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On Song with Justin Varghese

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FWD Life On Song with Justin Varghese

Music director Justin Varghese talks about his experience of having worked in the film Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

Words by Suhas KM and Shilpa Ann Stanley     Featured image source: Justin VargheseNjandukalude Nattil Oridavela

The tracks of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela are already creating waves in the music charts. The song Enthavo, from the film is the chief favourite, with the melodious feel-good number being easy to catch on. FWD chats with the film’s music director Justin Varghese to get an insight into the making of the the film’s music.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela is your debut movie as music director. How did you get the offer?

Althaf Salim and I have many mutual friends. We used to meet in a friend’s studio often. Althaf used to always remain shut in a room, buried under books or watching movies. Gradually, we lost touch after some time. One day I got a call from one of my friends saying that Althaf was directing a film and wanted me to create the music for it. That’s how I got the opportunity to work in the film.

Tell us about your experience in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela?

I always had a concept in my mind about how my first song should be. But this was something different from my league. My family and relatives used to taunt me about my music that there was always the touch of gospel music to it. So I wanted to break that feel. But when Althaf called me saying he needed the music of the film to have a devotional touch, I was initially disappointed.

Coming to the songs, Althaf wanted a romantic mood for the Enthaavo. So, initially the song was entirely romantic, but then later we added a fun element to it. This song is sung by Sooraj Snathosh. The second song Nanavere is sung by Tessa Chavara and Vipin Lal. Tessa is a student of class 11 and a member of the choir in a church that my friend visits, and so he suggested her to me. We had initially thought of Bombay Jayashri for this song but as we wanted a new voice, we chose Tessa.

I had all the freedom to choose the lyricist, that’s how Santhoshettan (Santhosh Varma) came into the scene. We are good friends and I really felt comfortable working with him. I got all the lyrics first in hand, and then I started working on its composition. I am glad that all the songs got a good reach.

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How did you end up in the world of music?

Since childhood I had a deep devoted passion towards music. After my schooling I joined the seminary. I wanted to become a priest and I also wanted to explore my passion for music. The seminary was a good platform for both. From there I started working on music. But slowly I dropped out from the seminary due to some reasons. Meanwhile, I came to know about a sound engineer called Henry in my native place. He was like a role model for me. He has worked under A R Rahman. But I concentrated on my studies more and I left for Arunachal Pradesh where I worked as a teacher for a short period. Finally, I had to drop that and I came home because of the passion that I had towards music and sound engineering. I took a loan and studied sound engineering, which gave a breakthrough to my career.

What was the response you received or the best compliments that you got for the songs you composed for Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela?

I got very good feedback for all the songs. Surprisingly, Sachin Warrier and Veetraag called me and congratulated me for my work, which boosted my confidence and it was also the best praise that I have received.

How was it working with Nivin Pauly as an actor and producer?

As a producer, Nivin gave me a lot of freedom to choose the lyricist and the singers. He used to give me suggestions about the songs which turned out to be very helpful.

You have been working with music director Bijibal for eight years. What are the lessons you have learnt from him?

It was music director Afsal Yusuf who introduced me to Biji ettan and it has been eight years since I’ve been working with him. Words are not enough to express my gratitude to him. He has influenced me a lot in my life. He used to correct me when I did something wrong. He is against the use of plastic, and would forbid me from bringing it in any form inside the studio. This habit caught onto me and I started following it at home as well. I followed his teachings in several ways, to the point where if I didn’t do something, I was asked if it was because Biji ettan didn’t do it. He has always stood beside me as a guide.

For my debut movie Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela, Biji ettan gave me one of his studios just for me to get onto the track and for the entire music production. I had not disclosed to anyone about this offer when I received it, but Bijiettan used to introduce me to everyone as the music director for Njandukal, which was quite humbling. Music should always complement a film, and not dominate it, is the lesson Biji ettan has taught me.

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How was your entry into the movie industry?

I met Afsal ikka after finishing sound engineering. He introduced me to the rest of the music directors of Malayalam movie industry. My initial work was with Gopi Sundar as a programmer. Thus, I began my journey in the Malayalam film industry.

What are your thoughts on the current scenario where social media is filled with music apps like Smule, Musically, etc.?

Personally, I really support these music apps because it gives an excellent platform for everyone to display their singing talents. Earlier, people had to go to a music recording studio to send a demo, but now the process has become very easy because of all these apps.

What genre of movies do you prefer to work with?

I don’t mind working for any kind of movies. But, I wish to work for an action thriller movie.

What are your future projects?

As of now I haven’t signed any other projects.

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NGO

Cochin, you owe this award, says Mr. Krishnamachari

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Kochi Biennale Foundation bagged  Asia Arts Game Changers Award 2018

Text Credit: Silpa Rajan

Asian Society Center honoured Mr. Bose Krishnamachari and Mr. Riyas Komu, the founders of Kochi Biennale Foundation with Asia Society Asia Arts Game Changers Award 2018, on Thursday at Delhi, for their priceless contribution in the development of modern and contemporary art.

