Music director Vijay Antony is revered among
the youth of today. His electrifying peppy numbers
and melodious tunes continue to enthrall listeners.
This multifaceted young gun seems to personify
today’s youth, juggling his time between
music direction, penning lyrics, singing and
enjoying all of them.
Meet Vijay ‘Nakka Mukka’ Antony,
this week’s Behindwood’s guest in
a candid chat.
paatu is not inferior"
BW:How did you become interested in
Antony: My tryst with music began right
from my school days when I used to sing for my
friends. I was very dull in studies and was a
last bencher. Somehow I used to scrap through
exams but was good in music, dance and other extra
curricular activities which gave me a lot of recognition.
I realized that I was more popular in school than
my brainy counterparts. That’s when I thought
– why not take this as a profession itself
and that’s how my interest in music blossomed.
Did you straight
away start composing music?
embarking full time as a music director I was
working as a sound engineer in my studio named
‘audio files’. I was Sound Engineer
Vijay Antony first and then Music director Vijay
What genres of
music do you like?
am not framed into liking any particular genre
of music. If I tune myself that way, then I cannot
render diverse music compositions. As I like all
types of good music, I am able to give peppy numbers
like Dilamo or a Nakka Mukka, along side a Brindavana
Saranga Nenjankootil number or a Yen Enakku Mayakkam.
Basically I need to satisfy my director as well
as the audience. That’s more important.
About your family?
dad passed way when I was seven and my mother
struggled hard to bring me up. She never
had any lofty ambitions of making her son
a music director or making him study in
an English medium school or anything like
that. She is a very naïve person. I
grew up amidst a lot of difficulties. She
worked as a clerk in town planning office
and her meager salary was just enough to
take care of our basic needs like the house
rent, electricity bill, groceries, my school
fees etc. It was certainly an uphill task
for a single woman to raise her son and
I think she has done a commendable job.
I spent my first ten years of life in Trichy,
the next ten in Tirunelveli and the next
ten at Chennai. After moving to Chennai,
I started earning and things are slowly
improving now on the financial front.
akin to the salsa
discos of the
Do you think Kuthu Paatu is necessary for Tamil
Kuthu Paatu is necessary for a film or not is
to be decided by the director and it is only his
discretion which is based on the script. That
aside, according to me, Kuthu Paatu is not something
that is inferior or anything like that. I feel
it is a part of Tamil culture especially when
the song uses instruments like tharai, thapattai
and parai. These are very indigenous to us. My
nakka mukka number had used all these sounds and
it was a hit with both the class as well as mass
audience. I feel kuthu pattus are akin to the
salsa or discos of the western world.
these types of songs do not transcend time. What
is your comment on that?
Cinema came to us only from the 1950s. There were
no songs or tape recorders in any household then.
So when entertainment was at its nascent stage,
any song that was delivered was a hit. And as
the days go by, when more and more songs hit the
audience, there are more options and competition
is on the rise. Today, at least one hundred songs
are being recorded in a single day in Tamil alone.
So shelf life for current songs be it melody or
kuthu, is very short and a song cannot transcend
the time barrier any more.
have no role
Who is the role model for your music?
have no single person as my favorite or
my role model. I don’t follow anyone.
I like good music and I like whoever renders
them. I don’t want to follow a particular
person. I like Raja Sir’s melody,
Rahman sir’s usage of technology,
Yani’s technique of mixing Indian
music with international quality. In short
I like and admire good things irrespective
of its roots.
you compose music for verses or the other
can do both ways. For ‘Dilamo’,
I composed the tune and then wrote the lyrics.
For the ‘suppose’ number it
was simultaneous work. I first composed
music for the verses of all the songs in
Kaadalil Vizhunden. It depends on individual
strengths and weaknesses. I find both the
styles easy. But after Kaadalil Vizhunden
I have started feeling that it is better
to compose music for the verses. But I can
Who is your favorite lyricist?
is my all time favorite in the Tamil film industry.
