The one common factor in many recent superhits


By Kaushik L M

Think Music has always been a label which has been associated with quality music composed by budding new talent getting into the industry. In 2012, they made a big splash with many of their releases such as Sundarapandian, Attakathi, NKPK, Pizza and KSY going on to record handsome success at the box-office as well as in the music trade.
This past year 2013 was equally special for this label as big hits such as Raja Rani, Pandianadu, Soodhu Kavvum, Idhaaba to name a few came from the Think Music stable. Towards the end of 2013, Thirumanam Ennum Nikkah released to rave reviews and 2014 promises more brilliant music from Think Music.
We got in touch with the Head of Think Music, Mr.Santhosh Kumar to know the secret of their success and how they are able to deliver such quality music on a consistent basis. 
The turning points
“After we released Endhiran and Deiva Thirumagal in 2010-2011, the audio market in general was down and we were maintaining a bit of a low profile for some time. That is when we decided to become more selective in our approach and take a holistic view of the business.
Vaagai Sooda Vaa in 2011 was a landmark, along with Engeyum Eppodhum in the same year and these two movies proved to be turning points in shaping our organizational decisions and trajectory.”
The criteria to choose a project
“The first look stills and photo designs give us a basic idea about the film. We then listen to the songs, see the visuals if they are ready and then gauge the director and his total creative team (including the DOP and the editor). We are sure about one thing that we will only be associated with quality movies. Out of a total of 12 releases last year, 8 of them were successful for the label and at the box-office. Despite being choosy, our label has managed to remain successful, thanks to our work ethics and mode of choosing the right projects”
“Physical CDs to honor our composers”
“Physical CDs are restricted to a minimum amount of around 2000 but we make sure to always release a physical CD to honour the music composer and his effort. This is a form of marketing and we don’t mind the cost of producing CDs, at this time when the physical music market is down. In 2013, our releases such as Raja Rani and Pandianadu had repeat orders for CDs. Our good rapport with FM channels also makes sure that all our albums get good airplay across all the stations.”
"Proud about associating with Ghibran and Santhosh Narayanan"
“In December 2011, editor Leo John Paul suggested that I listen to the songs of Attakathi, composed by Santhosh Narayanan. I first listened to the ‘gaana’ song, Aadi Pona Aavani sung by Gaana Bala and was initially apprehensive. But when I listened to the other songs, I was impressed by the variety and also by the visuals in the teaser.
I am very happy about the fact that producer C.V.Kumar’s first film business partnership was with us. We signed the agreement for his Attakathi on December 25th 2011.
We are proud about launching Santhosh Narayanan, who has delivered some of his best hits with us. Ghibran is another composer that we take pride in launching under our label.”
"The plethora of new talent that we have groomed and nurtured" 
“In 2012 and 2013, we have associated with many debut directors in movies like Attakathi, Pizza, NKPK, Soodhu Kavvum, Neram, Moodar Koodam, Raja Rani, Kalyana Samayal Saadham and Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham.
The composers which we have launched so far include Ghibran, Santhosh Narayanan, Sathya, Rajesh Murugesan, Natarajan Sankaran, Naveen Iyer, Prem, Britto, Siddharth Vipin, Ved Shankar and Vishal Chandrasekhar.
We take a lot of pride in promoting new directors and composers.”
"Our motto"
“With great power comes great responsibility and we want to make sure that all our films turn out to be safe bets for the distributors too. The first business deal for any film happens through its music and since we have to judge the music, without seeing the movie, the responsibility of being a music label is really high. It is a difficult task and hence we are choosy and selective. But, after we have associated with a film’s music, big distributors show confidence in the project and come forward to release the movie. This in turn increases the viability of our films at the box-office.”
"‘Pistah’ helped us to cross-over"
“We are proud of all the albums that we have released but with respect to business returns, Neram gave us a big boost. ‘Pistah’ from Neram helped us to cross over and get an international reach in 2013. In fact, I suggested Neram’s composer Rajesh Murugesan to try his hand at composing film music when he first came to me with a non-film Malayalam album three years back. We were really thrilled while meeting during the negotiation stage and during Neram’s music launch event. I offer my heartfelt thanks to Alphonse Putharen and Rajesh Murugesan for giving us the ‘Pistah’ opportunity.”
"Looking forward to Anirudh"
“Among the contemporary composers, we have worked extensively with Ilayaraja, A.R.Rahman, Vijay Antony, Yuvan, Harris Jayaraj and G.V.Prakash. We are looking forward to working with Anirudh and it will hopefully be an exciting collaboration.”
What does the future have in store for Think Music? 
“We are always on the look out for promising debut composers. Our future projects include Thegidi by Nivas.K.Prasanna, Ore Nyabagam by Shankar Tucker, Mundasupatti by Sean Roldan, Jigarthanda and Cuckoo by Santhosh Narayanan. We will also be involved in Santhosh Narayanan’s first straight Telugu movie, titled Billa Ranga.
From the Malayalam film, Om Shanti Hosanna, we have released a single and the full album will come out this month. Shaan Rahman has composed the music.
In the near future, we are looking at venturing out into the Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam markets more, with offbeat, interesting ventures like we do in Tamil. But we need more time before deciding about trying the Hindi market.
We also have Purplenote where we promote and release non-film albums. Priya Krishnan started it and now I manage Purplenote too. ‘Hip Hop Tamizha’ Aadhi, Yodhakaa, Punya Srinivas (Veena in Vienna), Viji Krishnan (Malabar to Morocco) were artists who came into prominence through Purplenote.”
The big piracy challenge
“A low cost high quality alternative to piracy is streaming and we promptly share our songs in our YouTube channel. We have officially signed up with Google to make sure that unauthorized copies of our official streams don’t spread across YouTube. There is no separate team for piracy but we are trying to offer a good fight against piracy.”
Santhosh is being considered as someone who can be really motivational, by many promising young composers such as Santhosh Narayanan and Ghibran. He likes to thank the following people for keeping him grounded and also for motivating him.
“I would like to thank Mr. Swaroop Reddy and Ms. Priya Krishnan for placing their confidence in me and for their inspiring capabilities. I should thank all my teammates too. I also thank Mr. Murugan and Mr. Pradeep Anand as they were the ones who spotted me during my ringtone composing days and introduced me to Think Music as a ringtone composer in 2008. I would also like to credit producers who have repeatedly worked with us, executive producers, FM stations and media personnel for all our successes so far.”
Santhosh concludes on a positive note by saying 
“The journey has been good so far but we are prepared to face the tough times as well.”

For Think Music working stills, click on the below link 



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