G.V.Prakash is proving to be an expert at juggling hats and multitasking. With back to back successes as a hero and with a consistent track record as a composer, GV has all the reasons to be on cloud nine. We catch up with the super-confident young man at his office for an intense chat.
Did you envision this level of success as a hero?
I had a fear whether people would accept me as a hero. But that fear disappeared after Darling. We felt that if people had that connect with the climax fight, then the film will work. And it did! I generally don't see any of my films in theaters and wait to hear of the crowd’s response from my crew. Director Sam and one of the assistant directors called me to inform that the response was really good and from there, it just took off. Darling held fine for about 4 weeks. We started with about 100 screens and it went up to 175, 200.
With Trisha Illana Nayanthara (TIN), it started with about 300 screens and we also had the advantage of a festival release. The film had that ‘screen to seat’ connect and audiences were able to relate to my character and whatever happened in the film.
Are you affected by all the controversy and sensationalism since TIN’s release
There are lot of gossips surrounding it. It is a sensational film and is easily one of the most debated films in recent times. There are so many MEMEs and dubsmash videos surrounding it. Only when a film is debated, it is being considered. Else, it means people just aren't bothered. TIN was always bound to create some controversy as it is a romantic cult film. Something like a Thulluvadho Ilamai which was way ahead of its time and shocked the audience.
We were honest in targeting the film only at the youth audience and it was clearly meant for them. Each film will have its share of minuses and pluses. We have collected about 4 times our investment even before the Telugu release. At a time when the satellite rights scenario for Tamil films looks really bleak, we are in a position where we are very much in the profit zone without the sale of these rights. If we can counter this bleak scenario with strong content, people will automatically see the film, money will be generated and other rights will be sold.
You seem to be a person really driven by the business aspects of a film …
I am a producer myself and I keep doing research about films, what works and what doesn’t. We need salable faces and good presentation to lure in the audiences. Classy films don't work if they don't have the proper face value. Ultimately it is a combination of content, presentation and face value which does the trick. Then we needn't depend on non-theatrical rights.
Do you see yourself growing as a performer on screen?
I have become much more confident and have lost inhibitions. I took up acting classes with Naren which helped me lose my inhibitions. Regarding my physique, I always like to keep myself fit, without bulking up. Once you become huge, people lose that connect with you. I believe in maintaining that next door guy look for my audiences to maintain that connect with me.
What kind of films do you see, to groom your cinema sensibilities?
I don't stick to one genre of films. I'll see a Baahubali, a Bombay Velvet and also the odd entertaining Telugu film. In the same way, I also like to explore genres in the kind of films I do. The upcoming Ketta Payada Indha Karthi, a love story traveling from one summer to another, would be a family friendly film while Bruce Lee would have its cute elements to hold kids in its grip like what Rajini sir's Thillu Mullu did.
The actors that you look up to?
Kamal sir. He has that strength to hold his audience. Whenever Valaiyosai from Satya plays on television, I just freeze and experience his magic.
More to come from your production house?
Announcements would arrive soon. More productions are definitely on the way.
So, is composing still your first love? With all the focus on acting now ..
I am someone who is driven by energy and excitement. I wish to keep doing new things and would do all that, with maximum passion and interest. I can't be a regular 9 to 5 person doing the same jobs everyday.
Coming to composing, I am very particular about the sound output in my music. This year, Kaaka Muttai was a special album and all of you know about it. In the same way, the mixing for Darling was done in London. Music is something that I am gifted with and it can't be taken away from me. I have to thank my genes.
I don't know how I became a singer. My uncle just dragged me from the lawn and made me sing when I was all of 3.5 years. I sang with the proper shruti and pitch, which is a real gift that not all can get. I have all this inherent musical gift and a voice which doesn't sound like anyone. I am just making use of them.
The heavenly melodies that we heard from you in Veyyil, Kreedom and Madrasapattinam aren’t to be found these days?
