Slice of Pi
Composer Shrikanth Sriram talks about missing out on drinking beers with Ang Lee while composing the theme track for the Life of Pi India promo
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is easily the most awaited film of the year. And anytime we receive snippets or even a glimpse of the film, we lap it up. Taking a bite off this creative ‘pi’ is music-maker Shrikanth ‘Shri’ Sriram, who has composed the film’s India promo track.
Shri, a trained tabla player, began playing the flute, bass and guitar after he desired a break from the rigidity of classical music. Having played percussion for the rock band Indus Creed, Shri moved to London in search of collaborative work.
His credits include collaborations with Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawhney and DJ Badmarsh, with whom he formed ‘Badmarsh & Shri’. He has also scored the Google Chrome ad film about a Tanjore local G Rajendran who has kept the dying Tanjore arts alive. Shri even handcrafted his own bass from teakwood to suit his playing style.
Shri is part of Sony Music’s Folktronic and was signed on by Fox STAR Studios India to compose the theme track of Life of Pi’s India promo. He says, “I met Ang Lee and watched four scenes to understand the feel of the film. The track is not meant to be literal but is a subtle parallel on what the film is about.”
His meeting with the legendary director, unfortunately, was not, “a long one over four beers” as he would have liked. “It was a day full of promo meetings for him. But it was lovely because I got to feel his great energy. He said he was looking forward to hearing the track,” says Shri.
For Shri the film is noble and not a typical action-packed one. Yet, there is triumph. Hence, this Hindi track talks about being trapped in a physical space but travelling the world on a swan’s wings. KC Loy wrote the lyrics with inputs from Shri who went to him with an idea and a few tunes. Suraj Jagan lends his voice to the track. Shri says, “Keeping in mind the essence of the film, the track could not be a fast dance number neither could it be a lounge-y piece. It had to be confident and have a stride to it.”
Accordingly, Shri has used the flute to great effect and says that the sounds of the flute are symbolic of the film. He chuckles, “I love playing the flute but that’s not the only reason I used it. Indians connect very well with it. The sounds are almost like a village performer calling others to view his act and listen to him.”