Interview: MM Keeravani (RRR, Oscar-winner)

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Interview: MM Keeravani (RRR, Oscar-winner)

“Every commercial song is an ariraro song” – M. M. Keeravani, 2023

I am happy that his composition won an Oscar. I grew up listening to many of his songs and scores, and the recent ones are already discussed and dissected. So I would avoid talking about them. The one I wish to talk about, though, is the soundtrack of Vedam, the 2010 Telugu film directed by Krish (Tamil audience know it through the remake Vaanam, which had a different soundtrack composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja). It is one of those Keeravani’s soundtracks where every song works. I like all of them, but these two were a surprise to me the first time I was listening to them.

Egiripothey Entha Baguntundi:

This song plays out at a brothel, where a prostitute Saroja (Anushka Shetty) looks for an opportunity to escape and runaway that night to Hyderabad, to become a madame herself. If there was a film adaptation of Gurajada Apparao’s Kanyasulkam (which Krish is making into a web series now), and if I imagine the story’s lead Madhuravani, also a prostitute, having a fun evening with everyone who loves her at the brothel, I would pick this song. Everything about this song felt and feels great to me, and surprised me that Keeravani could deliver this. Not that he is incapable, just that this song is so not him.

(Anushka is an added bonus here, and could play Madhuravani, but that’s for another day).

Now or Never:

Frankly speaking, when I first heard this song in a radio, I don’t know who composed it and for what film it was composed for. But I ended up liking the song imminently. I also couldn’t guess who composed it, until the first charanam started. “Nindu noorella paatu” (For a full hundred years) is the phrase with which it starts, but like this: “Nin…du noo…rella paatu…” followed by a small keyboard interlude. That, and what followed made me guess this was Keeravani’s work. But, when it turned out to be true, I was overjoyed and surprised too.

If time permits, I request everyone to give this film’s soundtrack a chance. I, for one, keep listening to these songs even today, and am looking forward to the future too.

Coming to Chandrabose, I still think he can do better and there are songs of his I frankly hated. But every now and then, he springs up a pleasant surprise or two, and Naatu Naatu was one. This one, from Rangasthalam, is also one of my favorites from his work:


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