An unrestrained smile deep from the heart can bring about a positive change in life, feels Varun Unni. It first struck the young music composer that we are a tad too grim in our demeanour when Varun was chatting with a group of friends in a cafe. It was way back in 2012. Taking the cue from the realisation, the youngster and his group of friends developed a music album, with Smile as the theme, that was launched recently.
The musical that highlights the joy of being happy captures the smile of over 300 people from across the state. Speaking about the two-year long delightful journey of shooting the album, Varun says, “It was an enriching experience.” Turning back to that day at the cafe when the idea was born, the Escape from Uganda composer recollects, “We were engrossed in the works of Annum Innum Ennum, my debut film project. Watching those people who were huddled in the cafe for a coffee and a chat, we observed that Malayalis are carefree and all smiles when they are within a familiar group, but otherwise they are too formal.”
Capturing the natural smiles of people can bring about a change in this attitude, thought the team. And the idea resulted in the musical album, Smile.
It is a five-song album in which the lead song from which it gets the name is sung by Suchith Suresan. “For the song we travelled extensively from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode, so as to capture the natural expression of the people around us.” When the song progresses, two youngsters with a wide grin are seen spreading the joy of happiness with a warm placard that reads ‘Come smile with me!’. They meet similar people who are ready to share their moments of elation. There are people from all walks of life, from a group of girls in pinafore swaying to the tunes of music, to a lean coconut tree climber, to an old tea vendor, to a serene nun, to the familiar celebrities, to the diligent labourers from other states, all grinning at the camera.
“People do have an inhibition to smile naturally in front of the arclights. To get that genuine expression, we sometimes captured the right moment after the formal click was over,” reveals Varun who feels that it was more of an informal journey than a professional work. “The shooting was a learning experience because of the chance meeting of random people from different sections of life. While the elite class of the society gave that refined, restrained smile, the expressions of the people from the lower strata, who definitely have more share of experiences, were more genuine,” he says. Turning back, Varun observes a smile can bring about much changes in this fast-paced life. It can communicate more than words.
The other four songs of the album has myriad themes like loneliness and romance. Along with Shweta Mohan, Aravind Kottaram and Raghuram are the other singers of the album produced by Ananthlakshmy productions.
As for Varun, he has his kitty full with an Afro-Indian song, a film project and other album works.
For the African song which will be released in February, he has associated with a popular Ugandan singer, Jose Chameleon. Gold’s Own Country to be directed by debutant Piyush is his next film project.