G V Prakash Kumar
Interviewer : Inian & Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Camera : Balaji | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar
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G V PRAKASH KUMAR
It is Madarasapattinam on everyone’s lips now and the film is a huge hit. The film’s music and RR has been appreciated by everyone and the young music composer G V Prakash Kumar who was responsible for this feat is one happy lad. Commencing his musical journey at a young age of 18 in Veyil, this gifted music director’s career is growing in leaps and bounds. Catch G V Prakash Kumar in a relaxed and happy mood with Senior Editors Jyothsna Bhavanishankar and Inian.
Madarasapattinam experience

I was the fist one to whom Vijay had bounced the idea of Madarasapattinam, a period film. I was already working then on another period film, Aayirathil Oruvan. I was very happy with Vijay’s idea, persuaded him to go ahead with the subject and assured him that the film is bound to take him to the next level. He had interspersed a beautiful love story in it and has made into a wonderful musical journey. It was a great experience and thanks to Agoram sir, Udaynidhi sir for producing and promoting the film. My thanks are also due to all the technicians Nirav Shah, Antony, Selva and everybody who has been a part of the film. And thanks to Vijay for giving me this opportunity. The film is a big hit. Bala sir, Karthi and many others have been calling me to appreciate my work. It was a pleasant trip indeed!

Working with director Vijay

Vijay has given me the best song of my career which is Akkam Pakkam (Kireedom). Vijay is a good visual director. He had translated my music very aesthetically onto the screen. Beyond all that, we are good friends and share a good rapport. Even in Kuselan function, I honored him as my friend. Like in any healthy friendship, we discuss everything and I don’t fail to point out his mistakes too. In fact we have fought a lot during Madarasapattinam. The song Pookal Pookum did not figure in the film’s situation earlier. Vijay first narrated me the concept and the love component. I had a feel of the situation and composed the number with a ghazal background and played it to him. That’s how Pookal Pookum was born. Vijay later conceived a situation for it and the number along with Vaamma Doraiamma have earned applause in the theatres. It is nice to know that our combination clicked.


Vijay is a good visual director


On the musical research for Madarasapattinam

The film needed British classical music. I have learnt 8 grades of Western piano and have got distinction in my 8th grade. I have some knowledge on western music, have heard symphonies, can score music in it and had great tutors who have taught me this aspect of music. For the characterization of the British girl I chose western classical music. I have used obos, the key flutes, the symphony, string flutes and classical western bits in the film. You can hear string quartet too. For our culture, I have used folk, ghazal, Hindustani instruments like santoor, tabla etc. I have also done raga based songs. For instance, Pookal Pookum is based on Darbari Kaanada, Aruire on Charukesi and Kaatrile on Chandrakauns. I wanted to give a musical treat blending the Indian with the English music. Both the lead characters don’t know each other’s language and music plays a major part in their communication channel. There was much scope for this and I utilized it to the fullest.



I was 18 years when I did Veyil

About the rave reviews for Veyil

I can only say its God’s grace and His blessings. I have never imagined that I would become a music director. It was just an accident. I wanted to become a good key board player and work for all the music directors. In the initial days, jingle opportunities came to me and I realized my potentials and I was good at it. That’s how I started and it has brought me to this level now. I was 18 years when I did Veyil which reached national and international platforms like Cannes. Thanks to Vasanthabalan and Shankar especially for bringing me into cinema. Shankar sir is a boon bestowed upon me who helped me scale great heights.

Your most difficult composition


Thai Thindra Mannae from Aayirathil Oruvan is the most difficult compositions till now in my career. The song demanded a lot. There should be an ancient feel and a touch of majesty as a king was singing it. Telugu lines needed to be incorporated in it and a kind of jugalbandi at the end. I brought in many flavors to it. The king was singing with thousand years of pain of his land.


The composition that you enjoyed the most


I enjoyed the most while composing Pookal Pookum Tharunam from Madarasapattinam. It is one of the best in my career. This will feature as one of my favorites along with Idu Enna Maayam and Un Perai Sollumbode.

Song(s) which took the longest and the shortest time to compose

Maalai neram and un mela aasaidaan took the shortest time to compose which became massive hits. Thai Thindra Manne took two months. Pookal Pookum also took some time as we needed to blend two cultures. Muthukumar’s lyrics also added to the zing.

Your favorite from Rahman’s songs?

Lagan, Roja, Alai Payude, Uyire and so many that I have lost count of them. It was my admiration of him that has brought me into the industry. Although he does not give me verbal guidance, I came in to the industry only after seeing his work. I owe a lot to him. In fact I have worked as his assistant for two years. I have also worked as an assistant for Harris Jeyaraj, Bharthwaj, Dhina, Vidya Sagar, Anu Malik, Sivamani and many others but I worked a lot for Rahman sir in Rang de Basanthi, Swades, Mangal Pandey, Krisna, Anbe Aaruire, Varalaru and even Lord of the Rings.


I worked a lot for Rahman sir

What have you learnt from A R Rahman?

There was nothing that was handed over to be verbally but I have listened to his music and have learnt quite a good deal. He is definitely one of my ideals along with John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Michael Jackson and Craig David.



It was a great challenge to work

for Selvaraghavan

Working with Selvaraghavan

I was bowled over when Selva first narrated the story of AO. I was awestruck by his thinking. I am the one who usually think much ahead of my times and was surprised to find Selva racing me ahead. I had to pull up my socks to reach him. It was a great challenge to work for Selvaraghavan. When we began Aayirathil Oruvan, Selva told me that he would take care of the visuals and asked me to compose music to go with it or even surpass. He said, “Let’s see who goes higher”. The result was AO reached a high level technically and the brilliance was much palpable on screen. Such technical wizardry can only be felt in the works of Mani Ratnam sir, Selva’s latest films and of course now Vijay has joined this league.

