Experience working with Vasantha Balan
was warned by many that it’s tough to
work with Vasantha Balan and that he’s
a taskmaster, a perfectionist. Yes, I agree
he is a taskmaster. But at the end of the
day, he inspired me a lot and guided me through
a lot of things since this is my first film.
To be very honest, I have found a good friend
in Vasantha Balan, And for him, works comes
first and I like his attitude, which I think
is brilliant. I like his dedication, focus
and his homework. He’s a very simple
man. We share a good rapport and I had a great
I was warned by many that it’s
tough to work with Vasantha
Few days into the film, we knew
what should be there and what
you apprehensive to take on a period film
for your first project?
accepted the offer without thinking too much
of the specific type of work involved in a
period project like this. After watching Vasantha
Balan doing his homework and research I became
aware of the challenges. I tuned for the first
song and I understood how different it is
to work on a period project. The first song
was tuned for about 15 days in Bombay and
London. I learnt a lot while tuning that song
but by the end of that I became tuned to the
project and gained confidence. Vasantha Balan
was always there to guide me. Few days into
the film, we knew what should be there and
what not. From then on, it has been fine.
Did you tune for lyrics or the other way round?
worked both ways I think. We first develop
a fragment of a tune and then go on writing
lyrics. But mostly tunes were developed for
lyrics, already written and I enjoyed doing
it that way. All the songs took some time
to evolve. None of the songs, except Nila
Nila, will be conventional in the album. We
thought it would be interesting to work on
it that way.
All the songs took some time to
There are challenges, for instance the song Nagamalai,
which is situational. We had to think about how to
make the song more interesting and make it apt for
the situation without falling into a cliché.
Muthukumar’s lyrics were beautiful and we were
inspired to do a lot of things for the song. We worked
hard for the song and I am sure the results will be
good on screen.
Do you find it
easy to score for lyrics?
This is my first film and I did not find it any difficult.
I will only know about it in my future projects.
your parent’s reaction to your new job?
My parents did not expect me to be a singer, neither
did I. But it happened and I thank God for that. And
I thank God for this opportunity as well. My parents
know I work sincerely and they are very happy about
the positive feedback I am getting.
Rahman and Mani sir liked my
said he liked it and that it has a lot of
emotions. Rahman and Mani sir liked my songs.
Many directors, actors and other folks from
film fraternity gave very positive feedback
for the six songs I tuned for the movie. I
know I have put my heart and soul for the
movie and it feels great to receive such feedback.
Director Shankar’s words at the pooja of the
Shankar liked the song at the pooja and I am happy
singing for other music directors and in your own
There is only one song in the movie that I sang because
it was done in a hurried fashion since we needed a
song for the pooja. We couldn’t commission a
singer for the song so I sang it myself. I haven’t
sung another song for the movie because I did not
think the songs in the album would be suitable for
my voice. Also, I wanted to be in the music director
zone and did not want to get into singing. May be
in future projects, I will sing in my own composition.
How did you manage
both composing and singing?
Fortunately, I have many friends and well-wishers
in the industry and they are all very accommodative.
There has been a balance so I won’t say I lost
any singing projects, in fact many of my composer
friends have waited for me to finish my assignments
for my dates. Yes it was difficult since both singing
and composing are my passions but I was able to manage
How did you bring
the period feel in Aravaan with regard to musical
Since it’s a period film there are not a lot
of instruments you can use. So we have avoided a lot
of instruments and techniques like electronic sounds,
synthesizers, guitars and pianos. We also realized
that avoiding the current day music instruments will
largely give the music a period feel and that’s
how we achieved it.
Would you continue
to score music or get back to your singing?
That’s my identity and I enjoy doing it. So
there is no question of quitting singing. Composing
is a different cup of tea and based on the results,
I will decide on my future projects.
Who is your role
model in music direction?
I am a Chennaite so I grew up listening to Ilayaraja
and Rahman. They are the two pillars of music industry
and there are many amazing musicians in Tamil like
Vidyasagar and Harris. I have worked with them and
learnt a lot from them. I think all of them have contributed
to my work in some way or other.
How do you make
out whether a song would be a hit or would be liked
I did not have to think about it in this movie. Since
it’s a period film, there are certain limitations
but of course the songs will be enjoyed by everyone.
What do you have
to say about singers who do not pronounce Thamizh
All the singers I used for this film have sung in
beautiful Thamizh and that’s one compliment
I get every time for this album. I have only used
people who know Thamizh.
Would you give
importance to melody or commercial aspects in a song?
Only what is needed for the movie.
lyricist and music director
I have worked with almost all the music directors
and I have the comfort level. It’s difficult
to identify the song whether it’ll be a chartbuster
while recording it. So it’s important you develop
a rapport with the music director.
Would you foray
into languages other than Thamizh for music direction?
Yes, if it’s interesting I will take it up.
There are many
new music directors now and you don’t see very
many old faces. What is the reason for this?
I think its evolution. Change is inevitable and it’s
bound to happen. It happens in all the fields.
Would you remix
Nope, I haven’t thought about it yet. There
is no scope for that in this movie so I am saved.