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  Sugam Pokharel: from popdom to playback  


KATHMANDU, Aug 24: The pop icon for many in the country, Sugam Pokharel is one of those singers who often turned his face away whenever anyone asked him to sing for Nepali movies. He who once used to say, “No way, man, I’m not comfortable lending my voice to Nepali films because I can’t force myself to sing for situations as asked by the producers” has now not just lent his voice for the upcoming movie Mero Euta Saathi Chha, he is also the man behind almost all the music compositions in the film.

 He had no plans doing the entire music for a film but because the title of the movie reminded him of his popular song Mero Euta Saathi Chha, so he felt a strong bonding with this upcoming cinema which will release later this month.

However, this is not the first time that Pokharel has lent his voice to a commercial Nepali flick. He has already sung for two mainstream Nepali movies, Lakshya and Ram Lakshman, and has composed music for Saarathi. It was after these works that he felt he was not comfortable singing and composing for big banner movies. He always felt trapped to a limitation while working for movies. But with Mero Euta Saathi Chha, he says things are completely different.

“Because my song and this movie’s title go hand in hand, producer Prabhu SJB Rana and director Sudarshan Thapa came to me to sing a title song for them, but differently this time. For me, it was both a challenge and a risk. I had to make sure that I gave a complete new look to the title song, and at the same time, I had to take care that I didn’t destroy my original song,” Pokharel explained.

As he got into the movie, both the producer and director gave him all his freedom to compose the song as he liked and did not interfere in his works.

“I was surprised to see this hospitality. In a film, one hardly gets to be experimental. You have to follow what the producers tell you to do. I got fascinated and started composing other numbers too,” he added. “They were looking for someone to write the lyrics. Without informing them, I was planning words on my own for my compositions. It was again really nice of them to appreciate my lyrics, and by the end I realized I was doing almost all the composition I was singing, and even the lyrics were mine for this film.”

The promising singer of pop music genre of Nepal, Sugam Pokharel still loves to sing the lines from the songs of films like Kusume Rumal, Samjhana and Badlindo Aakash. These films took Nepali film industry to unprecedented heights of success and they did make good money during the “golden era” of Nepali celluloid.

Pokharel loves the compositions made during that period but says he is deeply disappointed to see how music composers killed the beauty of soundtracks in recent times.
“Bluntly speaking, the soundtracks of Nepali movies are a bad copy of Bollywood’s playback scenario of the 1970s. I wish our composers could have been able to copy it ditto,” he unveiled.

Pokharel divides Nepali soundtracks in two sections – folk, and item numbers. He explains that the songs of Nepali films either are based on folk tunes, that too not quite different from the ones we have already heard, or they are item numbers.

He added, “It’s always the hero who comes to town from a remote village. He misses his home and starts to sing a sad emotional song. Next, heroines have to perform in an item number to make the movie spicy. God, I can’t imagine myself singing for such situations. Why can’t we get over it?”

So where is Nepal’s playback scenario heading to?

Pokharel answered, “I’ve categorized movies in two different ways in terms of relating them with soundtracks. The first one is Hollywood style of movies that don’t ask for soundtracks. They are mainly dominated by the story. The second type is Bollywood, which has in fact challenged the moviemaking trends of Hollywood. Bollywood seems incomplete without songs, and we are a part of this trend. It’s just it’s high time for us to experiment beyond just ghintang-ghintang.”

He reveals that most of the pop singers of the tinsel town do not like to sing for films because they are not comfortable with how music arrangements are done in movies. At times, the compositions go way off, and the next, their voices don’t suit the ensembles made for the films. And with Mero Euta Saathi Chha, Pokharel is quite hopeful that this will open the doors for even pop singers to sing for Kollywood. Alongside, it will open eyes of the mainstream filmmakers and will push them to try something new and different now.

Sugam Pokharel claims that he has received from this film more than what commercial music composers earn in Nepal, and is now positive that promising singers have more opportunities in the days to come. Beside composing music for another Nepali film, Patch No 16, Pokharel has already finished recording five numbers for his upcoming album, Saarathi, and he is working for three more. Saarathi will be released around January next year

Published on 2009-08-24 11:52:29
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Sugam Pokharel: From Popdom To Playback
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very nice news and able to know more about my favourite artiste. [more]
  - Aneeta Dahal
Sugam Pokharel is really a shining star of our nation. I heard his songs of mero euta saathi chha, The songs are of new genre. Oh my god completely different. I was amazed. Such a mix of various instruments have made songs very beautiful. I can claim that he is the king of melody of Nepal. [more]
  - john dude
Finally, its good to see that Nepali movies are trying to get better. Lets hope now even the music in Nepali movies will get better rather that those old styled funny looking songs. And talking about Sugam Pokharel no wonder he´s a fabolous singer and most probably one of the best music composers present. He´s been giving wonderful songs to Nepali music lovers and hope for something good this time as well. May his hard work pay off. I wish him all the best for this movie and also hi [more]
  - Suzzan Acharya
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