Interview Of The Week: Jingles Or Seniors, I Am Still A Programmer
A sneak peak into the life of the gifted and young music director Gopi Sunder in an interesting conversation with Shameem Faruqe
On Jun 21, 2011


Edapalli born Gopi Sunder and Rocken (Saxony, Germany) born Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher poet may not have anything in common at  first glance. But then, Nietzsche’s statement about music, "Without music life would be a mistake" binds the two. Gopi Sunder whose name hit the music charts as the young Music Director of the  vibrant and popular songs of 'Anwar', 'Flash' and 'Sagar Alias Jacky' felt the same way about music and in his own words, " The magic of music caught up with me and I felt that I was on the wrong track tackling Science and Maths textbooks in school and eventually dropped out after the tenth when I gloriously failed!" Even as he says this, his fingers are rhythmically moving to the beats of the tabla and he nose-dives into the ocean of music.




"Music freed me from shackles, especially the financial ones as I began to earn by playing tabla at marriage functions," says a fiercely independent Gopi Sunder who eagerly looked towards  Adayar Music College, Chennai for further guidance.  "But that place disappointed me and I left without finishing the diploma course though I could have been the top scorer." "You're only given a speck of madness and you mustn't lose it," goes the saying (Robin Williams, American Actor) and that was exactly what Gopi Sunder did not want to lose. And in him that madness was music.

"I do not have much regard for our system of education where a kid is expected to score 'high grades' after which he automatically gets pushed into  the usual streamlined career options.  In fact, there are lots of technical courses in music too, like Sound or Audio Engineering, Music Production etc which are not at all highlighted and those who are talented and want to pursue a different career have no opportunity to follow their interests,”  regrets Gopi Sundar.  


For this music aspirant, life in Chennai was a story of 5 years of struggle. Having got a roof over his head thanks to  his Valyachan noted actor Devan, he stepped into the world of the catchy jingle music of advertising, where it took him seven years to carve his niche. His amazing and still growing repertoire consists of almost 5000 jingles which he made with elan at it! Sridhar Karyat, son of the legend Ramu Karyat, who has worked with A R Rahman showed him the ropes towards spicy and short jingles. And Gopi Sunder could not help but fall in love with the fast and furious world of advertising.




"This was when I also managed to start my association with my Guru Ouseppachan. This was a unique ‘Guru-Sishya bond and  an apprentice or a shishya, I slowly started learning from my master while doing little ‘chores’. My association with him has made me what I am today," recalls Gopi Sunder, proud of a master disciple bond which has stood the test of  17 long years! Having done the background score for more than ten movies already, the 33 year old Gopi Sunder  found interacting with young directors like Roshan Andrews (Note Book), Amal Neerad (Big B, Anwar, Saagar Alias Jacky) and Anwar Rasheed (Rajamaanikyam)and now Vaishakh (Seniors)  “exciting and easy as they all shared the same sensibility and streak of madness."

With a strong background in advertising, Gopi Sunder bluntly dissects the field of music direction in movies. "Directors call me to work, not the producers. But in exchange for fame, one has to give in to the guillotine of lobbying and favouritism. Nobody can be blamed. Corruption knocks at all doors,"  According to him, advertising is a very transparent field of research, study, fast execution and the power to reach out to people. Talent cannot be flaunted there but is to be wisely made use of. “For me, it is a world of good money and  good people, and it is here that I am totally comfortable.”

"Baburaj and Devarajan Mash were legends. Their music was earthy. But today music is like fast food. With a laptop and a couple of software CDs you can churn out music in minutes. However, background score demands talent and experience. Making music for movies now is like gambling. Giving a 'hit' makes all the difference. 'Seniors' became a hit so I have five films on  hand now," says the jingle maker who recently scored music for the 'Seematti' and 'Parthas' ads.

Somebody once said, " Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up," Our own Gopi Sunder also tells youngsters wanting to make it in movies not to mess it up. "Having reached here, I would strongly suggest one to have a secure job in hand while pursuing a music career in movies. Then you can grow and not just manage to survive. You can be a path breaker and no one would stop you," he advises.

"So who are you, by definition?" goes the question. "I am a programmer in music," comes the reply. And who is your favourite singer? "Faingavi, a singer with roots in the advertising field," is the reply. And that is Gopi Sunder for you. With him you can expect the unexpected.


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There is no dbt that he s gonna deliver more n more best songs...Still his anwar songs r in the peak of malayalam hit chart..He is a promise to the film industry.. Expecting your fabulous songs... Good luck frnn....!! :)
Dilka, on Jun 21, 2011 05:10:16 PM
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