Revathi Viswanathan aka Revaa on debuting as a music director in the Tamil film industry with Vijay Sethupathi’s Mugizh, releasing tomorrow in theatres
One of the first song briefs that director Karthik Swaminathan gave composer Revaa for the Vijay Sethupathi-starrer Mugizh, which releases this Friday, was about a family that bonds with a puppy.
Revaa composed a three-minute song that the team was happy with. However, when they went to shoot, there was a problem: the reactions that Scooby, the role played by the pup, just did not sit with the song.
This put both Karthik and Revaa in a tight spot, and they decided to do something unconventional: shoot the entire song, and then compose the tune. “Going through the lengthy footage, I sat down and composed depending on the graph that the puppy follows in the film,” recalls Revaa, seated comfortably at her uncle Ramanathan’s Nadabindu Recording Studio at KK Nagar.
The song she is referring to is ‘Mayakaara’.
Mugizh marks Revaa’s (Revathi Viswanathan) entry into Tamil cinema. She has earlier worked on Malayalam film Mangalyam Thanthunaena, Marathi film College Diary besides composing for pilot films and more than 200 ad jingles. This film came about after working with director Karthik Swaminathan on a documentary and short film Idaivelai.
“We (Karthik and I) have a great working relationship. The story of Mugizh is all about a family’s discoveries about each other; in fact, Mugizh refers to one of the nine stages in the blooming of a flower, during which it gets fragrance.”
The runtime of Mugizh is a little more than an hour, which is longer than a short film but less than a feature. “It is all about storytelling, at the end of the day. When I do a jingle, I have to convey the essence musically within a short time. It is a planned execution of music, because it has to be catchy. But films, for me, revolve around emotions; I concentrate on enriching the visuals, and not on what is trending,” she adds.
Revaa hails from a Palakkad-based family steeped in music; her grandfather is popular mridangam artiste, Palakkad R Seshamani. Her parents, PV Viswanathan and PS Saradambal, recognised her love for music and enrolled her into violin and vocal classes.
Though music was always in the background, Revaa ventured into Fashion Technology: she graduated from Chennai’s National Institute of Fashion Technology and worked in the garments business for a few years, before returning to her first love: music.
She believes that the effort put into Mugizh will help her cause. Two of the songs in film are sung by Govind Vasantha and Pradeep Kumar, who are composers themselves. “A lot of people told me that the route is to establish myself as a singer, and then get into composing. But I wanted to break that; it is composing tunes that gives me immense happiness.”
That she has to do this in a mostly all-male environment does not bother her too much. “I am thankful to my family. Composing is a lot about tapping the requirements of the director, and executing it. The process involves hours of discussions, corrections and follow-ups, which means late-night work as well. All these things make it challenging for a woman to break into the field.”
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