you listen to 'Kukka Kavali' and 'Gajuwaka Pilla'
songs, you would surely wonder who the music director is! He is
RP Patnaik, the talented Andhra University graduate, who
struggled many years to reach the position of what he is today.
Idlebrain.com met RP Patnaik, the amicable and unassuming simpleton,
to take his interview. Here are the excerpts.
completed my M.Sc in Space Engineering from Andhra University
in 1993. I used to participate in cultural festivals during my
stay at AU. We went to Goa and Calicut to represent our university.
I gave more importance to extracurricular activities and least
priority to studies though I managed to pass out from AU with
good academic track record. When we participated in inter-university
festivals, we used to have no inkling about what we were going
to perform. We used to do tunes impromptu over the train journey.
We used to make collage of tunes to perform.
made me feel more like composer
first experience of an inter-university festival held in Goa.
We are around 30 people from AU participating there. As it was
a cultural meet, we want to do something that represents our culture
and gives preference to national integrity. Hence we have picked
up few lyrics from the four corners of the India. We could get
hold of Telugu, Hindi and Orissa to represent South, North and
East India. None of us knew any language from Western India. Once
we reached Goa, we got hold of a cook who is an amateur poet in
Konkani language. The organizing committee informed us to perform
our events on the second day after reaching Goa. I composed the
tune and packaged the entire song. Whwn we performed that song,
everybody liked it and a professor from Delhi University has commended
us by saying that this song is the best item he has ever listened
to. Chandu Subba Rao, our professor from AU has written a prayer
on Andhra University. He wanted me to compose that prayer so that
it can be used as an AU anthem. I composed that one too and performed
at Goa festival. Everyone appreciated my work. Earlier, I used
to feel that I was a good singer. After the Goa festival, I started
realizing that I can become a good composer too.
- my lyricist friend
have friend called Nandan (Potluri Siva Nandan Kumar) in the campus.
He used to write lyrics secretly. One day we caught him redhanded.
We liked his lyrics and I asked him if I could use his lyrics
to tune songs. It has become an exercise for me to take his lyrics
and compose tunes. We used to have a very good circle of friends
who admire music. I used to perform for them. I used to have another
singer in my batch. He used to feel that he too could compose
tunes. He asked Nandan to lend him a song so that he could compose
a tune. He tried for months and took advice of music teachers,
but in vain. He returned the lyrics to Nandan saying that the
lyrics are not written in music grammar and nobody can compose
tunes for those lyrics. When Nandan approached me if the grammar
(Chandassu) is all right, I have composed a tune for his lyrics
on the spot. That incident has boosted my confidence level, as
I could compose tune to a lyrics that are considered non-tunable
by other composers. Whenever there is a function, people used
to force to participate in them as they feel the function is incomplete
without my contribution.
attempts for civil examinations
completed my PG. I have my own plans of turning into the profession
of music composer. But my parents wanted me to apply for civil
service examinations. As I was also genuinely interested in becoming
something, I came to Hyderabad and prepared for examinations.
I appeared twice and could not get selected in preliminaries.
I am good at descriptive paper and not so good at objective paper.
There is one condition in examinations that you will qualify in
the preliminaries only if you do objective type exceptionally
well. There is no consideration for the people who fared badly
in objective type and are exceptionally good at descriptive type.
I think, that's major flaw in the examinations system. I have
put all my heart and soul into preparation and I could not make
of Telugu film Industry
I realized that I was staying near to the Telugu film industry.
I joined an institute named 'Brain Tree'. I used to entertain
my fellow-students out there. Out teacher would hate me for that
as I was spoiling the studious environment. There I met a person
called Dileep. He introduced me to his friends who are trying
for films. They used to meet in an Irani café called 'Try
Luck'. Dileep introduced me to all his friends as a 'music director
wannabe'. Chandu is one of the friends I met there, whom I consider
as my Godfather. Chandu has lots of confidence in work and talent.
