‘Music School’ is an upcoming Indian film that is breaking new ground by featuring three iconic songs from the Hollywood musical drama ‘The Sound of Music.’ This marks the first time that such a feat has been achieved in Indian cinema history. The music for the film has been composed by Ilaiyaraaja, a music maestro, who had one condition for using the songs in the movie.
The film’s producer and director, Papa Rao Biyyala, is a former IAS officer and UN official who is making his feature film debut with ‘Music School.’ The movie addresses the pressure on children to conform to academic expectations set by their parents and society. When Papa Rao Biyyala chose the musical route to craft his movie, he was clear that songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ would fit right into his movie. He mentioned in an interview that negotiations for the rights of the songs stretched over many years before he was able to acquire the necessary permissions to use the original English songs in his movie.
Papa Rao submitted the script to the rights holders of ‘The Sound of Music,’ who asked for details like how the lyrics would be adapted for the Indian context. They reviewed the script and then granted the rights to the three songs. According to Papa Rao, the rights holders were kind enough to give him the rights, and he is fortunate to have received them.
Papa Rao Biyyala was able to have composer Ilaiyaraaja on board, who was delighted to join the project. However, he had one condition – the music had to be scored in London. Ilaiyaraaja has a lot of respect for the authors of the music, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Hence, he insisted that the scoring be done only in London. The music for the three songs was scored with the London Philharmonic Society Orchestra, and the movie’s background score was recorded with the Budapest Orchestra!
The three songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ that feature in ‘Music School’ are ‘Do-Re-Mi,’ ‘So Long Farewell,’ and ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen.’ These songs remain popular to this day and continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
The movie features an ensemble cast, including Shriya Saran, Sharman Joshi, Prakash Rao, Suhasini Mulay, and star singer Shaan, Bharatanatyam dancer Leela Samson, and Gracy Goswamy, who is best known for her portrayal of Nandini Shekhar in ‘Balika Vadhu’ and Amrit Sahani in ‘Kyun Utthe Dil Chhod Aaye’. Papa Rao Biyyala’s previous work includes a National Award-winning 1998 documentary short film ‘Willing to Sacrifice.’ He had been considering the idea of ‘Music School’ for over a decade before finally embarking on the project. The inclusion of the three songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ marks a significant milestone in Indian cinema history and is sure to generate interest and excitement among audiences.
‘Music School’ is a multilingual film, shot in Hindi and Telugu and dubbed in Tamil, that is set to release in theaters on May 12.
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