his kitty.