He was planning a movie. We used to go to lots of movie related
functions. We attended a function for the launch of Sashi Preetham's
private album 'Nonsense'. A photographer called anji babu
got inspired by that function and wanted to launch another private
album. After meeting me, Anji Babu asked me how much I would charge
to compose a private album. I told him that I would do it for
free as it gives me a break. Then we did a private album titled
'Anandam'. The sales of that album were encouraging. But
the producers have shot a controversial visual on 'Vathapi
Ganapati' for the album, which I have objected. The music
album 'Anandam' has given me an identity as music director.
that, Chandu has started a film called 'Avunantu
'. The songs were recorded for that film and everybody
liked them. Due to the difference with the other people in the
production, Chandu had to come out and I also walked out along
with Chandu. Hence, that film was never released.
on I got an offer for the film 'Nee Kosam'. It was supposed
to be produced by another producer with Devi Sri Prasad as the
music director. That producer walked out, as he could not mobilize
money for production. Vallabhaneni Janadhan has taken the reins
of production. They could not continue with Devi Sri Prasad, as
they need to go to Chennai to record the songs. They want to do
the film in minimum budget. They need a local lad who can do the
music at a cheapest budget. They got hold of me. I have done all
the songs and background music for 'Nee Kosam', which is
my first feature film.
that time, the brother of Chandu introduced me to Teja. Teja initially
wanted to direct a film with Raja Sekhar, which was cancelled.
Then he approached Ramoji Rao and told him to give a budget of
40 lakhs and he would produce a hit film with in that budget.
Ramoji Rao was surprised with the 40 lakhs figure. After getting
convinced, Ramoji Rao gave a go ahead and unlimited freedom to
Teja to direct 'Chitram'. You can guess what the budget
for the audio section of a movie that is produced on a budget
of 40 lakhs. Luckily, the film was a hit. I have got more than
44 offers after the film Chitram. After tasting the fruits of
success with Chitram, I wanted only to score for good films.
None of these films were challenging for me.
I did a film called Subhavela, which was another Teja's
proxy film in the direction of Ramana. I did score for Teja's
second film 'Family Circus'. Meanwhile, Tammareddy Bharadwaja
asked me to do background score for 'Suri'. As he is an
important person in the industry and a very good-at-heart friend
to me, I scored background music for Suri. Again, he asked
me to do music for his film 'Ramma Chilakamma'.
have done 'Family Circus' as an obligation to Teja. We
knew that Family Circus has no scope for music, as it's
an artist-based film. At that time, work was going on parallel
for Nuvvu Nenu too. I was happy that Nuvvu-Nenu has lot
of scope for good music. I concentrated more on 'Nuvvu - Nenu'.
When somebody asked me about which films I was doing, I used to
tell the name of 'Nuvvu Nenu'. I felt guilty that I was
not proud to tell about 'Family Circus'. Then I decided
that unless there is a demand of great music for a film, I would
not do it.
formulae for success
consider three aspects before signing a film.
- The producer
needs to have good production values.
- The director
should have very good taste
- The subject
should have a demand for great music.
release of 'Nuvvu-Nenu', I have become more selective.
I was not even responding to those producers whose stories did
not have scope for good music. They might feel that I have become
strong-headed. It's a matter of my career. What matters for me
is the number of good films I am doing, not the number of producers
and directors I am pleasing. It's very important to please myself
by doing good films.
of 'time-pass' producers
making of 'Nee Kosam', I got another offer for a film to
be directed by Aditya (who is directing Manasanta Nuvve at present).
We recorded a couple of good songs for that film. Later on we
realized that the producer had no money. That producer owed my
Rs 5,000/-. I had to go to his place innumerable number of times
to collect that money. After five months he paid that amount.
I spent more than 5000 on autos to catch hold of him during the
5-month recovery process.
has taught me a lesson that there are lots of 'time pass producers'
in the industry. They waste the time of technicians by inviting
music director for music sittings and director for story sittings.
They don't have money. They bank on the future and announce films.
These time-pass producers do not only waste the time, but also
spoils the career of the technicians.
All my first
three films were either not released or released after changing
the hands of producer. If I had not got the offer of Chitram,
people would have branded me as 'iron-leg'. That is the
reason why I give maximum respect to Teja garu. I have lots of
friends who entered film industry along with me. These time-pass
producers are exploiting my friends.
I can confidently
say that no other music director can give music of this quality
with minimum budget. I think of the producer's pocket when I am
doing music. I like to save as much money as possible for the
producer by doing music in a low budget. I believe in the adage
of 'Money saved is Money earned'. If the film flops later, the
money saved by me would come to the rescue. That's the reason
why I believe that I have a very long career ahead of me, as maintain
the producer-orientation. I feel that producer is like a father
and director is like mother for the film industry.
