58 years after the iconic, Oscar award-winning and only official film adaptation of the classic musical play The Sound of Music, an Indian IAS officer turned filmmaker Paparao Biyyala is gearing for the release of his debut film Music School, which marks to be the the first Indian film to obtain the rights of the classical play.
The timeless classic broadway production The Sound of Music written and composed by Rodgers, and Hammerstein in 1959, has been etched in the history of popular culture ever since. Over a decade later, Robert Wise presented the first film adaptation of the musical with the same name in 1965 and won five academy awards.
Almost six decades later, writer- director Paparao Biyyala has obtained the official rights of the music for the broadway musical for his debut film Music School.
Recreating three songs from the musical- Do Re Mi, So Long Farewell and Sixteen Going on Seventeen beautifully woven for different situations in the film Music School, music maestro Ilaiyaraaja scored the original musical notes by Richard Rodgers by the London Philharmonic Orchestra for their film.
Talking about the same, filmmaker Paparao Biyyala says, “I designed Music School as a musical, so I was looking for an existing musical to draw inspiration that best helps weave the story. I watch a lot of musicals when I am in London or New York. I strongly felt that The Sound of Music is one of the most classic and loved musicals of all times, and it also caters to the main demographic of our audience, the kids. So, I have interweaved three songs of Sound of Music into Music School, which are a part of the film however aptly modified to suit the sensibilities of the Indian audience. I tried to choreograph songs of Music School like Broadway Musicals, and hence I chose to integrate the Sound of Music with my film. Getting rights was a good negotiating experience, as a diplomat working for the United Nations. We are the firsts in India to acquire the rights of such a renowned and classic musical, the journey wasn’t an easy one, but we were determined in our mission and things did fall into place. We scored the original musical notes of Richard Rodgers at the London Philharmonic Orchestra in London and music maestro Ilaiyaraaja adapted the original songs to create beautiful situational tracks in our film.”
The director also revealed the experience of working with music maestro Ilaiyaraaja, “It was great working with Raaja sir. He is a genius, and can give a tune in just a few minutes. When we sat for the composing sessions, he listened to the director’s vision and gave several tune options in just one or two hours. We further jammed on it to create the final songs that are now a part of the film after scoring the musical notes in London. As we draw inspiration for our music from a legendary Broadway play like The Sound of Music, it involved a huge risk and I was very scared of making any wrong choice, however, Ilaiyaraaja made the process so much simpler with his brilliance and experience.”
Getting the best team on board, Music School roped in Hollywood choreographer Adam Murray to choreograph multiple songs for the multilingual film Music School, in addition, the makers also roped two of India’s best choreographers Chinni Prakash and Raju Sundaram for the film to choreograph the other songs.
Music School is a musical narration of the sensitive and prevailing concern of academic pressure subjected to young students by the society, parents and teachers. With eleven songs in the film, three of them have been recreated from The Sound of Music, situationally woven beautifully in the film to suit the sensibilities of the Indian audience.
The grandeur look of the film was captured by ace cinematographer Kiran Deohans. The cast includes Shriya Saran, Sharman Joshi and Prakash Raj in leading roles in addition to debutant Ozu Barua and Gracy Goswamy in critical roles. Other cast comprises Benjamin Gilani, Suhasini Mulay, Mona Ambeognkar, Leela Samson, Bugs Bhargava, Vinay Varma, Sreekanth Iyengar, Vaquar Sheikh, Phani and many other child actors.