seems to have stayed on with music director Harris
Jeyaraj. Having started his career with Minnale, the
gifted composer has come a long way. Film after film,
Harris continues to drown his audience with a mellifluous
musical experience. Fresh after the success of Udhyanidhi’s
Oru Kal Oru Kannadi, Harris chose to speak to Senior
Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar on his films, musical
journey, his upcoming projects and a myriad other
OKOK album is also a hit. How do you feel?
We are all happy as a team. By the time I absorb this
success, I have to get onto my next project. We are
glad about the tremendous response that OKOK is getting
from audience. I should thank all my fans, viewers of
behindwoods, and Thamizh people for the success.
85% of Maatraan music is over. In a month’s time,
I will be completing the rest of the work and in about
45 days, the audio would be ready for release.
Working with Selvaraghavan for the first time
in Irandam Ulagam
know Selva for the past five years and we were
to team up for Pudhupettai and another film.
However things did not materialize. I am now
happy that we have come together through Irandam
Ulagam. And work in Irandam Ulagam is also half
complete. After a long time, I am working with
Vairamuthu sir. Irandam Ulagam will be a musical
treat for all music lovers. We have six songs
with good lyrics and it is getting better day
by day and we are all excited about the project.
Irandam Ulagam will be a
Well, it is just a working title. I am going to start
composing in a couple of days. The film is directed
by Ahamad and it is a light hearted romantic film.
I have made it a point to do a light hearted film
after a couple of mega budget films.
How choosy are
you about your scripts?
It’s not only about the script but also the
team. So basically, it’s about choosing the
team. When it comes to Team, director plays a huge
part in it. I will also look for how my music is going
to contribute to the film as such; it’s not
about whether the film is good or bad. The questions
like whether audience would accept me in a particular
film will go on in my mind. Thankfully, my decisions
have been fairly good and it has been a good run so
Ohmahaziya and randakka are
of new words in your music
a good question. It all started with Kalabha
Kaadhal and new words like Kuviyamila follow
suit. They are all Thamizh words but are pretty
new to this generation. I also belong to the
current generation and don’t know such
words. When working with lyricists, they would
throw in such words but would not be sure about
the response. But sounds of such words would
surely help the music as such. Leave ohmahaziya
and randakka aside. They are all gibberish to
enhance the mood of the song. When unfamiliar
Thamizh words are used, it renders a mellifluous
and fresh feel. These new Thamizh words are
the culmination of a pursuit.
How do you feel when some of your good songs
don’t get enough mileage because the film
is not good enough?
I finish with one project, I move on to my next
and don’t find time to know about the
status of my old work. I recall about it only
when people tell they like a particular song
or when I get an award for the song. Today with
the advent of radio stations, even servants
are constantly listening to songs. They are
not concerned about the film but only the songs.
Songs from the films like Engeyum Kaadhal or
Vaaranam Aayiram which did not do well at the
box office were well received by the audience.
To me a film is different and songs are different.
A bad film does not affect the popularity of
a good song.
A bad film does not affect the
popularity of a good song
When are we going to see the singer in Harris?
When Music Director Harris Jeyaraj approves singer Harris
Jeyaraj, I will start singing. As of now, I am singing
in my shows and would want to retain that exclusivity
Directors believe in me
it ever happened that you have recorded a song
and the director decided not to have it in the
God’s grace, it has not happened till
now. But I have changed a few songs just before
going for recording. For instance, in 7aum Arivu,
I had composed a different tune but changed
in the last minute to give ‘yemma yemma’.
Same is the case with Vaseegara in Minnalae.
I am happy that directors believe in me.
on releasing 'singles' before the full audio CD
It’s a good thing and is quite normal in West.
I am happy about the trend which I started long back
in Lesa Lesa. But as the single is released much before
the rest of the album, its popularity becomes more than
the other songs. Hence I stopped this. But I think it
works for other films and I am happy about it.
Usage of rap in
It’s a trend for a particular time period. In
the 60s, it was the Bharatnatyam song; while in 70s,
it was the pathos; in 80s, ghazal; in 90s disco songs
and now it’s the hip hop. These things are for
a decade and every decade there would be a change. As
long as the audience approves and enjoys this, such
trends will continue. We don’t know what’s
going to rule in the next decade.
you thought of an album outside cinema?
