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Interview Team : Kaushik; Vivek; Kader; Sindhu; Jyothsna

Devi Sri Prasad who is known for his peppy tunes is busy in Telugu and Tamil. Busy with Alex Pandian and Singam 2 in Tamil, the effervescent music director speaks to about his journey in the film world, his projects and how he relaxes.

Your 50th film Damarukam

I am very happy that Damarukam is my 50th film. I wish to say a BIG thank you to all. Not only Telugu people but Tamil people have also given me a warm welcome. Although I have done just a few films in Tamil, their success is big. I have earned a big name in such a short time. As I am a Chennai boy, my earliest desires were that my songs should be played in all the streets and nooks and corners here and when that dream has come true, I am more than happy. I wish to thank each and every music fan of mine for their support that helped me complete 50 films.

An interesting aspect in this is that my first film was Devi which was released in Tamil and Telugu and that had slokas and verses about Lord Shiva. That happened when I was 17 and everybody used to look at me in awe saying that how I managed such a tough job at such a young age. That was an unforgettable film. I thank M S Raju sir and director Kodi Ramakrishna sir for giving me that opportunity and to have made me a music director. What is interesting is that my 50th film Damarukam is also linked to Lord Shiva. The song ‘Hara Hara Shankara Shiva Shiva Shiva Shankara’ has become a mass hit to the extent that it is been played all over. For the first time I have done a lullaby song in Damarukam which has also become a hit.  I am a big fan of Ilayaraja sir who is the inspiration for my lullaby number.

Raja sir’s lullaby songs are my inspiration

Chennai connection, your studio and team

I did my schooling in Chennai and was raised here and hence I have a special affection for Chennai. My studio and house are in Chennai. Many producers and singers have liked my studio, it is like a lounge. I love being in my studio. My studio staffs are like my brothers. My recording engineer Udhaykumar has won many awards for his work. My assistant engineer, again an Udhay, my rhythm player Kalyan, my keyboardist Krishna Prasad, my manager Mani and in-charge Murugannan are all part of my team who understand my needs and deliver what I require. My younger brother Sagar, a singer himself helps me in sound mixing and he also trains singers. We all have fun and we are like family. We work when needed and also enjoy.

Alex Pandian

Alex Pandian’s music has come out well. I think everyone will like Alex Pandian’s music. I am working with Karthi for the first time and he is a very very sweet person. He is very friendly and does not have any attitude of a hero. Producer Gnanavel Raja is also very friendly. Director Suraj is very jovial and when he was narrating the story, it was full of comedy punches. I have tried something different in the songs in Alex Pandian. The songs will be dance based and also lyrically oriented. Legendary Vaali sir, Viveka, Paa Vijay, and Karunakaran (debut) have rocked in the lyrics department. I have tried singers in a new format in Alex Pandian which will be an experimental effort with commercial ingredients. Karthi appreciated my work and sent bouquets when I was in Bangalore rehearsing for my show. I quite did not expect this and such appreciation will boost up the energy of creative persons like me. I thank Karthi for such a kind gesture.

Karthi is very friendly

Singam 2

We all know that Singam directed by Hari was a great hit and so are its songs. Hence there are huge expectations about Singam 2. Hari has made the script in an extraordinary fashion. Thanks to Hari sir for giving me the opportunity to score for Singam 2 also and thanks to Studio Green. It is too early to talk about the film as it went on floor just recently. But I am sure the film will be a great hit. We are all trying to make the music a great hit.   Everything is coming out well. Hope the audience likes the album.

Working with Hari

What I like about Hari sir is he is extremely decent and disciplined.  He values time a lot and operates with a clear cut plan. His planning inculcates discipline among the people he works with. I really wish I had his planning and time sense. He is very hard working and is ready to work 24 hours. In fact when we were working in Aaru, I used to call him in the middle of the night for tunes and he would willingly oblige. He creates magic in screenplay. I pray that he creates history in Singam 2 also.

Hari creates magic in screen play

You have worked with big stars. How do you feel about this?

Every star has his individual impact. People say that I have the unique credit of having worked with Tamil and Telugu superstars. In Telugu I have worked with Chiranjeevi sir, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Pawan Kalyan, NTR, Bunny, Prabhas and now I am working with Mahesh. In Tamil, I have worked with Vijay, Vikram, Suriya, Dhanush, Kamal sir and now Karthi. In Hindi too I have worked with Salman Khan albeit just for one song which has become a major hit and earned me name and fame there. I am really happy about this and its God’s gift. I wish to thank all these heroes because it is good to know that they have faith in my capability and continue to give me films. How much ever we give good music, when it features in a star’s film, the value increases and the reach is phenomenal. I sincerely thank all the heroes, stars, producers and directors who have given me the opportunity.