I am doing music for another love story called 'Manasantha
Nuvve'. It is being produced by MS Raju and directed by Aditya.
MS Raju is very much pleased with my work. 'Nuvvu Nenu' is the
best work done by me so far. Now, I can claim that 'Manasantha
Nuvve' will become more successful audio than 'Nuvvu Nenu'.
The audio is releasing on 28th of September 2001. It would become
one of the best audio albums of this year. I am also doing another
film with Suresh Producion with Tarun as hero in the direction
of Kaasi Vishwanath. I can assure you that all my future films
will have a great music value.
a music director
director has a span. Even Ilaya Raja, the maestro of great caliber,
was forced to walk out of the industry. He gave so many big hits
and has become the heartthrob of millions of music lovers. Even,
he is not offered any films now. The old talent in music industry
would eventually give the way to new talent. I am also thinking
from this practical point of view. If I commit more films, I will
be thrown out of industry in no time. If I do selective films
with good quality, I can stay here for many more years.
There is a
span for creativity too. After a few films, the music directors
tend to repeat the same music again and again. As the number films
and the time taken to do them are inversely proportional, I am
doing very few films in a year so that I can survive more number
of years. Lets see!
preferring Telugu singers to other 'other-language' singers?
is that all the singers in my films must of Telugu origin. But
there is obligation from the director and producers to put 'non-telugu
singers' as they command good price in the audio rights sale.
Producers feel that 'non-telugu film singers' increase the range
of audio sales. But I feel that, if the songs were good, everybody
would like them. Teja too shares the same sentiment. I am trying
to use only Telugu singers for my albums.
use all Telugu singers for 'Nuvve-Nenu'?
KK, all other singers are Telugu people. Actually I tried singing
the song 'Neekosame ...'. Everybody liked my voice for
that song. But I was not convinced. That song needs a voice that
has lot of tragedy-oriented emotion. And KK has it in abundance.
My voice is soft and soothing. But there is no panic in my voice.
I sing the first track for all the songs in my films. After singing,
according to the mood of the song, I decide upon the singer. If
I were convinced that I had done 100% justice to any songs, I
would retain that particular song, as getting other singers to
sing the same means spending more money.
you not trying senior singers like Babu and Nagur Babu?
I used Balu
in Akhila teleserial and the unreleased film called 'Avunantu
- Kaadantu'. All the films I am doing at present are teenage-oriented
films. His voice does not suit those songs. That's why I am having
his son SP Charan sing in my films. Nagur Babu sang for my album
Anandam. I am encouraging Ravi Varma, the singer who can sing
songs that need Nagur Babu. We can encourage new talent.
At the same
time, I want to work with all singers like Hariharan, Asha Bhonsle,
Shankar Mahadevan etc. But I don't want to use Udit Narayan.
I think Udit
Narayan's voice is over exposed. I do make sure that all my songs
are 100% Telugu. I exhibit lot of patience to get what I want
from the singers. KK took five and half-hour to sing the song
'Neekosame Anweshana' in Nuvvu Nenu. He too has
lot of patience. He is such a good singer that if he knows Telugu,
he can sing that song in a run-through. Nobody can point out any
'wrong-pronunciation' in 'Nee Kosame Anveshana' song though
a non-Telugu singer sings it. Other busy 'non-Telugu' singers'
like Udit Narayan don't have so much time to concentrate on Telugu
I don't mind
spending lot of time in retaking the song as long as the output
is perfect. I need the cooperation from the singer side too. I
tried Shaan for a song in 'Manasantha Nuvve'. There is
one word 'Vellaavani' (gone) for which he repeatedly sung
'Vellavani' (not going). I tried many times to correct
the mistake. But he is not seeing any difference between these
two words. I have replaced him with another singer. Lyrics are
an important aspect in any song's success. Lots of music directors
feel that if the music is good, the songs would become hit. When
a music lover hums a song, he would be humming the lyrics, not
the music. Hence pronouncing the lyrics correctly help in popularizing
your favorite lyric writer?
I feel that
Seetarama Sastry is the best lyricist in the current generation.
