‘I deliver what the Filmmaker wants ’
“What you have seen so far is only a gusthi fight. From now on, you will see an Osthi fight!” Post that flamboyant announcement, STR begins a fight to the finish, as he vanquishes one goon after another. And adding pep to his exploits with its slam-bang catchphrase is Thaman’s music: Osthi Maame! Tell him that crowds in Chennai shriek with delight when they hear his songs, especially, Mallika Sherawat’s Kalasala, which is Tamil’s answer to Munni Badnaam Hui, and Thaman chuckles. “Seriously, that song was composed in seven minutes flat,” he confides, ingeniously. “There was absolutely no research, no breaking our heads. Director Dharani, STR and I got together; we needed a song that was passionate and would set people grooving, and there it was.” It was his idea to bring in veteran singer LR Easwari who was the only one, he felt, who could do justice to it. Understandably, he’s full of praise for the entire Osthe team. “It’s the perfect entertainer – and the music had to match its mood.” Victory is sweeter to him, as this is his first big break into commercial Tamil cinema. Thaman, as someone whose roots lie in the Telugu music industry, got his big breaks there: Kick, Mirappakkay and Ragada were all chartbusters, and soon, he was no longer just the new face in town. “I started off on the right track,” he says, “You could say I kicked off with A-listers – I didn’t really begin small. My father worked in music for more than 900 films, until he passed away when I was in the 7th Standard. So, I had to discontinue my studies and sort of, pick up the family reins, you know? Fortunately, a lot of people in the industry knew us, so I made my way from there. Still, it hasn’t been an easy journey.” Indeed. And it looks like Thaman liked to keep his options open: he was one of the boys in acclaimed director Shankar’s Boys, an AM Ratnam production, which he did ‘just for the fun of it’.
“I mean, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet legends like AR Rahman, Sujatha sir and others,” he smiles. Music still remained his first love, and he would go on to do films such as Brindavanam with Junior NTR, and Raghava Lawrence’s Kanchana, to much success. Tamil was still part of his agenda, though. “I was brought up in Chennai, you know,” he says conversationally, “And I was asked to compose for Director Shankar’s Eeram, for which I’ll always be grateful.” The supernatural thriller was declared a hit, both story and music-wise, and was dubbed into Vaishali, to much acclaim. Once again, it was back to Telugu, and soon, he hit the mother-lode of commercial treasures: Mahesh Babu’s big-budget Dookudu, which launched him straight into the big league. His caller-tune is still the film’s theme music. “Dookudu had awesome dialogues and it has a star with enormous mass appeal. So the music had to match it,” he explains. And yes – Mahesh Babu, post its success, signed Thaman on again; this time for The Businessman, which made the composer post ecstatic pictures of the star and him on his Twitter page. “It’s gonna rock,” he says with the enthusiasm of a true cinephile. “If Dookudu’s dialogues were fantastic, this one’s at an all-new level.” Close on the heels of adulation, however, came a few accusations: following the announcement of a voice session in the movie’s theme song, a slew of responses arrived, that it was ‘inspired’ by the humongous success of Dhanush’s Why this Kolaveri di? “Absolutely untrue,” says Thaman, vehement. “Our songs were done three or four months ago, so there’s no question of following other trends.” Fair enough – but what about the charges leveled against him that his songs are all sound and fury – and nothing else? “I deliver what the filmmaker wants,” Thaman says staunchly, “If the cinematographer is the director’s eyes, then I’m his ears. And I give him the music he needs, his movie needs. Like the song Gorey Gorey for Moscowin Kaveri. Or Guruvaram for Dookudu. But, now that you mention it,” he grins, “I’m working on melody too. I did deliver Eeram, after all. You’ll see melody in my future work, I promise.” And he does have a whole slew of them, lined up: Bodyguard and Businessman, while in Tamil, he has the Siddharth-Amala Paul starrer, Kaadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi. An instrumental album, and a music school are in his list of priorities as well. “2012 is going to be good for me,” he chuckles, going back to his compositions.