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Exclusive! Sushin Shyam: For Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam, I wanted to mix both classical and electronic music

The Kumbalangi Nights composer, who was also behind the tunes of Minnal Murali, talks about working with Amal Neerad and creating music for Mammootty’s gangster thriller, which hit theatres on March 3

Exclusive! Sushin Shyam: For Mammootty’s Bheeshma Parvam, I wanted to mix both classical and electronic music
Sushin Shyam

Last Updated: 08.18 AM, Mar 10, 2022


In a span of just eight years, Sushin Shyam has already emerged as one of the most sought-after music directors in Mollywood. Each of Sushin’s projects - be it Kumbalangi Nights, Virus, Malik, Kurup or Minnal Murali - have stood out in terms of creating novel soundscapes that blended well with the storytelling despite being a mix of several genres.

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Sushin, who has joined hands with director Amal Neerad for the second time in his career for the much-anticipated Bheeshma Parvam, talks about what went into creating the film’s background score, his style of creating music and more.


The soundscape of Mammootty and Amal Neerad’s Big B had a lot of impact with Gopi Sundar’s tunes and background score of the film still having a cult following. Did that also play in your mind when you took up Bheeshma Parvam?

Yes, especially because when you work with Amal Neerad, he already has his own expectations of what he wants and so I have to deliver that. Sound-wise, he always wants something new. In my initial days, I used to follow what others would want from me, but now I have started to include my additions too. I had an idea about the film, so I wanted to come up with something that mixes both classical and electronic music. That’s the kind of genre I have tried to experiment with, for the songs as well as the score.

The movie is set in the 80s. Did you also draw references from that era for the music?

Definitely. When you see the movie, you will understand that. Even in the movie, we have tried to create songs of that time period. You can’t call it a spoof but you know the song structure of the 80s. For instance, I have tried to compose a song, keeping in mind how my father would tune the track. But I haven’t just tried to recreate the songs of that time period, I have also mixed it with the contemporary genre.

The theme music of the protagonists has always stood out in Amal’s films – from Big B to Varathan, which also had you as a composer. Could you take us through the process of that especially in an Amal Neerad film?

So, when I did the teaser of Bheeshma Parvam, I had this idea, which wasn’t connected to the film at all. But after that, we thought of including that too in the film. So, basically it’s a process that keeps evolving, when you create a new tune, you think why not include it too. When I composed the track Parudeesa, it sort of gave me an idea about the music of the entire film.

During the re-recording or final mixing, does it undergo a lot of changes from the initial template you had?

Not really. I take some time to come up with the initial theme, but after that I don’t try to change much. I retain most of the original idea.

Another Malayalam film’s music that stood out in recent times was Tovino Thomas’ Minnal Murali, for which he composed the score as well as a few songs with Shaan Rahman. While working in a superhero film that is very rooted to Kerala, what made you think that genres like pop synth would go well with it?

I just wanted to do something different. I didn’t think too much and pick select genres. I was getting inspired by the costumes that he was wearing and the ‘naadan’ people around commenting about ‘fashion’, so the funk was there. I just had to add the ‘naadan’ elements to it. For some tracks, I have just used the funk, but the songs too had a rooted Malayalam flavour lent by the lyrics.

Are you the kind of composer who likes to work with teams that give you total freedom to go for whatever you feel like?

Yes, of course. I love freedom. That’s when you can do anything, otherwise, you are always thinking whether people would like it or not. That makes me feel restricted. Even in Amalettan’s case, while we were working on Varathan, he didn’t know me much. But now he has more trust in me and lets me do things. So, I do my stuff and he takes a call on it after listening to the tracks.

He is also a guy who would push you to the extreme. So, we will do three options and with each alternative, we also realise that it’s getting better. That’s also nice, I like people pushing me.

You are also part of a metal band, The Down Troddence. How much has that background helped in creating music that appeals to the new-age crowd?

I have always wanted to do something different from the usual pattern. Even while performing as part of the band, we try to come up with something new, like blending metal with folk music. In cinema, I don’t bring too much metal. I am a much softer musician. The background though comes with benefits because I have also worked in a different genre.

What are you busy with next?

Actually nothing. I just need some space. After Bheeshma Parvam, I am taking a small break.

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