His lines are very powerful and strong. He is
one poet who can think much ahead of his times.
What about the repetition of single words in songs?
lines of verses are not necessary but even one
line is enough to compose music. Nakka mukka number
had more of the word nakka mukka and it was thoroughly
enjoyed by the audience.
you like philosophic verses? If so, which is your
the upcoming film 4777, I like the song ‘Kanneerai
pola oru nanban illai, katrukkol thunbam pol oru
paadam illai’. It is a very soothing number
and at the same time, it makes one think deeply.
I like songs with deeper meanings. ‘Tholvi
nilayena ninaithal’ from Oomai Vizhigal
is a favorite. I like Raja sir’s numbers
like the ‘Ponnai pola aatha yenna pethu
potta’ which talks about a mother’s
love for her son in a profound manner.
you done live shows?
have never done live shows till now. Now my songs
are getting popular and I have come to a stage
where I can have live shows. I have planned to
conduct them at least in 10 places in 2009. Let
Your opinion on the many incomprehensible
words in the Tamil film songs of today?
I do not have a personal opinion on this.
Anything that the audience likes is a hit
and when they don’t like, they reject.
Nakka Mukka is one such number. There is
no meaning to the word but it was lapped
up totally by Tamil Nadu and it is the regional
is the current trend in giving chance to newcomers?
In the earlier days, people were not open-minded.
They did not welcome youngsters. Although I was
talented I had to struggle hard to get a chance.
I was rejected because of commercial and business
reasons. But the present generation is open minded
and willing to try out talents. Hence the current
trend is to give opportunity if one is talented.
Don’t you think Tamil suffers at the hands
of non-Tamil singers?
I believe that in this industry whatever is being
liked by the audience only will win. If the audience
rejects a particular type of singing or a singer,
such trends will eventually fade away. Slang or
foreign words in Tamil songs are there because
they are being enjoyed by the audience. There
is no connection between this and Tamil. Tamil
cannot be wiped away by anybody and nothing can
bring a change to Tamil. This is a trend or a
style of this period. That is all.
are your future plans?
I do not have any plans. I take each day one by
one. If I get a good project in a particular period,
I take it up.
did you start a music company?
I basically want to learn the nuances of this
trade- the audio market and how to go about it.
In future if I decide to venture into production
or film making, this knowledge would definitely
come in handy.
us something about your wife
My wife is totally responsible for my growth in
the film industry. Two women play an important
life in a man’s life. One is his mom before
marriage and then his wife after wedding. In my
house, sometimes I behave like a child and that’s
when my wife takes on the role of a mom. A creative
person is generally very emotional. My wife understands
me perfectly, handles me well and walks with me
during the times of joy and sorrow. She handles
my fans, talks to them in a very polite manner,
manages my finances and is extremely supportive.
I am very lucky to have her beside me.
Tell us something about your projects
of 4777 is out now and now I am doing its
re-recording. After this, I will be on the
job for Ninaithale Inikkum directed by my
friend G N Kumaravel a remake of Malayalam
Classmates. Songs have come out very well.
Then I move on to Vasantha Balan’s
Angadi Theru. I have huge expectations from
the film. I will be commencing its re-recording
in a few more weeks. Then it will be Kanagavel
Kaaka under Balamurugan’s direction.
Further on, it will be Vijaykanth’s
Mariyadai directed by Vikraman. I believe
that this film will be an important mile
stone in my career. I have to balance Vijaykanth
sir’s image and it should also be
in tune with the taste of Vikraman. Till
now, songs in Vikraman’s films will
generally be talked about and I hope to
continue the trend.
Peyar Thamizharasi directed by Meera Kadiravan
will be my first film based on rural background.
Judging by my looks, people think that I
will only do melody, kuthu and carnatic
songs. But Meera Kadiravan is a poet and
a deep thinker and he is the first director
who approached me for a rural theme. I am
trying out a totally new genre of music
in this film. This film will definitely
give me an image make over.
