Film and tv

Vijai Bulganin, music composer of ‘Daare Ledha’ and ‘Vaanam Thondraadho’, is on board for Telugu film ‘Meet Cute’ and Anand Deverakonda’s next


The poignant Telugu-Tamil music video ‘Daare Ledha’ and ‘Vaanam Thondraadho’ is the handiwork of composer Vijai Bulganin, who has been signed on for more Telugu films

The warm reception to the Telugu-Tamil bilingual music video Daare Ledha /Vaanam Thondraadho has bolstered the confidence of its music composer Vijai Bulganin. Featuring actors Satya Dev and Roopa Koduvayur as a doctor couple, the song acknowledges the efforts of frontline workers. Produced by Wall Poster Cinema and backed by ChaiBisket, the video urges viewers to continue following COVID-19 appropriate protocols. The video unfolds like a poignant love story rather than a public service announcement.

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The recognition that Vijai has been receiving for his melodious composition is also an affirmation of his decision to discontinue engineering to pursue music, a few years ago.

Small town moorings

Speaking from his residence in Ramachandrapuram near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, Vijai says, “My father was a tractor driver and later worked as a lineman in the electricity department. My mother is a homemaker. They stretched their finances to make me study. They supported my decision to pursue music, but I was aware it was a risk.”

Vijai is now composing music for Meet Cute, the Telugu film directed by Deepthi Ganta and produced by stylist Prashanti Tipirneni and Nani, and another film directed by Sai Rajesh starring Anand Deverakonda. He had earlier worked for Telugu films Sapthagiri Express and Vajra Kavacha Dhara Govinda, and simultaneously explored independent music. “I didn’t know how to approach film production houses for work. I thought it would be best to put out a few independent songs to show that I am capable of good work,” says Vijai.

Roopa Koduvayur and Satya Dev in the music video ‘Daare Ledha’/‘Vaanam Thondraadho’

Roopa Koduvayur and Satya Dev in the music video ‘Daare Ledha’/‘Vaanam Thondraadho’

The music videos Thatukolede (Vittu Pogathe in Tamil) and Chustu chustune (Parakkireney in Tamil), which he did in collaboration with actor-influencer Deepthi Sunaina and filmmaker Vinay Shanmukh caught the attention of Nani’s sister Deepthi Ganta and wife Anjana, and paved the way for him to be a part of Meet Cute.

“Deepthi narrated a situation from Meet Cute; I asked her to give me five days so that I can compose two different tunes. She was short of time and said she would prefer one tune in three days. I started composing and it just happened that I was able to give her three tunes within a few hours. Nani felt one of those tunes would be apt for a music video he was planning, which became Daare Ledha.” Vijai remembers the day he got a call from Nani: “Mobile phone connectivity is erratic where I live, so I waited on the terrace when I was told that he is likely to get in touch with me.”

Long-distance collaboration

Daare Ledha/Vaanam Thondraadho shaped up during the second wave of COVID-19 when many States were under lockdown. The song was a result of a long-distance collaboration between Vijai and his friends in Chennai who had access to a recording studio: “I have a small studio setup at home where I composed and did the rough cut; my friends did the final cut. Sound mixing engineer Roshan doubled up as the singer, Bhuvanesh was on the keyboard and piano, and guitarist Edwin Sagar worked from Kerala.”

A career in cinema seemed like a pipe dream for Vijai, a native of Vedurupaka village who moved to Ramachandrapuram for education. He recalls a few of his family members showing keen interest in music: “My grandfather, a doctor, played the violin and my pedananna (uncle) used to sing.”

Vijai grew up listening to songs of A R Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja, before formally training in Carnatic and western classical music. The emerging composer is keen to work on both Telugu and Tamil film projects.

Before we end, I ask him about his surname: “My grandfather named my father after Russian leader Nikolai Bulganin, who visited India in 1955. I have a lot of respect for my father and sought his permission to use Bulganin as my surname.”


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