The felicitation was conferred with Asian Arts Vanguard award. Mr. Krishnamachari, the director of KBF said that both of them were glad for receiving such an honour. He added that “ The project is only possible through the support of an ever growing art eco-system in India and we are proud of an ever-growing art eco-system in India and we are proud to play a role in its evolution. Our work and mission continue and we hope this award will encourage greater philanthropy, corporate giving and government support for the arts across India”.

Mr. Komu, the Director of Programmes, while expressing his happiness said that he would like to dedicate the award to the people of Kochi, a  community which lives and celebrates the diversity of human existence. He also congratulated the other three winners.

The event honours artists and art professionals, who had made a significant contribution to contemporary art. This signature event also collaborates major art collectors, artists, gallerists, dignitaries from the world of art.

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Living

Its time for Pot-Anjali

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Baba Ramdev wants legalization of marijuana. Patanjali Cannabis?

Text Credit: Shibul Pavithran 

 

Never did we imagine we would find the words ‘Patanjali’ and ‘cannabis’ in the same sentence. Until now! In a country like ours where even the mere mention of weed and marijuana is enough to make some people feel awkward, the legalization of it seems way too far-fetched. But strangely, Baba Ramdev’s ‘Patanjali’ is making efforts towards the same and trying to make most of our population’s dreams come true. There have been been many issues which have been bouncing up and down in our country nowadays, like controversial movies, National Anthem, Beef-love/hate and many more. But ‘Pot-Anjali’ is definitely going to have some mixed reactions from the public. With a huge population of youth in the country using marijuana, Baba Ramdev is surely going to hit the market immensely. Patanjali’s is India’s highest selling consumer goods makers and their last year’s turn over was a whooping 10,561 crores.

It was only last year that India handed out the first ever license to grow and study the medicinal properties of cannabis was granted to the Council of Scientific and Medical Research (CSIR), in partnership with Mumbai-based firm, The Bombay Hemp Company. The research aims to study the many purposes medicinal marijuana could serve in the treatment of epilepsy and cancer — a notion often contested globally. Co-founder of The Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), Avnish Pandya, stated specifically, “It won’t be raw cannabis; it will be an actual product in the form of extracts, pills and patches.”

Image Source: Acharya Balkrishna

Now Patanjali is pushing for the same. Acharya Balkrishna, CEO of Patanjali, has voiced his opinion on the matter before, noting that by criminalizing marijuana, the nation was being denied ‘a full-fledged business opportunity’. In an  interview with Quartz,Balkrishna said, “In ayurveda, since ancient times, parts of cannabis (hemp), for instance, have been used for medicinal purposes. So, we are looking at various formulations. We should ponder over the benefits and positive uses of the cannabis plant.” He went on to list how the seeds of the plant were useful, the fibre could be used for clothes and so on; the only issue is with the toxic part known as THC — Tetrahydrocannabinol, the element inducing the high often experienced due to consumption of marijuana.

 

But before you get all excited and hope that you’ll soon be able to get your hands on ‘Patanjali Stash’ in the market, then we hate to break it to you that it won’t really give you the ‘high’ that you crave. ‘Toxic parts’ like THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol will be removed from the cannabis oil to make it fit for medicinal use.

via GIPHY

 

Nevertheles we are happy to see that the country is finally making some efforts to give the positive aspect of cannabis a chance. Who knows, it might even prove to be a boon for the country’s economy.

 

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Entertainment

The need for Padman Challenge

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Beating the Taboo with Padman Challenge

 

“Take care not to touch any of these clothes when you pass through. These kids, nowadays never care to put themselves closed in a room, during their menstrual cycle”, Grandma used to say while I was having my periods. It was so horrible in her days, but as we started to ‘progress’, such customs started to vanish. Today my Amma doesn’t resist me from sleeping on a mattress or entering the kitchen. But still, there are things that haven’t changed. I have never in my entire life got an opportunity to touch any Holy books or attend to a sacred gathering or visit a temple during those days.

We are still following some fallacies without knowing that they indeed are misconceptions. Proper awareness and destruction of stigma is inevitable for balancing the society. In such a situation the relevance of R. Balki’s Padman is beyond words. Padman is an upcoming comedy-drama written and directed by R.Balki, based on Twinkle Khanna’s book “The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad“, which was inspired by the real life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu.

The Padman Challenge has reached a wide range of people via Twitter. Many celebrities including Sonam Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone, etc have taken part in the campaign by posting a selfie of themselves with a sanitary napkin.

During the Sabarimala season of 2015, a conductor of a KSRTC bus asked a few women to step out of the bus, because in case if they have some untouchability(menstruation) it could spoil their Vritham. On what grounds did the conductor deny the right of a citizen to travel on a public transport system? How can a someone deny the civil rights of a group of women, just because they are Women? If we seek the actual cause of this problem, one thing is clear. The cause of the problem has started from decades. Even though we argue that this is a different era, things haven’t changed at all, it just took some new forms. The entry of women at Sabarimala is still a talk of debate.  As women tend to bleed for every five days a month they can’t follow the mandatory fasting, because menstruation is something against sacredness.  How can it be cursed? It’s because of this curse the world still survives!

Let the taboo and stigma behind menstruation reduce with the Padman Challenge. However, applause to the team and all others those who participated in the challenge. Let these small moves be a part of drastic changes.

Text By : Silpa Rajan

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