Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Close-up man!

A small music studio on a 21st floor on a high rise building is cluttered with guitars, computers, music cds, and a couch. Tapas Relia, the music composer of kya aap close-up karte hai who uses this studio for a living is a very simple and a soft spoken man. He patiently showed my cameraman and me the studio so we could figure out the right frame to shoot his interview. As the interview unfolded, an interesting story emerged.

About six years back when Relia was approached to make the jingle, he was just a scratch melody maker. “It all started when I got a call from Ronnit Desai, a popular radio producer in our industry. And he said that there were three close up ads that had to be done,” he recalled. However on the ‘big break’ day, Tapas reached the studio almost an hour late which left him hardly anytime to work on the ads. And when he came down to the last ad which had the kya aap close-up karte hai lyrics, he was appalled. “I said this is not right, it doesn’t make sense!” Relia said. He made the jingle in just about 20 minutes before the singer arrived in the studio to practice the melody.

After the singer tried many funny styles of singing, he experimented with the K. L. Saigal’s nasal style. Relia recalled, “We turned around and said yeah that’s it. Its funny, it’s new and nobody has every attempted it.” But it didn’t go as per plan. The jingle got stuck with research and got turned down by HUL, close-up’s parent company. Only after a lot of convincing by Prasoon and Piyush Pandey, was the jingle allowed shooting.

But the lesser known secret of the jingle is that it was never re-recorded for the final advertisement. The jingle that we all heard on television and loved was the same one which was recorded on the first day of practicing. The same scratch track for which the music was made in 20 minutes. “We were so paranoid about and superstitious we became, we might not get it right if we re-record. So the sound track in the film today is scratch that we did in the first day on scratch recording,” Relia shared.

And then life changed for Tapas Relia; from being a scratch music composer to a full fledged music composer. “People started recognizing me with the jingle. They started calling me the close-up man,” he smiled. Today, Relia has several popular advertisements to his credit. Dominoes, Lays, Clinic plus are the few brand names he has produced music for. Apart from jingles, he has worked on the animation movie, Hanuman and its sequel.

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