Idlebrain.com has caught up with Ramana Gogula at his posh office at Museum
Road, Bangalore on 31st of August. An unassuming guy he is, Ramana Gogula
spent an hour chatting with jeevi over lot of aspects of his passion towards
music. Here is the transcript of the Interview made by Jeevi
How it all started?
It all started when I was 17. I formed a rock and roll band in Vizag. I used
to like Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. I was never into Indian music. I never
cared too much for Indian music. But my mother was a classical singer. I
think the osmosis process worked. If you do not like something and if you
are in the vicinity, you absorb it without your knowledge. That's what
happened to me. When I went to IIT Kharagpur, I had another band there. I
started getting into fusion and creative music. When I went abroad I formed
a reggae band. And we used to play in bar and pubs for four years. By that
time I started relating with world music. I Played with Africans, Jamaicans,
American Blues Musicians and Rock n Roll Funk Guitarists. I spent around six
years before figuring out what I wanted to do. In 1996, I released my own
album, Aye Laila. Sony Music did that. And after that, one of the movie guys
saw me and called me. Jayant, director of Premante Idera, met me and he
liked my stuff and wanted me to do 'Premate Idera' for him. At that time, I
also knew Venky through another friend. And Venky wanted me to compose music
for 'Preminchukundam Raa'. That's how I got into films. I finished four
films and now I am taking a break. Now I am more concentrating on my company
in building it.
Tell us about the heroes you worked with?
Basically I worked with three guys. Two of the films are with Pawan. And one
each with Venky and Mahesh. I am very close to Pawan. We are like buddies.
Venky is also close to me. But not as close as Pawan. With Mahesh, it's
purely professional relationship. But Pawan is the most fun guy to work
You gave half of the music credit to Pawan for the film Badri?
What I mean by that is, when you conceive an idea for a movie, you conceive
it in totality. Thinking of who should be the music director, director,
cinematographer and props guy. These four guys are the most important people
when you make a film. From that sense, Pawan takes control of it. He does
the whole thing. He has all other people work for him. But he is the master
brain behind it. I give him a lot of credit for that. It helps me also. When
a director or an actor has clarity about what he wants, it makes my job
easier. And we break rules. That's fun. It's always good to break rules and
make music. In both his films, we broke rules. I introduced an entire
English song in 'Tammudu' and an entire Hindi song in Badri.
Don't you think your music is becoming redundant?
Possible. It all depends on market perception. But it's doing well. 7,50,000
copies of sales is not a small achievement. Its three fourth of a million.
It's a mind-boggling number. Sales of all my four albums ranged between
5,00,000 to 7,50,000 copies, Badri being the highest. If you listen to any
band, there is always a trademark. You have to have a trademark. It's an
identity. And identity can never be redundant.
Would you choose your best number among all the four film albums?
Tough. Because, when you write music, you obviously write what you like. For
all the songs, I have put in equal amount of work. For me there is no
personal favorite, per se. But all four films got four different flavors.
Premate Idera got more of classical pop feel to it. Badri got a modern kind
of overtone to it. We completely experimented with Tammudu. Yuvaraju is more
folkish. It has got folk feel to it.
Which of your songs you think are best captured on the screen?
I really liked the way they picturized 'Chali Pidugullo' in Badri. It may
look funny to you. But for me, it's a strong visual impact in it. In
'Tammudu', the 'traveling soldier' is visually powerful. 'Made in Andhra' is
also quite powerful, I think. But in real, it's very difficult for the
director to match what's there in my head, unless I choreographed it. It's
tough for me to say any song is completely satisfied me on the screen.
Are you planning do any videos in the future?
I am definitely making one album by the end of this year. I will be making
it both in Hindi and Telugu (Hinglish and Telgish ...).
You voice is best identified with Pawan's image?
That's true. My voice goes well with Pawan. But, we felt that doing too many
movies together with same voice, it may get redundant and people may not
appreciate it. I have taken a break now.
Is composing music for a film is a hobby or profession to you?
Both my Software Company job and cinema gives me lot of fulfillment.
Otherwise I would not be doing them. Cinema can't be a hobby. If you chose
it to be a hobby, you are gambling on producer's money. The moment you say
it's a hobby, the producer gets scared. For me composing music for the film
is a serious business.
Then how do you balance your regular job and cinema job?
I work day and night. One is during the day and other is during the night.
