Talk about Tovino Thomas-starrer 'Oru Mexican Aparatha' and one is reminded of the song 'Kalippu Katta Kalippu'. The song is indeed the soul of the movie, agrees director Tom Emmatty who decodes the song sequences for Onmanorama.
“I was at a stage in life where I didn't know how to move forward with the movie. That's when a boy, Manikandan, called and asked me if he could compose music for a song,” recalls Emmatty.
Explaining how the song took shape, Emmatty said, “I suggested some references and he sent me a few patterns. I was satisfied with what he sent and the very next day I wrote a few lines for the music. I somehow completed writing it with some 8-10 lines. I also added a punch line which was used by SFI then. I sent him the lyrics and he then sent it back to me by singing in his own voice. Even then, I didn't see him personally but I liked what he created. In fact, my kids were so addicted to the song and were listening to it repeatedly.”
The next stage was to decide the singer and it was during the same time that Kabali promo song 'Neruppu Da' was released. All Emmatty had in mind was to create a promo video first with the song and he was in awe with 'Neruppu Da' singer Arunraja Kamaraj. Emmatty was however worried if he could afford to sign the well known actor and singer in Tamil industry for his film.
“Producer Sukumar Thekkepad was like a brother to me and I told him my interest in getting Arunraja for my movie. He went to Chennai the next day and called me from there just to tell me that it will be done. He made everything ready though my concern was the finance. In the meantime, I had taken a loan to build my house and I didn't have any producer for the movie till then. My wife was a government employee then and I was surviving on her money. She sent money for Arunraja on my behalf and thus finally the song was recorded with him. While hearing it for the first time, honestly, I didn't like it. I had listened to the song as the music director had rendered it but the singer added a few giggling and laughs here and there. This was supposed to show a revolution and Anuraja had sung it in a different manner.
But then when I made others listen to it, the additions from the singer stood out. Only after that, I met the composer in person to collect the file from him,” said Emmatty.
Tovino Thomas, Neeraj Madhav and Roopesh along with a bunch of newcomers were featured in the song.
“Since we wanted a crowd, we called for an audition.
What we had in mind was to ask them to act in whatever way they want on campus and we will capture them along with the lead actors and will release a promo song from the selection process.
The next day as young aspirants came for the audition, it began raining heavily. All were confused as to what to do. When I told them that the rains would subside and that they should just act as if they are in college, everyone joined in,” he said.
“Red and phantom camera were used for shooting the song especially for ultra slow motion capturing. We had a total expense of over Rs 1 lakh for the same and we could shoot 1500 frames in one second in that camera. And that's how we could capture the minute details involving the rains and muds splashing.”
Revealing that the promo song carried the theme of the movie, Emmatty said, “In the midst of the campus where the strike is happening, a flag is thrown from a room and among the group arrives a boy to bear this flag. The song sequence was symbolic to the crux of the story. It showed an ordinary boy carrying forward a flag and placing it against a crowd. That song sequence was a miniature of the film.”
It was 'Oru Mexican Aparatha' that made Tovino Thomas a bankable actor as it was his first hit as the lead star.