Of course, I have thought about this after I finished
my first film itself. But as I don’t find time
and keep moving from one project to other, I am not
able to concentrate on this.
Introducing new talents
fresh voice lends a new dimension to a song.
There is also a flipside to it. The new voice
should be good enough to complement a song.
In the 90s, audience was reluctant to accept
a new voice. But thankfully, it’s not
the case anymore and we music directors are
able to introduce a lot of new talent now. For
the audience, a song matters the most rather
than the music directors or singers. And also
new singers are very energetic and there is
fire in them. I am happy to work with new singers.
A fresh voice lends a new
dimension to a song
I like Ghibran’s work in Vaagai
the current crop of music directors, who appeals
to you the most?
there are many. I like Ghibran’s work
in Vaagai Sooda Vaa. I also like G V Prakash,
Dhanush and S Thaman’s work. There are
many and but I don’t know their names.
It’s a healthy time for music now.
Why is there a déjà vu feel in
your songs these days?
fifth or a sixth child (in a family) is sure
to resemble the 1st child. Once I am done with
a song, I forget it. My directors would remind
me of this. And secondly it’s my signature
and also the audience’s taste. To a larger
extent, I have understood what the audience
wants from me.
I have understood what the
audience wants from me
We need a hit song and a hit film
a song is criticized, it becomes very popular.
This is unexplainable. That particular song
brings the audience to theatres which plays
hugely in the success of the film and increases
the excitement levels. At the end of the day,
we need a hit song and a hit film. Leave the
criticism and critics aside. To me the audience’s
response is most important. Their correction
is much better than everything.
Will you work with Gautham Menon again?
course! He is a very good director and if such
an opportunity comes, I would definitely work
I would definitely work with
Yes, I started the ‘Harris on edge’ last
year and we have successfully completed it in Chennai,
Coimbatore and Dubai and next it would be going to
Australia and New Zealand. I have postponed it for
now due to my film commitments.
Maatraan composition was done
in 6 countries
did you do Maatraan composition?
interesting question! I am happy to say that
a Tamil film’s composition was done in
6 countries as we were going on a cruise and
the ship used to touch many countries in its
journey and it was mostly along the Mediterranean
Sea. And the idea was entirely director’s.
We finished 3songs in 7 days. It was very nice
working for Maatraan.
Did you enjoy
the cruise trip?
No, it was not a pleasure trip but it was only work.
Although the ship touched many countries, we were
just confined to our rooms with just a window and
were completely immersed in our work. It’s only
work and not holiday.
For the first time, you have composed a kuthu
number- Vena Machan- in OKOK. What made you
there was not any situation in the film that
required the song. Rajesh and I were discussing
and as Udhayanidhi was being launched as a hero,
we realized that we need to have songs that
would cater to all kinds of audience. Already
we had composed 4 songs and they were like Sathyam
and Inox types and we wanted a number for Kasi
We wanted a number for Kasi
I am not a big fan of kuthu song or gaana numbers.
But I felt such a song was essential when you are
launching a newcomer and also to bring a good opening
for the film. I insisted on such a number and that’s
when Rajesh came up with a fishermen theme. And I
am happy to say that I gave the opening lines of the
song and Naa Muthukumar developed on it and congrats
to him. But we never expected this song would overtake
the rest. And I am again thankful to my fans for its
Thuppaakki will be loved by
Vijay fans, Murugadoss fans and
am working with Vijay after Nanban and with
Murugadoss, it is after Ghajini and 7aum arivu.
Thuppaakki is a big and much awaited film. It
is an action and commercial flick. Thuppaakki
will be loved by Vijay fans, Murugadoss fans
and music lovers. We have composed four songs
and recorded two songs. The work will get over
in 2 months.
When I composed a number, I felt it would be
nice if Vijay renders his voice and when I told
him, he felt I was kidding. Later I convinced
him and the recording was done at Mumbai. It’s
a club song and was shot in five pubs with the
beautiful camera work of Santosh Sivan. All
other songs have also come out well.
Your favorite song
don’t have any favorite song and I don’t
listen to my songs. I listen to world music.
I don’t listen to my songs
Yes, family is a big support to me. The very fact that
they don’t trouble me is a biggest support. I
have a sweet family. I have two kids- Nicholas and Nikitha.
My wife is Suma. My mom is Rachel who prays for me every
day. My father Moses Jeyakumar is an Evangelist. My
parent’s prayers have given me all the blessings.