It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Raghu Dixit is a busy man. Taking time out from his rehearsals to speak with us, he tells us that he’s been working on seven films — back-to-back. But his latest honour, receiving the Best Music Director at the SIIMA Short Film Awards, isn’t lost on him. In fact, he cherishes it, and he tells us exactly why in this freewheeling exclusive. “I’ve always wondered why I didn’t get any awards — that is until I realised the amazing orchestration that goes behind it,” he quips, very Raghu-like. Although, he needed validation only from himself, this, he says is truly special – not because it’s the first award he’s won as a musician in India after 20 years of being a musician, but because it happened at home and for a film that he truly believed in. “Nobody roped me into this film, in fact, I wanted to be a part of it.
“I didn’t even know it was a short film on a tight budget, all I knew was that I believed in its subject,” he says about The Last Kannadiga directed by Madan Ramvenkatesh and produced by Sandalwood actress Sruthi Hariharan, for which he sponsored music, and composed the scores, overnight!
The Last Kannadiga which released last week is a social experiment. The film is an enquiry on the idea that a language cannot survive the death of its speakers. “It’s a border-line xenophobic film. The message makes you squirm, makes you uncomfortable and that’s where it works,” says Raghu. “This movie is especially important in the times we are living in. There’s a strong unrest brewing beneath the calm surface of the typically large-hearted Kannadigas. Even if one wants to be politically correct, the ground reality is that Kannadigas – everyone from a taxi driver to an IT guy are even speaking in other languages for fear of losing their livelihoods,” notes Raghu.
This cracker of a singer debuted as a music director in the Kannada film industry with Psycho. And his compositions for Just Math Mathalli won him rave reviews soon after. So why then did he stay away from making music for films? “They needed songs in a typical template kind of way — build up for actors or their love stories. Then came the new wave in Kannada cinema with new filmmakers and great content. I couldn’t stay away,” he smiles, after the recent success of his music in Kannada multi-starrer Happy New Year.
He admits that he is in and out of the studio for about 18 hours a day. “I’ve opened up the terrace of my studio in Indiranagar and people generally come up there to write their scripts and stories. That’s probably what I do when I get some free time — ideate, learn from them and impart what I know,” he adds. For him, it’s all in a day’s work....