Comments (0)
Interviews |  01 Sep 2022 11:57 |  By Tolika Yeptho

Julius Packiam emphasised on how BGM composers get less credit

MUMBAI: Composer Julius Packiam who has recently been nominated for the BGS for the film 83 talked about how people don't give that much credit to BGM composers “music is not meant to be intrusive or distract the audience. It's meant to just complement each and every scene”.

Radioandmusic got in touch with the National award winning Indian Background Score Composer to know more about his dedication to music and his thoughts on BGM composers getting their due credit whenever the music of a film is talked about. He also shared his journey as a BGM composer.

Check the interview below:

1. When did you first decide to dedicate your life to music?

That sounds a little too dramatic, dedicating my life! Yes it's a part of my profession and I love the medium and I love the field. I love doing it. It's my passion and I will do it as long as my last breath. But yes, I think this happened when I was in bands during my school and college days and I used to be the frontman, the singer of the rock bands that time and when I would sing and the music was playing, and the crowd was enjoying the kind of response and instant gratification that one got it would give me goosebumps all the while I was on stage, and that feeling was like one could get easily get addicted to.

It's a surreal experience rather and it's overwhelming. From those days itself I kind of made up my mind upon pursuing music. But I didn't sing for that band too long, I had to hang my Rock 'n' Roll boots, which happened a few couple of decades ago. Post that I started making music and whenever I make music I want others to feel the same what I felt.

When I do create music, people should get goosebumps as well and feel really good about listening to the music that I've created.

2. Do you think BGM composers get their due credit whenever the music of a film is talked about. Where do you think the problem lies ?

That's a very important question, my agenda, in fact, but I feel that when people talk about the music of a film especially in our country, it's about the songs, whereas  the music of the film is actually the music in the background and is playing every scene whether it's an action scene, an emotional scene, comical scene, it lifts the whole scene and lifts the whole scene.

People don't give that much credit to it. They don't understand it. They ignore it, because music is not meant to be intrusive or distract the audience. It's meant to just complement each and every scene.

And all over the world, it's accepted as music for the film, but only in India it's called background music. Whereas the songs in the film, whether there's even one song, it's given the credit of music.

So the problem is our history of filmmaking is that because in those days... It still made sense because guys who did the songs also did the background music but as the times changed, people doing the songs were different and people doing the background music are different but the nomenclature never changed. The credit system still remains the same. That's a bone I got to pick, a spoke in my wheel that I need to fix and I hope others in my field also push this agenda.

3. You are the name behind  BGM for most blockbuster films,you’ve even won a National Award. And you’ve recently been nominated for the BGS for the film 83. How do you feel and How do you look back at your journey so far?

I feel overwhelmed and blessed completely and very, very grateful. When you look at your career starting from a point where people kind of discourage you when you're studying in college, and want you to pursue regular career, which is in those days in early 90s, was tobecome, you know, engineer work in an MNC or MBA, do further studies. And everybody was like, you know, "You can do music on the side, but you cannot let go of your career, you should have a career which is regular," and then through the odds you still pursue your own, rather, follow your heart and you follow your passion, and you make music and you make a living out of it and slowly get the accolades and get bouquets and sometimes the brickbats as well, but finally, when you do win a National Award and other words in the film industry and other industry, I mean, other realms of the music industry, you feel indicated like I knew I would do something with it.

And you also send a message to others who are trying to pursue this as a career. And they also feel emboldened and they feel that they can choose to be a musician and not do any job that they perhaps might not like to do or don't feel comfortable doing. So I think it's important to be kind of role models, if not role models at least flagbearers that, we are somewhat recognized and we are respected and it can be a very lucrative profession as well. So, my journey so far has been fantabulous. No complaints. I have the best job in the world, and I'm ever so grateful.

4. Different composers could potentially approach the same scene with strikingly different music. Would you say there can be 'wrong' and 'right' musical decisions for some scenes? In which way can some film music be considered 'definitive'?

There is no right and wrong music in particular and the composer sometimes uses music which is totally counter to what the scene requires.

There could be a very aggressive action scene, but the music playing behind could be very soothing, operatic, dreamy and they incorporate stylized treatment. And that works brilliantly well.

And counter is also applicable when there's a very soft scene and the music could be very drastic and imposing and they both work. It's all the vision of the director and the composer is in tandem. When a film is made and watched by a lot of people and it becomes a hit, that piece of music becomes iconic. It stays with you.

Music can be definitive. Certain movies have certain themes, which are iconic like the Star Wars film series, and JAWS for that matter. You know, whether it's Jurassic Park in movies like The iconic themes or whether it's the Mission Possible series, these themes no matter what other music you put in those scenes, they will not work because those themes stand the test of time. And they become iconic and they remain forever. They imprint a very indelible mark in one's memory.

So, I think yes, it can be definitive and it should be definitive once the film is seen and appreciated. And it goes on to various platforms that people watch.

5. What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits?

Yes, improvisation is very important. You have to come up with something new and different and unique, which has a signature to a particular film. It shouldn't sound like music you've heard before another film, which tends to happen more often not and composition part of it as well as how you create something new, which is identifiable to that film and the characters of that film.

And their respective merits are very important. You have to be obviously very skilled in your form, that you are able to distinguish between the two and make something new and worthwhile where people think there is a memorable hook or a feeling or a style to the music that you create.

6. What’s more in the pipeline for you in terms of the upcoming projects ?

My future projects include

1. Jogi, a fantastic film by Ali Abbas Zafar that stars Diljit Dosanjh. I’ve done the Background score for it and  a couple of songs in it.. a fantabulous film based on the 1984 Sikh riots..  it’s out on the 16th of September on Netflix.

2. ‘Kathputli’ starring Akshay Kumar, directed by Ranjit Tiwari… Again a fantastic film.

3.  Bloody Daddy, an Ali Abbas Zafar film that stars Shahid Kapoor..

4. I am also working on Adbhut, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui directed by Sabbir Khan