Composer Hesham Abdul Wahab from the Malayalam film industry is known for winning the 2021 Kerala State Film Award for Best Music Director for the soundtrack of the film 'Hridayam'. The 32-year-old talent is making a debut in Telugu with 'Kushi', which hits the cinemas on September 1. He is also working on Nani's 'Hi Nanna' and an untitled Sharwanand-starrer.
In this interview, Hesham shares his experience of working on 'Kushi' and foraying into Tollywood.
'Salt Mango Tree' in Malayalam was my first film. That was in 2015. 'Hridayam' was my 10th film. Fahadh Faasil is my cousin. He is my only film connection. Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Vijay Deverakonda, and Nani are among my favourite Telugu actors.
'Kushi' has given me the wings to fly. But for 'Hridayam', I wouldn't have bagged this giant offer. This film came my way just months after the release of that Malayalam movie. 'Kushi' has been such a thrilling experience. I worked on it till yesterday.
I have used a number of instruments, ranging from Veena, Sitar to Rabab and others, in composing music for this movie. 'Osi Pellama' is a song with a folkish, native flavour. Each of the songs is different from one another.
The most challenging composition was the title song. Earlier, it was thought to be only for the teaser. After it struck the right chord with the audience, the hero and the director wanted it to be a full-fledged song. I somehow cracked it. We tried about 25 demos. Shiva Nirvana's support was great. 'Naa Roja Nuvve' and 'Aradhya' are being heard everywhere. Even in other States, the Telugu version is popular.
Vijay Deverakonda's character is a fan of Mani Ratnam in the movie. That's why he uses the titles of the director's movies in the song 'Naa Roja Nuvve'. The references are there in all versions. The lyrics for each song have been penned by the director himself. His words are not just Telugu. There are other influences as well.
The director pushed me hard to ensure that the background score was great. He knows exactly what he wants. 'Kushi' is the longest that I took to complete. I worked over a period of two years. I have spent more days than I did on my breakout film 'Hridayam'.
Vijay has played a role in ensuring that the tunes are catchy. He knows the pulse of the average audience. He knows the tastes of youngsters. He pushed us to think from their perspective.
Vijay and Samantha share amazing chemistry in 'Kushi'. Both have outdone each other. Two other great characters are there in the film. 'Kushi' is actually their story! I can't reveal more now. When they leave the theatre, the audience will have something else in mind, not the songs.
The more the budget, the more a technician can dream about and execute. In Telugu, the budgets are more (compared to Malayalam). The industry is welcoming and is blessed with excellent talents. I am blessed to be working in this industry.
'Kushi' is a romantic film, while Nani's 'Hi Nanna' is a little emotional film. It's not a romantic film. 'Spark L.I.F.E' is a thriller but the songs are romantic in nature. I am also doing a film starring Sharwanand in the lead (produced by People Media Factory and directed by Sriram Adittya). After 'Kushi' comes out, I will start working on 'Hi Nanna'. There is one more project that you will know about soon!