James Vasanthan
Interviewer : Annadurai | Camera : Xavier | Text : Prathap | Video Editor : Jesi
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Television personality turned music director James Vasanthan shares his experiences with behindwoods.com.

Your introduction of new singing talents

In Subramaniapuram, for the Madura Kulunga song I introduced Velmurugan. And in Easan Thanjai Selvi was introduced with the Jilla Vittu Jilla song. In my next film Marudavelu, Velmurugan and Thanjai Selvi have sung a song. I am happy to note that these songs are being well received by the fans. It’s not only the folk nature of the song that makes it a hit. Lyrics and people who sing and their very interesting voice is what makes a song popular.

Jilla vittu jilla’ touched people’s


Which is difficult – tunes for lyrics or lyrics for tunes?

I do not think anything is difficult. But recently, as I was talking to the legendary MSV, I asked him a somewhat similar question. He said if he wanted a song to be popular for its tune, he would go ahead and tune it first and then look for lyrics. But if he wants the lyrics to be noticed, he would tune the song after the lyrics are written. I adopt the same thing too. I do not think either one of this is difficult.

My movies will not have remix


Your take on remix

My movies will not have remix songs because we develop a special kind of relationship with a song after hearing it for a couple of decades. And it’s hard to accept it in a different form. So I think it’s destroying the soul of a song. I do not like to do it and no director has asked me to do it either.

Which do you prefer- scoring music for commercial or realistic films?

Commercial films might not have a hard-hitting story line but they are interesting in their own rights and it’s a challenge to score for them as well. About Easan, it’s an equal mix of commercial and socially relevant issues.

Response for ‘Jilla vittu jilla’ number

When people saw the song, they thought it was just an item song. But towards the end of the song, people realized the sentiment quotient and when the song ended everyone applauded in the theatre. It’s probably the first time an item number received such welcome from the audience. Although the song might sound like an item song, it touched people’s feelings and hence it was successful.

You introduce many new talents and also folk numbers. Any special reason?

That’s because nobody else knows the pain of anticipation as much as I do. I want to be a helping hand for people with talent. The way I needed a helping hand, everybody needs one. Why shouldn’t it be me? That is why I try and introduce new talents in my movie; be it singers of lyricists.

Have you worked in other South Indian languages?

I have done a Kannada, a Telugu and a Malayalam movie. I am open to good movies in any language.

Compare the situation of talents getting a break in the industry now and then

It’s true. The landscape has become very competitive now. This is true in many fields; be it actors, singers or musicians. But now the iron curtain is removed and it’s become an open place that invites talents from all over. It used to be an achievement to sing in movies. But it’s no longer the case and new talents are coming to the industry every day. Opportunities are easy to come by but it’s only a few who will withstand the test of times.

The iron curtain now is removed

Have you gone overseas to compose tunes?

No I haven’t. I am actually waiting for the day for a producer to come by and take me abroad to score for his movie.

When do you plan to do live concerts across the world?

I would like to do stage shows when I am more established myself. I have been invited in many countries for a stage show like that. I have only done about 7 – 8 movies now and I would like to wait for more.

Effect of film music

They say music even melts rocks. Music is even proved to heal ailments. But I do not know how effective film music is in that sense. This is business and entertainment. So it has its limitations.

Your television assignments

My career originated from television. So I still make way for music based programs on television. That’s why I am doing the music based program on Kalaignar TV. The program on Vijay TV, Oru Vaarthai Oru Laksham takes only a day of my week and they felt it would be nice if I did it. So I am doing it.

I want to give music that people

would enjoy

What makes you accept new projects?

I have entered the film industry only now. I do not want to accept movies left, right and center. I am not accepting movies that do not impress me or convince me. I want to give music that people would enjoy. And people who give me freedom are my choice to work with. That way I can experiment with my work.

Do you think education is essential for success in films?

No, I do not think education is necessary at all. We have people who have absolutely no education ruling the world. Same way it’s not necessary for success in films.

Appreciation from film fraternity

Other than Ilayaraja everybody in the film fraternity has appreciated my works.

Current projects that you are working

Marudavel is releasing soon. Director Aslam, who worked with Cheran and Ameer, his first film is getting released soon. And the other projects are slated only for 2012.

Tags : James Vasanthan, Easan, Subramaniapuram, Ilayaraja
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