Music will be the soul of Mahanati, reveals composer of the Savitri biopic Mickey J Meyer

Haricharan Pudipeddi

May,08 2018 13:19:17 IST

In 2007, Mickey J Meyer rose to fame with Sekhar Kammula’s widely celebrated campus drama Happy Days. Music played a pivotal role in enhancing the overall experience of the film, with some of the numbers from the album still popular even after a decade since its release.

With over two dozen films across various genres to his credit so far, Mickey is eagerly looking forward to the release of Mahanati, the bilingual biopic on legendary southern actress Savitri, which hits the screens worldwide on 9 May. Describing it as the most challenging project of his career to date, he opens up in this exclusive chat with Firstpost about the experience of working in a film that spans different eras and the inspiration behind the album.

Keerthy Suresh as Savitri in the biopic Mahanati.

Mickey and Mahanati director Nag Ashwin have known each other for a long time. Before Ashwin made his directorial debut, he worked as an associate with Sekhar Kammula on projects such as Leader and Life is Beautiful. On landing the opportunity to work on this prestigious project, Mickey said: “Ashwin and I have known each and we've travelled together as friends. When he pitched the idea of a biopic on the life of Savitri, I was surprised about why nobody thought about it all these years. I’ve always liked to experiment with my music. I saw this as a great chance to explore something new and I gave my nod.”

Working on Mahanati, which features Keerthy Suresh as Savitri, is nothing short of a privilege, says Mickey: “This biopic will answer all your questions about Savitri. A lot of us are misinformed about the life of Savitri, and Mahanati will be an eyeopener for all of them. It’s been a great privilege to be part of this project. It was a challenging project. We’ve worked on the songs for about a year and a half. I’m glad everything turned out so well.”

Also read: Keerthy Suresh on Mahanati: 'Enacting Savitri's off-screen personality was the most challenging part of the role'

Talking about the challenge of working on this project, Mickey said it was all about striking the perfect balance. “The challenge was to make music that sounds vintage but appeals to the current generation as well. We ensured that the music didn’t sound too old-fashioned, but we still used instruments that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Music, in my opinion, will be the soul of the film," he added.

Quiz him about the preparation behind the music of the film, and Mickey confessed he didn’t have to watch too many films of Savitri. “I listened to songs from her films to understand the mood of music in that era. Except Mayabazar, I didn’t watch any of her films. But understanding vintage music really helped me compose for Mahanati," he said.

The film features tracks – in bits and pieces – from many of Savitri’s films. Mickey said they used them while filming crucial scenes of the film. “We didn’t tamper with these songs. We enhanced them by adding sounds of modern instruments. It was done, as I mentioned before, to strike a balance and cater to audiences of this generation,” he explained, adding some of the most popular Savitri hits have been included in the film.

Mickey’s career is synonymous with Happy Days. Will that point of view change post Mahanati, given that he’s spent a lot of time composing music for the project? “I’m not sure. See, in every composer’s career, there will be one album that would’ve been a turning point. Happy Days was that film for me. It’ll always remain special. I don’t think its popularity has anything to do with my work in general and how my other albums have been received.”

Updated Date: May 08, 2018 13:19 PM