Music without music is still music

My best song, till date, is ‘Solomon Shoshanna’ from the Malayalam film that is making waves all over India, Amen.

For artists of most kinds, it is usually the flaws that they notice in their own performance. And I’m no exception. I used to hear Solomon Shoshanna, and think- well, its just OKAY- I could’ve done this here, maybe sung this way here, and so on.

Weeks later, I heard the final mix along with the teaser video. The music composer had decided to keep it without any music, just the vocals singing the melodic tune, and the background sounds of the sloshing lake water and the singing night insects.

Why so? To match the matchless vision of the director. And so that people listen to the beautiful poesie of the song and peacefully relish the visual treat on screen.

And also so that they, in that haunting silence, hear their own gasps of awe.

I went to catch the film in a theatre I don’t like very much, but the theatres playing the film in my city were either average or too far. We (my family and I) picked average.

The film was a riot, filling the theatre with laughter. And then, the song happened..

I got nudges from my cousins seated on either side of me, and amidst the sudden silence, the buzz went around within the row of my relatives, that this was ‘Preeti’s song’.

And as the song began my shoulders shot up straight, and for the first few moments, I almost forgot to exhale.

The song, my song, was indeed beautiful. I was stumped by my own voice ringing within the theatre  and I was right there, with Solomon, beneath Shoshanna’s house, in the church, on the waters, and wherever he went through the song.

And I had a feeling that I never so explicitly felt: This song was made for me.
(Note: I am forever thankful to Lijo Pellissery, the director of his masterpiece film, and to its music composer, my brother Prashant Pillai. He can take a simple voice, a simple instrument, and create magic out of it. Hope you loved his work in Amen.)


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