In FM, there is a demand for quirky kind of music. It is easier to break into the FM space and the Aircheck list with peppy numbers. Sad numbers aren't generally played in FMs. But I have always had that space for melody and it is my forte.
Karuppu Karuppu from Kaaka Muttai was a song that I didn't promote but it still grabbed the top spot in FMs. Kaaka Muttai and the work that I did with Anurag Kashyap were all done without any restrictions and compulsions. The upcoming Thattathin Marayathu remake would be an album packed with classy romance songs with good variation in the genres. The niche space of pure melody lovers would totally enjoy this album.
Your contemporaries in the acting and composing space ?
There is space for everyone in the market, and each will have food on his plate. That variety is needed, be it actors or composers. The industry needs all of them. Each of them will rule at a point of time. It is like a cultural fest where how different teams come and perform.
The way I am trying to differentiate myself is to be in the top grade when it comes to acting, singing, dancing, composing and an artiste as a whole. To be counted among the best Indian artistes is what I aspire to become.
How is the camaraderie with your fellow composers?
When Yuvan called me for his 100th album Biriyani, I just went and sang for him. In the same way, when I called him for Mutham Kudutha Maayakari, he just came over to my studio, the very next day. I am very particular and careful while calling other composers and actors to sing. Those songs should be spoken about automatically by the public. I shouldn't keep bragging from my side, that they are hits. It should be instantaneous.
Now coming to GV 50 - the much-hyped Vijay 59
The work on the album is complete and it would be a wholesome, complete album with something in it for Vijay fans, my fans and Atlee's romance fans too. There would be this super-classy romance song, a sema local dance treat of an opening song for Vijay sir and some other interesting tracks. And will there be a Vijay sir album without a theme track? Deva sir, Uthara and the likes have sung for the album and am sure it would be a promising affair.
Your take on social media fan wars that are venturing into dirty territory of late ?
Before, they used to fight it out in theaters, while now they are doing it in the digital platform. The medium has
its share of pluses and minuses, and it all depends on how you handle it. We can change minus to plus. Digital is a great medium to promote films now, undeniably.
You have had your share of personal experiences too with such social media hate
You are always free to comment about my work but when it becomes personal comments, I get angry and react. But of late, after Darling, I have become very careful and am just blocking folks who irritate beyond a point. If we lose control and react, people take snapshots and spread it or photoshop something which we may not have even said, and get us into a needless soup. So it’s better to block and move on.
What was it with the buzz about Samantha and Nayanthara pairing up with you in Bruce Lee?
It’s not in my hands. The producers are the ones who have to pay and get people on board. Not just for my film, for any hero, there will be many news about heroines and technicians coming on board and most of these will be just speculations. It is all part of the publicity for the film. Ultimately, I am confident of myself and don’t depend on other names. If it happens and big heroines are signed, well and good. Else, the show will still roll.
The scope for taking TIN forward as a sequel, given the open ending of the film?
Before that, Darling 2 has to be done. I am doing another film with Sam but that won’t be Darling 2. The title of this film will be announced on Pongal day and will be a trending phenomenon for sure. I am not in any hurry and am particular about working in my space and my comfort zones. I don’t want to get into that combination game and go after big names.
Given all your associations with big names already, any other wishes as part of your list?
I wish to do music for a eerie horror thriller and also for a period musical like Devdas. Then also for something like a Rajamouli kind of film. I am fascinated by grandeur, war and stuff like that because that hasn’t been explored much in the Indian scenario. There are a lot of such ideas in me, but I can’t reveal them unless things commence. Me and Vetrimaaran were supposed to work on a period project but it didn’t happen.
Finally, how do you react to all the gossip surrounding your personal and professional lives?
A lot of things are said and written. We have to live with it. Such things happen and would only increase with time. I don’t want to hurt people by speaking needlessly and at the same time, I don’t wish to hide what I really want to convey and be fake. I am much more mature now compared to my initial days as a composer, and have a protective zone and shield where I don’t let media talks affect me.