In the daytime from 9 am to 7 pm, I am at office. Then I go home take a
shower and start my music at 9 pm and it goes on till 2 am. I sleep five
hours a day. I have got a sixteen track digital personal studio in my house.
Would u prefer directing your albums?
Yes. I will get a good choreographer and a cinematographer. I will do the
conceptualization of shooting the album and I will direct it myself. You
must have seen my 'Aye Laila' on TV. I had zero experience shooting that. I
did it out of intuition and it did well as it has freshness in it.
You are not interested in other singers singing in your films?
Actually it's funny. I never wanted to sing in my films. But Pawan does not
like anybody's voice. The only way to make other singers sing for him is to
stay away from composing music to his films. When I compose the music and
show it to them, my voice in that composition gets into their brain. So how
good another singer is, they cannot get the same flavor. When it comes to
other music directors, they coming it with a third person's voice and then
it will be recorded with professional singer's voice. So that could be the
reason why the people do not prefer others singing in my films.
Do you get any fan mail?
None. No one knows who I am. That's the most beautiful part of it. I do not
know if I have any fans.
What is your contribution towards background music in your films?
My personal preference is that background music should be very closely ties
into the song structure. There must continuity between background music and
the song. These people do not understand that. I sketch the notes and give
it to the music composer to do the background music. I supervise it as I do
not have time to translate the notes. I did background music for all the
films, but for Yuvaraju.
But Raj was credited for 'premate Idera' background?
That was my first movie. I, myself had no confidence. I did the complete
background score for that film. But I was not involved in translating that
score with the musicians.
What's your next goal in music?
My short-term goal is to compose music for a Hindi film.
Are you getting any feelers?
Like I said, no one knows me.
Do you have any plans to shift to Hyderabad?
No. When I do any film. I would be there in Hyderabad for a week per month.
And I take three months to finish a film.
How often do you watch Telugu Films?
Not much. I do watch lot of English films.
You have any favorite heroes or heroines in Telugu Cinema?
I really like SV Ranga Rao. He is my most favorite actor. I also like Allu
Rama Lingaiah. He is a very good artist. Among the modern guys, I like
Pawan. Pawan is the happening hero now.
Who are Indian music directors you like?
I like AR Rehman a lot. The guy who did music for 'Kaho Naa Pyar Hain' is
also good. There lot of good music directors. Mani Sharma is a good music
director. The masses love his songs. SA Raj Kumar is also good.
We heard that you are doing a special number for Anji?
Let me see. I have not done anything as yet. It's not confirmed yet. I am
not sure if I will be doing it.
Tell us about your company?
Liqwid Krystal is a fully funded software company. We are around 30 people
working for it. We are building technologies for the next generation. It's
an Internet company. Unlike the other Indian companies, it's a products
company. We are building some products that are going to blow people minds
away, hopefully. These products are about how people are going to learn and
acquire knowledge over Internet.
Why did you choose the name Liqwid Krystal?
It has some background. Liquid is that which takes the shape of any
container. You have to take the shape of any container you put yourself
into. That is what change is all about. Crystal is that which gives out
light. Knowledge is light. So Liquid Crystal means that you change with the
changing times and give out as much as knowledge you can.
Why w and k in Liqwid Krystal?
Good point. Could not get the URL liquidcrystal.com. It was taken. So we had
to choose liqwidkrystal.com. Before even finializing on the real world
company and the products we are going to make, we fixed the name 'Liqwid
Is it something related with audio?
Definitely down the line, I will come up with audio stuff. But now we are
concentrating over the software.
How is your company doing now?
It's doing pretty well now. Our product is in development stage. We will
have the product released by the end of this year. The product is for the
world market. So, it's multinational company. We are going open an office in
US in January.
What will Internet do to India in the future?
If we sort out the Bandwidth and connectivity problems, I think India will
be the next super power.
If you have to surf, what is the first site you visit?
I actually don't surf. I am a context sensitive browser. I pretty much know
what I want and I know where I can get it.
When a film star kidnapped, Bangalore's cinema halls were closed for a month. What's you opinion?
It's dangerous question to answer. Life should go on with or without of somebody. It's my personal opinion.
What's you opinion on our web site's name "Idle Brain"?
Good name. I like it a lot. That's what happens to 90% of the brains in the world. It's pretty much idle even when you are busy. Most intelligent man uses only 10% of his brain.
Do you have anything to say to the visitors of Idlebrain.com?
Checkout my music!