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Composer Nobin Paul: People are loving the music of 777 Charlie; if they hadn’t, I would have been devastated

The music man has been working on the Kiranraj K directorial that has Rakshit Shetty in the lead since 2017 - a journey that is still ongoing for him.

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 06.29 AM, Jun 21, 2022

Composer Nobin Paul: People are loving the music of 777 Charlie; if they hadn’t, I would have been devastated
The positive feedback to his work on 777 Charlie has been immensely satisfying for Nobin

Music man Nobin Paul is on a well-deserved break in Chikkamagalur – the fruit of his five-year labour is being widely appreciated and he couldn’t be happier. Today, everyone’s talking about how emotional a journey Rakshit Shetty’s 777 Charlie is, and add in the same breath that those emotions have been heightened multi-fold because of Nobin’s magic with the background score and songs. “I have been in the film industry since 2016, but 777 Charlie is, undoubtedly, my best work to date. It has also given me a lot of visibility. Although I have worked on films like Rama Rama Re, Ondalla Eradalla, Anukta, among others, audiences do not relate them to me. But now, I will be 777 Charlie composer Nobin Paul; that’s the recognition and validation that I have got from the film,” says Nobin, as he walks up and down a hilly slope trying to find a spot with good network connectivity to speak to OTTplay. “Also, if you loved the music of 777 Charlie, look out for the complete OST that will be released soon. In the coming days, we will release a few more songs and then the entire album too,” he adds.

‘Appreciation for the music is validation of my hard work over the years’

I came into the Kannada film industry in 2016 and have worked on 7-8 good films, like, Rama Rama Re, Shuddhi, Ondalla Eradalla, Churikatte, Anukta, Devaki, etc., but mostly on the background score though. Even though I won an award for the background music of Rama Rama Re, the kind of positive response and feedback I have been getting for my work on 777 Charlie is a first for me. When we started making 777 Charlie, it was only meant to be a Kannada film, but over time, it grew larger and was tailored for a pan-India audience, which also meant that I am being flooded with messages from across the country.

I started working on 777 Charlie way back in 2017 and the good showing of the film and the appreciation for my music is validation of the hard work that has gone into it over the years. I have worked day in and out on this film for years and had pinned a lot of hope on it. Honestly, if 777 Charlie had not been accepted the way it has been, I would have been devastated. I may have even given up on music direction and looked at an alternative career.

A journey of over six years

Interestingly, my job doesn’t end with the release of the film; it’s an ongoing process. 777 Charlie has 10 songs on its soundtrack and not all have been released online as individual numbers. At least half of them had to be recorded separately in the five languages that the film was coming out in. 777 Charlie was a treasure trove of music in various genres and languages, including English. I had complete freedom in deciding how the film should sound. There were a few inputs from Kiranraj too, like, for instance, the song O’Ga in Konkani and the Rajasthani folk song during the journey to Kashmir. Kiran had heard the singer Dhiti S Lotlikar many years ago and wanted to get her on board. She was very young back when he’d heard her, so, obviously, her voice had changed, but it worked out perfectly for the song.

I had to compose 10 songs film because I realized after a point that I could not sustain the emotions and feelings we were aiming for only with a background score. Barring the climax of about 4-5 minutes, which is completely musical, a lot of other important sequences needed a song playing in the background to elevate it. I had the creative freedom to decide all of this, which, I believe, worked wonders for the film. From working with different singers across the five languages, to recording the musical bits with the Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra, which was, of course, coordinated online and for which I spent months to write the music for them, 777 Charlie has been an experience of a lifetime.

In the last five-to-six years, I have maybe worked on one or two other films; the rest of my time was completely dedicated to 777 Charlie and that dedication has paid off. Today, not only do people recognize me as the 777 Charlie composer, but that has also opened up avenues for me in Kannada cinema and other industries too.

So, what next?

I want to build on the goodwill that I have got with this project and take up a couple of good projects. I have been getting a lot of calls, but I am looking for something with a good story that I know will be executed well for the screen. There have been cases where I have fallen for a great narration, but when the film was finally given to me for the background score, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; it was that bad. I don’t want a repeat of that. My focus is to work on content-oriented films where music will play a pivotal role in setting up the narrative. There is no point in working like a factory and churning out background scores or songs that no one is going to remember tomorrow. I am okay even if that means only one film in a year as long as it is a good project. Composing for films is not my only source of bread and butter. I have side hustles of composing ad jingles, etc. So, when I take up film work, I want it to be worth my time. It can be art-house cinema, or hardcore commercial – it just has to have a good subject. I must add, though, that I am not a fan of songs that have a ‘commercial touch’, like special dance numbers, for instance, but I realize that those are the ones that get maximum reach.