On singing for Rahman

I was singing for him after 12 years (Semmozhi Maanadu Song). I felt it was my duty and I did it for the love of my language, my state. After all I belong to this place.

Will you sing for other music composers?

I am not interested in singing at all! I hate my voice as a singer. Luckily, the songs that I have sung have become hits. Now I have sung in Aadukalam. I have also lent my voice for a Telugu number from Darling featuring Prabhas and Kajal Agarwal which is a great hit there. I have given a hit in Kannada also with Ganesh. I have covered entire south India and now it will be Bollywood.


I hate my voice as a singer




A name alone cannot pull you

beyond two films

Is it a boon or bane to have the tagline -‘A R Rahman’s nephew’?

It is a burden that stresses me. If I had come into the field without this tagline like any other fresh composer, then I will not have this benchmark or reference point. A newcomer should be left free without any appendage. Our industry is highly competitive and one cannot sustain without talent. A name alone cannot pull you beyond two films. We have seen that in 75 years of cinema. One cannot enter Shankar sir’s campus if there is no talent. Rajni sir called me for Kuselan after listening to my work in Veyil and Kireedom. Selva chose me for AO because he liked my background score in Polladhavan and minnal koothadum number.

Your take on remixes

I don’t like remixes as I feel it does not credit a music composer in any way. I feel it can be avoidable. I am not against people who do it but I will not do it.


I don’t like remixes

Current scenario in Tamil film music

There is a lot of competition and there are many newcomers who keep churning out chartbusters. It is a healthy scene and music has gone to the next level. I am looking forward to this competition.

Why do newcomers fade out after an excellent debut?

It is not like that. We need to continuously renew and reinvent ourselves. I don’t maintain one particular style like other composers. In every film, I refresh myself and come out as a new person. Good scripts like Aayirathil Oruvan and Madarasapattinam help me achieve this to rejuvenate myself.

Current and future projects

After Polladhavan’s success, I am teaming up once again with Vetrimaran and Dhanush in Aadukalam. Next, it will be Maravan with Selva and Dhanush; VA quarter cutting with Oram Po Pushkar and Gayathri; Chimbudevan’s next; Vijay’s next. In addition to these, I will be doing a new director Chozhan’s Adal Yeru. I liked the script and Jeeva is the hero. Besides these, I will be working in Alien Sahib, a John Abraham film directed by Sirish Kunder produced by Farah Khan which will eventually commence after my Tamil projects. In Telugu I will be doing Karunakaran sir’s next film.



I want to make the album scene

very big in India

What about the English album?

After my Bollywood entry, I will be planning my international scene as you have to reach more people before you make an album. I think a film music director should never be dependent on the success of a film or the director’s success. That’s not fair. Talent of a music director should not be restricted or confined to barriers. I want to make the album scene very big in India. I am very much looking forward to it and I will come up with something really striking

Is there a concert tour in the offing?

I am very much looking forward to do concert tour but I am waiting for my Bollywood entry. I have already rejected an US and a Malaysian offer. Now I have more than 100 songs in my list and the journey has been good so far. I will do concerts after my Hindi debut.

Which is your peak work time?

I work best from 6 in the evening to 4 next morning. It will be great fun and there will be no disturbance. We can reach great levels during these hours.

Will you consider acting?

People have already asked me if this. Let me first do this job properly. I am on a learning curve now and don’t believe in multitasking. I want to hone my skills in music compositions and excel. Now I have reached a level in RR with AO and Madarasapattinam. Of course you will see me in visuals in VA Quarter Cutting in TV cuts in an album kind of scenario. I don’t know how it’s going to be… (guffaws)

Awards won

Actually I have not won many awards but all my songs have been chartbusters. Every time, my work will compete with Rahman and I don’t get to win any awards. Like for an instance my Veyil was competing with Rahman’s Jillunnu Oru Kaadhal and they gave the award to JOK. Of course I have been his assistant and I feel good to have strong competition. I don’t look for awards as I feel the media is biased. They want celebrities and stars to grace their functions. Hence I don’t believe in these awards. Ultimately it is the people and the blockbusters that you churn out matter and nothing else.

Having started very young, do you think you have missed out on the life front?

Actually, I was never regular to school. From my 7th standard I was involved in culturals and other music shows as I was the assistant cultural secretary of my school. I was always busy with my band and rehearsals. And most of my friends who have budded and grown with me are all stars by themselves now. My very good friend Naveen Iyer, a flutist who I introduced in Veyilodu Vilayaadi is the top guy in the industry. That way, I have not missed much.

Accolades for Madarasapattinam

I heard that Bala sir was moved when he saw Madarasapattinam and had appreciated the team. He is such a great director and his kind words only reveal his magnanimity. I am always his fan and am happy that he loved our film. Karthi called to say he liked the film. A lot of such messages are pouring in from my fellow musicians and from all quarters. I am very happy for Vijay and the producer and the entire team. We all had worked hard and there could be nothing more heart warming than the recognition that we get for our hard work. This year has been great for me as all my songs have been massive hits like Un Mela Aasaidaan, Malai Neram, Un Perai Sollumbode, Vaamma Doraiyamma, Pookal Pookum to name a few. Now Vaamma Doraiyamma is the number one in all FM stations. I thank everyone for their support.


Vaamma Doraiyamma is the

number one in all FM stations

 

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