Notes of brilliance

not run-of-the-mill

Notes of brilliance

meticulous Ram Sampath

Think of Ram Sampath and the first thing that comes to your mind is the fact that he was
the person who sued the Roshans just before the release of Krazzy 4 and won the case in a Mumbai court. The reason? The title song of the multi-crore Hrithik Roshan movie was lifted from a jingle Sampath had composed. And the Roshans used it without giving any credit or paying any royalty to the composer.  “Not many music directors get justice, and that too, at the pace that I did.

It created a sense of unity amongst musicians in the industry,” says the music director, who shot to fame after composing songs for Khakee.

Of course, it helped that Sampath decided to file the case just before the release of Krazzy 4, when the stakes involved, for the Roshans especially, were really high. They had little option but to settle the matter as early as possible. But it also passed on a very important message to everyone in the film industry — plagiarism will never go unnoticed and isn’t acceptable.

Sampath has moved on. Though he has not been scoring music for a lot of films, he has got a number of good projects lined up. He created music for the recently
released Love Ka The End and has composed for the much-hyped Delhi Belly ,
of Aamir Khan Productions. His composition for Bhaag Bhaag D K Bose is already a rage.

Needless to say, the fact that he has been selected for an Aamir Khan production speaks volumes of his capabilities. But why doesn’t he work on more films? Sampath maintains what he has been saying throughout his career — that it is his choice of quality over quantity. “I am primarily from the ad world where attention to detail is very important. And that can happen only when you are not submerged in too much work.”

He adds further, “I insist on reading the script before taking up a film. In nine cases out of 10, the script does not interest me and therefore, I do not work on such films. When we have the initial meeting with the makers of any film, they will make tall claims that the ‘film is pathbreaking or different’, but when I read their script I realise that it is far from what was promised to me,” admits Sampath. 

Come to think of it, the music director, who started off as a keyboard player in a rock band, Colourblind, and got drawn towards the ad world when he was just 17, has always focused on the non-film genre of music in his close to two-decade career. A look at his work will reveal the story — 4,000 ad jingles, 20 television serials, four private albums and five movies. He has composed for private albums, including the super hit Loveology and Tanha Dil by Shaan as well as Sona by Sona Mohapatra.

He chose to work on Delhi Belly because it is one of the most exciting scripts he has ever heard. “When I look for singers, I specifically try to locate people who can sing live.”  Talking about technology changing the way music is created and recorded, he says, “We should use technology to make small corrections wherever needed, not to correct the entire song. I feel that is unethical. Today, unfortunately, it is possible to make a non-singer sound good using technology. I don’t believe in doing that.”

He adds, “We come from a culture where every song has a story to tell. If you listen to a Lata Mangeshkar number, you will understand the story behind it; the message it is trying to convey. Unfortunately, today’s singers are being told — mostly in reality shows — that sur is the only important element of singing.

I agree that being melodious is a must for every good singer, but singing is not only about melody. Today, as musicians are only concentrating on sur, the story that a song should convey to the listener is missing,  which is why I stress on working with singers who are excellent live performers — they know how to translate the energy in their singing and use it to connect with the audience.”

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