Under whose direction would you like to work?
am open to everyone. Thankfully, till now, the
directors that I have worked with have given me
immense freedom which has helped me deliver the
do you want to credit for your growth?
I came to Chennai, I did not know anyone. I am
yet to scale greater heights but there are many
people who are responsible for whatever growth
I have achieved so far. There are many warm hearts
and well wishers. First it is my mom who struggled
so hard to raise me. Then it is Yemi. He gave
me a job in his studio without even looking at
any recommendations. He is my guru and a friend
who gives me a lot of emotional and moral support.
When I say Guru, people think that I have learnt
music from him. But he is a sound engineer who
stood by me in my lean times. I like his character
and behavior. I have mentally accepted him as
a Guru or a role model. But for him, I would not
have learnt sound engineering and I would not
have become a music director. He is very important
is your take on the dearth of meaningful lyrics
in film music?
there is a general complaint that there are no
good meaningful songs. But what I don’t
understand is how one can find these things in
film music when one will have to look for them
in Holy Scriptures like the Bhagavath Gita or
the Koran or Bible. If good ideas do happen in
film music, enjoy them. If not filter them or
reject them. This is my opinion.
you personally tried something new in your upcoming
have tried to bring Avvaiyar’s Aathichudi
in my film 4777 through a peppy tune. This is
a novel attempt and I believe that with the release
of these songs, Aathichudi will find itself more
Do you think you may face any opposition
No, I don’t think so because I have
not changed any lines or distorted the original.
I don’t think it will be a crime to
score music for Avvaiyar’s verses.
is your opinion on lack of strong far reaching
melody tunes in today’s music?
As I said earlier, it is all a mind-set.
In olden times, there was no competition
and anything that was given to the audience
was liked and accepted. But the scene has
changed today. It has been reported that
by the year end we would have at least 10,000
songs. We are being bombarded with different
types of music. Today’s youngster
will tell that there are no melodies like
Nenjankootil to his next generation. So
the statement will remain the same only
the times would have changed.
right nor wrong"
Remixing is neither right nor wrong. It is only
business. It is like the second or the third edition
of a book. When there is some good old music and
when the producer requests it to be remixed, as
a music director, I try my best and use the latest
instruments and deliver it. Personally my remix
attempts have been a failure and my own tunes
have become successful. When a music director
remixes, it does not mean that he is incapable
of producing his own tunes. In fact I can churn
out close to five hundred tunes per day. We heed
to director and producer’s request. That
is Tamil film industry today as regards music?
In my personal opinion, in India, Tamil film industry
tops the list in terms of quality, melody and
orchestration in the music department.
you have your music lessons from London?
No, I am not affluent enough to go to London and
study. I did my correspondence course from the
Trinity College of Music. People think that I
studied in London. No, I am only local.
trying to interfere with music director’s
As far as a film is concerned, the captain of
the ship is its director and he calls the shots.
When I don’t agree with him, I try to see
the film through his perspective. But when it
comes to music department, it is only right that
the music director be given the complete freedom.
A lyricist cannot interfere with a music director’s
work. If he wants to express his views, he should
choose a different medium. This is my opinion.
that you have taken in your life
I struggled very hard to come up in life. My mom
who was a clerk in an office wanted to see me
as a supervisor in her office. My uncle who was
a police man wished that I become a police officer.
Somehow, I broke all the shackles, followed my
heart and decided to walk in unchartered path.
This is the major risk that I have taken and by
God’s grace, it has proved well. I will
also be taking such risks in future.
What is your advice to upcoming
singers or music directors?
I have not accomplished much to give advice to
anyone. I struggled very hard despite being talented.
I was not given opportunities because people believed
that I may not give them good business. But I
don’t want others to undergo what I faced.
As far as possible, I am trying out and giving
opportunities to newcomers and talented people
in most of my songs be it Nakka Mukka or Yen enakku
or any of my songs. The advantage of giving chance
to a new lyricist or a singer is that they are
very cooperative. Secondly, by introducing many
talents, the industry will have quality and this
will eventually lead to a healthy competition.