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Tell us about yourself

At only 20, this Chennai boy is already making steady progress in the international film circuit. Music composer/audio technician Mukund Ambarish Manivannan, after receiving tutelage from AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Piano and Audio Technology, recently finished composing music for his debut Hollywood project, Interconnect.

Mukund got this opportunity while pursuing bachelor’s in Music Composition at the Musicians Institute in  Hollywood. One of the directors recommended him to Interconnect’s director.  “Composing music for a Hollywood film has been a great experience and I consider myself lucky. Music is my passion and I love cinema. My ultimate goal is where the two converge.”

The youngster, who is currently pursuing Bachelors in Composition at the Musicians Institute in  Hollywood, speaks to DC about his career, his inspirations, and his long-term goals.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?

 Inspired by daily life, the sounds of the waves and his personal thoughts, Mukund found his passion quite early in life. When he was in Class 11, he did a few promos for a radio channel and came out with a single called Iru Vizhi. He also studied at AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory.

 “Right from my young age, I have been drawn to film music. So, my parents put me in a keyboard class and I instantly started liking it,” starts Mukund, adding, “I owe a lot to my mentors Mr. Augustine Paul and Mr. Das Daniel. I am what I am because of them.”

How was the experience studying at Musicians Institute?

He feels that he has evolved as a musician after moving abroad for his education. “I created a few jingles and singles when I was in Chennai. But, moving to the US for the masters degree made me look at music from a broader perspective. My batch mates are from across the world and I have been listening to Cuban music, Latin music, among other genres. Watching a lot of movies also made me realise how a solid composition can determine the high and low points in a movie.”

Speaking about his career so far, Mukund says, “I composed music for a short film which was taken to international festivals. And, it was a dream-come-true when I was selected as the music director for an independent feature film, Interconnect. It was a different experience, because normally in Indian films, half your work is done when you compose four to five songs.”

Tell us about your experience composing music for Interconnect

But, a Hollywood film doesn’t usually have songs. Further, AR Rahman sir has also set a new standard for how an Indian music director should compose for an international project. So, I had to give my best.”

Interconnect is the fictionalised movie-version of the 2013 Savar Factory Collapse, in which an eight-storied commercial building called Rana Plaza was destroyed in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh.Talking about how the music has come out, he says, “The director was particular about not having the stereotypical tabla music that normally accompanies a story about the sub-continent. So, I researched a lot.

The score of the film was partly recorded in Los Angeles and partly in Chennai. It features a Bengali song by Nikhita Gandhi, which is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. I’m elated that the director completely loved it.”

Your future plans?

Opening up about his inspirations, Mukund says that he keenly follows the works of A R Rahman and John Williams —”I learn by listening to them. I am also a huge fan of Ilaiyaraaja. I went speechless after listening to his background score for Onaayum Aatukuttiyum.”

On a concluding note, when we ask what about his future aspirations, he says, “Like I said earlier, I want to be a film composer. I want to work for various industries including Kollywood, Bollywood, and Hollywood. I think I am on the right track towards achieving that!”