Joseph and his technicolour dreams

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Writer, composer, producer and director, the camera just keeps on rolling in Stanley Joseph’s life. Shveata Chandel Singh talks to the man behind the feature film ‘My Cornerstone’, which will release this year

As far as sheer range of creative passion goes, few can compete with Stanley Joseph. He has made his mark as a writer, composer, producer and director for both music and films.

By the time he turned five, Stanley had learned to make his choices and stand by them too. A musical entrepreneur, born and raised in India, he embarked on a musical journey at an age most children do not think beyond play time.

He is a multi-talented artist, and plays several musical instruments, though he admits the guitar is by far his favourite.

Stanley’s father Mr J P Raj and his mother Prema Kumari, are both into music. His father used to play the accordion and has won many competitions. His mother is a renowned Kannada gospel singer and used to sing for ‘FEBA’ Radio, Bangalore.

“I grew up in Bangalore and even did my graduation there. It is now almost 17 years since I have moved to Sydney,” says Stanley, who is now 48.

“My father encouraged me to assist him with percussion for his orchestra, and later he introduced me to the guitar. I was in class three when my father gifted me a guitar, which at that age, was bigger than me. I was very anxious to learn various musical instruments, so after experimenting with different musical instruments I came back to the guitar,” says Stanley.

“My dad is the one who showed me the direction and he is my first guru,” he adds.
Stanley says his father used to play the accordion for a famous singer named B K Sumitra. “She happened to walk in to our house one day when I was strumming the guitar. She was so impressed she asked me to join her team of musicians. I was the youngest musician there,” he says.

Recalling the treasured moments of his life, Stanley says, “It was my father who taught my sister and me everything — even how to bunk classes. My father loved western classics. He would take us along with him to watch those movies and it didn’t matter if it was a school day. He would just come to our school, tell the principal some long story about how he needed to take us out of school for the day and then take us along with him to watch the movie. He introduced me to some great movies — ‘Sound of Music’, ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Good, Bad & Ugly’, ‘Ten Commandments’, and ‘BenHur’,” says Stanley.
As the years went by, Stanley’s love for music grew stronger. When he was in class nine, he I formed the band ‘Stan & the Gang’ with a bunch of his classmates. They played Bollywood covers like ‘Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi’ and ‘Kya Hua Tera Vada’. “Later, I formed the first-ever heavy-metal band in India called ‘Millennium’. It was formed in Bangalore and we played ‘Iron Maiden’ covers,” says Stanley, and adds the band was popularly called ‘Bootleg Iron Maiden’. “Our shows used to be packed with 60,000 to 80,000 fans,” he says.

From heavy metal and Bollywood, Stanley soon began experimenting with other styles such as rock, R&B, pop, fusion, Indian and Western classical.

As an adult, Stanley composed music for telefilms, corporate commercials, advertising jingles, teleserials and even an album titled “Chalayido Chali” based on the international drink for Fiji called ‘Yangona’ or ‘Kawa’ .

Ad jingles turned to films, and in 1998, Stanley, composed music for a small screen-play for a music video on Channel 10. It was that music video that set him off on the path to direction and production.

“I started writing scripts for films in 2004-2005 and that was the start of my film career. My first film was ‘Newton’s Third Law’. I wrote the story for that movie and also produced and directed it in 2010-11 though the film is yet to be released. In the meanwhile, I completed two feature films titled ‘My Cornerstone’ and ‘Love you Krishna,” says Stanley, and adds that ‘My Cornerstone’ will be released this year and ‘Love you Krishna’ next year. “In terms of my movies, I like telling stories that convey a moral message catering to various communities throughout the world,” he says.

“We shot both these features all over Sydney and in Mumbai. The shooting schedule was completed in 36 days, which is a big achievement in itself. For that I thank Akhil Chaukra and the rest of the cast and crew,” says Stanley, who adds that he is grateful to God, his parents, and wife and daughter, who supported him.

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