You are a good dancer. Did you train in dance?

I have not trained in dance but as a habit from childhood, I dance when the music is on. I feel dance and music are not two different things. When music is played everyone will dance from a toddler to old. Dance courses through our blood. Variation arises with how well we follow rhythm and that’s how I dance (to rhythm). Perhaps, my dance appears different and everybody finds it good. I love dancing. I would like to mention that I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson. I have grown up on Raja sir’s music and Michael Jackson’s dance. I love to do re-recording for films which again, I am inspired from Raja sir. I also would like to sing on the stage and dance. It’s just part of me

I love dancing

From among the songs that you have sung which is your favorite?

I am not a great singer but generally sing all the tracks so that the singers understand the emotions in it. I have even used rough words to fill up the lyrics and invariably directors and lyricists like my words and have retained those hook phrases in some songs. Sometimes the directors retain my voice. That’s how you hear my voice and my singing was never a planned one.  ‘Kanmoodi Thirakkumpodhu’ from Sachein happened that way. Late Jeeva sir had listened to my track number on this and had suggested to producer Thanu and director John that they retain my voice for this number. The song became a huge hit which fetched me good name. I thank Jeeva sir for foreseeing about my voice. I also like Enna Solla Poare from Venghai and thank Hari sir for using my voice.

Your contribution to lyrics

This is also again like my singing. Whether it is in Telugu or Tamil, when I am tuning in music, just for director to understand, I put in a few words like ‘excuse me Mr Kandasamy’ as a concept. The director and producer liked it and retained. Same way ‘Singam Singam he’s Dorai Singam’ and ‘freea vidu freea vidu mame’ followed this pattern only. But I don’t put my name as I did not intend writing lyrics and it just happened.

From your compositions, which is your favorite?

This question is easy but answering it is difficult because it would seem that I have not done justice to other songs. A creator will always want to excel his previous work and not under-do from his previous work. When we are working, we all want to give the best to each and every composition. If it is not liked by people, it is a different issue. But we give our best to everything. Everyone will say the same thing, it may appear clichéd but IT is the truth. I like all my songs.

Memorable event

This happened a long while ago before I even entered film industry. I was in school and I was participating in IIT culturals representing my school. I used to compose music even then and was singing a tune I had composed. I was the lone instrument player for my school at that time and hence I never used to sing.   A competitive event was to happen shortly and I was rehearsing with my team. That’s the time a girl was walking towards me, in a white salwar, and it was like Yash Raj films from a distant out of focus to close focus slowly. My friends were teasing me and I was trembling because talking to girls was nerve wrecking experience then; not any more of course! She came to me slowly and asked if I was singing in the competition and I answered in negative. She appeared a bit disappointed by what I said and told that she really liked my singing and if I were singing, she would stay, if not she would leave for her classes. That was the first appreciation I got and I can never ever forget that.

And after the event, a boy came to me and took my autograph saying that I would really make it big in life. Initially I thought someone is playing a prank on me but realized it was not the case. These compliments are so finely etched in my memory which I received at such an early age.

Your close friends in the industry

I am friendly to everyone but don’t socialize that much. Not that I am averse to it, but work keeps me occupied 24 hours and I don’t find the time. I just have two friends in Chennai -Santosh and Suresh. People may think that I party hard and loaf around the city but when they come to close quarters with me, they find my life very boring. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink and hence I don’t know what to do in a party. If there is music and dance, then it’s fine.

I don’t smoke and I don’t drink

Long hair

I have grown my hair and going around with a band. Friends feel it is nice and it actually is good when I do shows. It is just for fun and has no reason whatsoever. I like short hair and I will chop it after some time, otherwise my mom gets angry.

What does Deepavali signify to you?

“Naan sirichaal Deepavali”. I was not much excited about crackers during my growing up years but I love the guns. My family loves lighting up the house and as I love taking pictures, I was the photographer, taking pictures of every Deepavali. These days as we are against crackers, I call home friends and have fun. That’s about it!

I love the guns

Your projects

In Telugu I have done Damarukum. I am working in Ram Charan’s Evadu, Ravi Teja’s film and doing music for films with Prabhas, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun-Puri Jegannath’s combination. In Tamil re-recording for Alex Pandian is going on and also work in Singam 2 is going on. Besides that talks are on for two big projects.

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