Tutul, the music composer duo for films like Sarkar, Khosla Ka Ghosla and now Sarkar Raj, speak to
Sandhya Iyer on how they’d like to do a full fledged musical
Bapi-Tutul’s name has been mostly associated with Ram Gopal Varma, for whom the duo has composed music in films such as Bhoot, Ek Haseena Thi, James, not to forget both Sarkar and its just-released sequel.
Their big moment came with the ‘Govinda, Govinda’ track, which made quite an impact. “The song became almost synonymous with Sarkar,” says Tutul, the chattier one between the two brothers.Now again, the duo’s music in Sarkar Raj has been noticed -especially the Jalwa Re Jalwa track. In fact, there has been a fair addition to the music in the sequel. Bapi says, “Prashant Pandey, who wrote Sarkar Raj’s script wanted more songs, which is why he composed Jalwa Re Jalwa and added some lines to Govinda Govinda,” he tells us.
Hailing from a small village in Bihar, both brothers have a keen understanding of local folk music in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh etc, which enables them to create authentic Indian music that is rooted in its culture. Says Tutul, “We are second generation musicians in our family. My mother is the Head of the Dept for Music at a University in Bihar. She’s a well-known personality in her own right. So music runs in the family and both me and Bapi took to it from the very beginning. But we also knew that if we had to succeed in the profession, we needed knowledge of western music. That’s how we came to Mumbai.”The duo composed music for several years before they got their first break in Hindi films. “It was Manisha Koirala who was the first one to sign us. She gave us her film, Paisa Vasool. It was a big movie for us at that time and I’d say she was bold enough to take us on.”
As for Ram Gopal Varma, he says, “We knew Ramu through a common friend. When we met him, he asked us to sing something. I sang about 20 numbers and he told us he liked all of them. That’s how our association started.”But as one knows, majority of Ramu’s films have minimal scope for music, which is why Bapi-Tutul’s name never really rung a bell. Tutul agrees, “Yes, people thought we only do music for Ramu as that we were part of a camp. Also, people assumed we could only make music for dark films, so a lot of producers never approached us.”
In that sense, their music and background music for Khosla Ka Ghosla enabled them to break free. “All the songs in the film were immensely liked and it made people realise that we could tackle different genres,” he says.Besides heavy influence from folk music, Bapi-Tutul also like using many Indian instruments. “Folk music is entirely unexplored in Hindi film music, which is why we always take inspiration from it. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Ultimately, the expression should be original -that is important. Otherwise it would seem like we’ve just copied a song and that’s not acceptable to us,” he says, “As for Indian instruments, we like using the piano accordiance -the one Raj Kapoor used. Like we did it in Khosla Ka Ghosla in the theme song, O Re Mora Bhaiyya.”
The duo also seems to like the use of high-pitched singers and unconventional voices like that of Kailash Kher etc. “Not really, but I do feel there is immense beauty in emerges though a high-pitch voice. We have used Kailash for Sarkar Raj’s Jalwa Re Jalwa, because it was a situation which demanded his voice. The song portrays a crowd chanting so the central voice had to be in high octave to make an impact. It’s like one person leading the whole choir,” he explains.Between both of them, Bapi is the technologically savvy one, while Tutul concentrates on making tunes. Even though their strength lies in Indian music, the composers are eager to experiment. “We’ve tried Blues for a forthcoming film called Rewind -a film which moves backwards,” he says.
In recent times, the dup enjoyed the music of Taare Zameen Par. Is that a film they’d have liked composing for? “Why not? Any composer who has ‘ras’ and ‘raag’ in him can do it,” he says.Tutul says they would have also enjoyed composing for Jodhaa Akbar. “Today’s films don’t have much of stand-alone music. Many filmmakers are weaving it into the narrative and I feel we bit the bill where new-age cinema is concerned. But yes, we would love to do a fill fledged musical, where we will find the opportunity to use our talent to the fullest.”