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    Mohamaad Ghibran on his  box office misses and working with the Tamil icon

    Mohamaad Ghibran’s Enthara Enthara (from Thirumanam Enum Nikkah) was the most played song on radio last year. Though the film bombed at the box office, this 34-year-old music director was unfazed. ‘‘Somehow none of my films have done too well at the box office, but that’s fine because people still remember the songs—like Saridhaana Saridhaana, from Amarakaviyam,’’ begins the city-based composer. Having said that, Ghibran admits that he is shattered each time his films flop. ‘‘In Vathikuchi, the song Kurru Kurru stood out though the film didn’t do as expected. It breaks my heart. But I pull myself together and start working harder on the next project,’’ he continues.

    A new chapter
    But things are looking up with Kamal Haasan signing the composer for three of his films—Vishwaroopam 2, Uttama Villain, Papanasam. ‘‘I cannot tell you how much I have learnt from Kamal. It has been emotional—to see how he perceives art and envisions life. He is very easy to work with. He narrates the story to me—the scenes before and after—and brings the song to the centre point,’’ says Ghibran, who has made Haasan sing most of the tracks in Uttama Villain. “He surrenders to the composition and gives it 100 per cent. I remember he had finished a Telugu song recording and I insisted that he sing a Tamil song next. He immediately agreed,’’ he says. While we wonder if it is a lot of pressure composing music for a Kamal Haasan banner, the composer says it is the other way round. ‘‘It is when you make music for smaller budget films that you need to be more careful. A Kamal film has excellent reach. But in a small budget film, the music has to boost the film,” he confesses.

    The evolution
    Background score is the soul of a film and Ghibran confesses that composing it is more difficult. “The director has a vision when he describes the situation. The feel and emotion has to be right. When you watch the film, the music should make sense,’’ he says. A fan of all genres, Ghibran tries to include all of it in his songs. He calls himself a good listener and gets nostalgic. ‘‘I have made several mistakes, like working on 80 ads a year like a businessman. Now I know quality matters more,’’ he expresses. He considers YouTube to be an important tool during promotions. ‘‘We had cassettes and now we have YouTube. It is easier for composers to make note of which song is doing well. But you never know how long YouTube will exist,’’ he smiles.
    Uttama Villain is scheduled to release next month.

    Tune in

    Competition: Santhosh Narayanan and I are good friends. Competition comes in business, not in art.
    What is music to you? Life. I read a lot of biographies about musicians, sculptors and painters. The last I read was on composer Robert Schumann.
    It is scary because he cut his fingers, went mad  and killed himself.
    Growing up: I have grown up listening to AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja.
    Playlist: I am listening to the songs of InterstellarWorld musicians: I like
    Anoushka Shankar a lot.
    Early dream: I only had two things in mind—music and food. If not a musician, I would have been a chef.
    Telugu chapter: I recently did Jil in Telugu and it is a commercial hit. It is strange that the people of Andhra Pradesh think I am better at composing commercial hits and here people assume I am better at melodies.
    Possible collaborations: I call this the impossible collaboration—Yanni.

    — Mrinalini Sundar


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