Toby is Midhun’s fourth collaboration with his ‘family’, Raj B Shetty and gang. In a conversation with us, he explains why the songs have not been released prior to the film's theatrical outing
Last Updated: 02.40 PM, Aug 22, 2023
Music composer Midhun Mukundan has, quite literally, been on almost non-stop work mode for a while, which has led to some of his friends saying he’s almost a zombie. “I’m not sure if almost holds good anymore. I am a zombie; I’ve had literally no rest or break, as I am working round-the-clock to finish up not one, but two of my films that are releasing on the same day,” says Midhun, talking to OTTplay on one of the rare ‘breaks’ he’s taken from the studio. Midhun is crazy busy with the final mixing of the Raj B Shetty starrer Toby , as well as his next in Malayalam, Nivin Pauly’s Ramachandra Boss & Co. “The Onam release plan for Ramachandra Boss & Co for Onam was a last-minute decision, so things got really crazy for me. This change of schedule, of course, has had a direct impact on Toby as well. The way we (team Toby) work, Toby is still a much more relaxed way, but by our standards, it is a lot more last minute than Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana or Ondu Motteya Kathe was,” he adds.
Toby is Midhun’s fourth collaboration with Raj, a team that he considers like family. Midhun is as much a part of Toby as Raj and the rest of the cast and crew, so each time he talks about the film, it’s like discussing a joint decision – it’s never ‘I did this or that’; it’s always ‘We’. “I am intensely possessive and protective of the people I work with and with Raj and team, that is on another level,” he tells us.
So, has he handed over the final product? “The mix is still happening and, from a creative perspective, there is never an end point. There’s always scope for correction and improvement. But yeah, we are on course to finish up soon, but it is a mad dash to the finishing line,” says Midhun.
‘The music of Toby has to be experienced with the film’
With Toby, we are following pretty much the same format as we did with GGVV as far as amount of material in the public domain before the film comes out. With GGVV there was the trailer and the accompanying song, Demon in Me went viral. We had no intention of releasing any other music prior to the film hitting theatres because they had to be experienced with the film, but Rakshit Shetty, who was presenting it requested that one song be launched and that’s how a lyrical version of Endo Bareda came out. People saw and heard our songs at the premiere show. Honestly, the Maadeva song and Chandrachooda became very popular, but that’s because of their immense impact in the film. As stand-alone songs they’d probably have done as well, but we’ll never know.
In that sense, there is a little more music from Toby that’s out, with the Maari Ge Daari theme music and the trailer. It probably feels limited, but it’s yet again a conscious decision to not reveal anything just yet. The songs that are in the film are very situational and hugely important in pushing the narrative ahead. If the songs come out before the film, we might end up confusing audiences about the film. Right now, there is a clear picture based on the trailer that it is an intense film and the songs have to be experienced in the final product. We will release the songs soon after Toby is in theatres on August 25.
Toby covers far more areas of story-telling than Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana
The pre-release marketing is about setting a certain expectation for the film. When Maari Ge Daari came out and did well, Raj told me that he wanted to make sure that the audiences understand that there is some comedy as well in the film. There are a lot of genuinely funny moments in the film that will have audiences laughing out loud. On paper, if you read the script, you may be confused about how comedy can be introduced in a subject like this. But that is the genius of Raj. He got me to shift the musical soundscape of the trailer accordingly to capture the lighter side of Toby. He didn’t want it to be a completely intense sound like with GGVV. The trailer of Toby starts and ends loud, but in between there was the romance and comedy moments. We wanted to set the tone for audiences as to what to expect when the film comes out. It is a very different film from GGVV, because it covers a lot more areas of story-telling; GGVV was mostly about the conflict, whereas Toby has multiple moods, which, the songs explore even further.
The quickest project
Toby has gone from conception to release in only a few months, giving me a much smaller window to work on it. The experience of working on it has been overwhelming in all aspects, in terms of the grandeur of the film, the sound that had to be fashioned and the brevity of the entire operation (making of the film). It’s not that I have not worked like that before, but with Raj and team, this was new terrain. With our films, we’ve always taken time to finish it. GGVV’s final mix was completed eight months before the release. Having said that, I am not too concerned about this limited time period, and we are on top of it.