The film Sirivennela made me get interested in the department
of lyrics. I used to sing songs as it is. But I was never cared
to understand the internal feelings of the song. From Sirivennela
film onwards, I am giving equal importance to the lyrics. Though,
I have made a few films, I used Kulasekhar as our 'ashtana
kavi' for all the films. But for 'Manasantha Nuvve',
the producer felt that Sirivennela is the only choice. I too agreed
with him. Sirivennela is writing all the lyrics in that film.
likes my composition a lot. Both of us stay in the same building
in different floors. He used to call me in the mid of the night
and request me to sing a song for him saying that he gets relieved
of all his tensions by listening to my voice. I met him for the
first time, when we were doing 'Avunantu - Kaadantu'. One
song needed the lyrics of Sirivennela caliber. We met Sirivennela
in Green Park hotel. Sirivennela gives more importance to the
people with philosophical outlook. That aspect jelled well with
us. When I asked him to write a song, he told that he was very
busy. Then I made him hear the music. After listening to the music,
he felt so happy that he gave me the biggest compliment. He told
that by writing lyrics to my composition would give him some relaxation.
Sirivennela has given wonderful lyrics for 'Manasanthe Nuvve'.
He has given his best for this film. 50% of the credit for album's
success would go to lyrics department.
Rhapsody inspire you for ballet song in Chitram and ghost song
in Family circus?
liked the Rhapsody and wants me to use it for a ballet in Chitram.
I have just taken a small bit from Rhapsody and composed Chitram
song. The family circus song is my own work.
want to do films with big heroes?
I want to
do a film with Pawan Kalyan. Pawan Kalyan also likes my music.
I was supposed to be scoring music to the film 'Tammudu'.
Pawan Kalyan tested me and found me good. But when he asked the
producer Burugapally Siva Rama Krishna to take me as the music
director, Burugapally replied that he has committed to Ramana
Gogula about the same. After that Pawan did a film each with Ramana
Gogula and Mani Sharma. I am eager to make a film with Pawan Kalyan.
I worked for
Anji for a song. But the budget of that film is 30 crores.
A music director of my stature would not be sufficient as it is
being made in three languages (Telugu, Hindi and Tamil). I want
Anji to become a blockbuster. The success of the film is more
important than me doing a song for that film. Hence I voluntarily
opted out of 'Anji'. I also want to work with other big
getting any offers for Hindi films?
I am getting
lots of offers. But I am not accepting any of them, as I want
to do something like Ashiqui. Nadeem Shravan and Anand
Milind were introduced in Hindi with a big bang for their films
'Ashiqui' and 'QSQT'. I am looking forward for that
kind of story so that I can make my debut in Hindi. The Hindi
films, which I am offered, do not have great scope for music.
All love subjects should be fresh and tender. Then music does
jell well. I have done a Hindi private album with Rajesh as singer.
I have to go to Bombay and market that album. I am contemplating
to title that album as 'Tum Se'. It will become one of
the good Hindi albums in the market, once it is released!
your favorite music director?
They are RD
Burman, Ilayaraja and AR Rehman. I like RD Burman for his freak
out kind of music and extraordinary feel in the songs. I like
Rehman for his instrumentation. And, last but not the least, Ilayaraja
about your favorite heroes and heroine?
My all time
favorite heroes are Amitab Bachchan and Kamal Hassan. I like Hamal
Hassan a lot as long as he does not do over-action in some scenes.
I like Amitab Bachchan as there is naturalness and genuineness
in his action. Though I do not have favorite heroines, I like
Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Kajol.
since my childhood, I never missed any NTR film. Later on I never
missed any film of Chiranjeevi.
you feel about the tremendous response Nuvvu-Nenu audio
I thank God
for giving me such a big gift. I am happy that I could entertain
these many people and make them dance in the theater.
I got married
in February of this year. It is an arranged marriage!
lyricists and singers approach you for a break?
All the lyric
writers can excuse me. I have no say in lyrics department. It
would be purely on the discretion of the director and producer.
If you are a singer and very confidant about your talent that
you can do extraordinary work, then you can approach me. But,
it's my experience that most of the people fail to impress me
with their singing.
have any suggestions for the aspiring music directors?
I don't think
I am qualified enough to give any suggestions. The aspiring music
directors can give me suggestions about how I can improve. All
I suggest them is to give more importance to the feel of the film
than experimenting with the music that has no connection with
the soul of the movie.
sing the title song of your forthcoming film 'Manasantha Nuvve'?
Here it is.
(audio release on 28th sep)
Productions film with Tarun & Aarti Agrawal (coming soon!)
here to listen to the songs of Nuvvu Nenu