‘Music School,’ a Bilingual Film With Soundtrack Inspired by ‘The Sound of Music’ to Open in May
- Directed by Biyyala Venkat Papa Rao, the Telugu-Hindi film includes three songs from the iconic musical “The Sound of Music.”
Biyyala Venkat Papa Rao, a former officer in the Indian Administrative Service and a United Nations administrator in Europe, who is making his directorial debut with the bilingual film “Music School,” is set to open next month. The film highlights the importance of creative arts in an educational system that is obsessed with preparing children in math and sciences to make them succeed in their professional life.
What makes the film unique is the inclusion of three songs from the iconic musical “The Sound of Music,” the rights of which have been acquired by Rao. The popular songs — “Do Re Mi,” “So Long Farewell” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” have been recreated by Ilaiyaraaja along with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. They are part of the film’s 12 songs, which have been written and composed by the veteran composer.
The “heartwarming and endearing” film, according to the synopsis of the film, revolves around two creative teachers Mary D’Cruz (Shriya Saran) and Manoj (Sharman Joshi), who provide a glimpse of the rich culture and refinement of music and theater to students who are driven by an unimaginative educational system in the name of math, science and technology.
In an earlier interview with this writer, Rao said his maiden film “depicts the pressures of the rote-driven education system on children, which aims to only make them doctors or engineers, leaving no time for arts or sports. The story militates against materialism as a barometer of success.”
While the lead actors were chosen for their immense talent and popularity, one of the most interesting discoveries is that of singer Shantanu Mukherjee, popularly known as Shaan. Rao signed him for a critical role in the film after watching him sing for the film at Ilaiyaraaja’s recording studio in Chennai. “I was looking for a flamboyant person for this role and Shaan perfectly fit the bill.” Veteran actors Suhasini Mulay, Benjamin Gilani, and Prakash Raj also star in the film, along with Telugu comedian Brahmanandam, Vinay Varma, Gracy Goswamy and Ozu Barua.
The film is produced by Yamini Films with associate producer Yamini Rao at the helm. It is shot in the Hindi and Telugu languages and has a dubbed Tamil-language version. PVR Pictures will release the Hindi version and Dil Raju’s Sri Venkateswara Creations the Telugu and Tamil versions on May 12.