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Interview Team : Kaushik L M

Watching Anirudh in action can be an experience in itself. The young man enjoys his work so much and is completely immersed in his recording sessions. He is so full of ideas, inputs and comes across as a very capable and qualified technician / musician. We catch up with the ‘man of the moment’ on the eve of Maan Karate’s release even as he is busy giving finishing touches to the movie’s BGM score. With 5 huge musical hits in succession, there is much to talk to Anirudh.

A 2-part interview follows.

After such an enviable run of 5 back to back chartbusters and such love and support from fans, how does it feel? 

It is surely a top of the world feeling. This was all unexpected as all I wanted was to become a music director before I turned 30. Even a C grade film would have sufficed (laughs). But it all happened so soon. These back to back successes are pressurizing but also really encouraging. This fear of keeping my success streak intact pushes me and acts as a positive force.


What do you have to say about your immense fan following? That too girls seem to swear by you and also have your images as their profile pictures in the social media platforms. Is it scary? 

Sometimes it is scary and I am not able to comprehend it, but ultimately it is all due to music. They are not fans but just music lovers. You needn’t imagine banners, cutouts and all (laughs).

It is a very nice feeling as only rarely, someone is accepted like this so soon. I have to live up to this love.


Why do you think your music is such a rage among the audience? Any success mantra?

I feel it is all about the right age. Nowadays youngsters like us, determine the outcome of cinema. With my group of friends in a similar age group, I am able to gauge the tastes of the audience. And Dhanush has to be credited for instilling confidence in me and giving me the '3' offer. Even I wasn’t sure about my abilities and wanted to learn more about music before beginning. I am very happy that his gamble has paid off now. The fact that my films have been ‘entire album’ hits have only resulted in efforts increasing from my end.

Dhanush has to be credited for instilling confidence in me

It must be challenging while working with Dhanush as he is also a good lyricist and someone with good music sense. How do you manage his inputs and contributions? 

First of all, music is something to be enjoyed. We shouldn’t see it as some big challenge or difficulty. Music’s soul is instinctive and is based on mood. The rest of the song’s structure will be added-on with time and with more ideas flowing in. That’s why I am choosy and take time to sign on for new films.

And yes, cinema is about people management and getting along with people. In all my albums, I thank all the people involved - Dhanush, Siva and the whole music team. All are friends and I thank them all.


Did you happen to see the Rajini special VIP video which was quite the craze among fans a few days after VIP’s album was released? And did Rajini Sir also see it? 

Right from Kolaveri, people have created their own video versions for my songs and they share them so enthusiastically. It has continued till VIP, Maan Karate. I am very gratified about this as they put in such effort. I see all such videos on the social networks and share the really good ones.

Rajini Sir also saw that VIP fan-made video and really enjoyed it. He said “Bayangarama Iruke Pa”

Rajini Sir also saw that VIP fan-made video


We are getting to listen to Anirudh – the singer, quite often in all your albums. What is the deciding factor when it comes to singing your own compositions? 

50% of the time, it’s a selfish motive (laughs). After being impressed with my tune, I feel that the song will suit my voice. Recently for Maan Karate, this was the case for Maanja and Un Vizhigalil. Some other times, when I just sing the track and send it to the team for shooting, they seem to like it very much. 'Osakka' was one such song which I wasn’t supposed to sing at all, in the first place.So it’s a combination of both.

Now I have to become choosier and more selective, as a lot more people are asking me to sing my compositions.

Osakka was one such song which I wasn’t supposed to sing at all


How are you able to continuously give such much-loved ‘gaana’ / soup songs? How strong is your ‘gaana’ influence? 

I have no ‘gaana’ influences and ‘Open the Tasmac’ is my first true ‘gaana’. But there have been soup songs before. Soup songs are the in-thing now and are in demand, and are worth a shot. Audiences are dancing for such songs in theaters. But, am still trying to be different in this space.


How did the idea to bring in Deva come about? It has turned out to be a masterstroke. 

‘Open the Tasmac’ was supposed to be a single track by me, in collaboration with Honey Singh. But Maan Karate’s director Thirukumaran felt that this tune and concept suited the ‘gaana’ situation in the movie. Then we thought of bringing Deva Sir in, as he was the first to popularize ‘gaana’ in movies. But I tortured him a lot, demanded a lot of takes and despite being an experienced veteran composer, he sang so cooperatively and was proud of working on the number. Thanks a lot to him.

With lyrics by 'Gaana' Bala, vocals by Deva and my tune, we felt it would be a nice attempt and am glad that it has worked.


But sometimes do you feel such ‘soup songs’ best your melodies in terms of popularity and demand? 

Melodies will stand the test of time. For example ‘Po Nee Po’ is getting more airplay in radio nowadays, and not 'Kolaveri'. That’s the staying power of melodies. For a particular time frame fast songs will rule, but soft melody songs will stay for long. A mix of both types of numbers should be there in any album.


How do you react to controversies what with the social media opening it up and uncovering everything for the common man? 

I have seen a lot in my life in a very short period of time (laughs). Many big controversies at such a young age and so much good work too. Social media can work in both ways and I have experienced the positives and negatives too. There have been lots of things to learn in life from these controversies.


What’s the secret behind your lovely BGM scores? How do you infuse such feeling into them? 

I love doing BGMs. It is something which can elevate the entire movie after it has been shot, compared to songs which are shot based on the tune that we compose. It is a very interesting and time consuming process. It takes a month if I have to give my 100%. For '3', it took 20 to 25 days. We also released Ethir Neechal’s BGMs on YouTube as there was a big demand for it.

Each film should take me to the next level. There is no point in being stagnant. So lot of effort is going in and I have to keep trying something different. There is something special in Maan Karate too. I will keep attempting new things and don’t wish to worry about the end result. Till now, it has all worked out well.

BGM is something which can elevate the entire movie after it has been shot


A few quickies with Anirudh

- The unexpected hit among your songs – I would say Oh Penne. I loved the tune, and it is among my favorites. But I was uncertain about audience reception for it but am thrilled about the eventual response.

- The most underrated among your songs  – Po Nee Po’s remix from 3. It had a very niche target base, and catered to an upmarket audience. I actually thought in the beginning that it would become a rage, beyond Kolaveri and the other love songs.

- The song which is closest to your heart – Currently VIP’s Oodhungada Sangu and Maan Karate’s Un Vizhigalil.

- The favorite artists that you have collaborated with – Aadhi and Honey Singh gel with my sensibilities a lot, but I like all the artists that I have worked with.

- The best picturized among your songs – Maan Karate’s Maanja.

- Your song which could have been filmed a tad better – Kolaveri didn’t meet the audience’s expectation after becoming such a pre-release rage and driving in so much audience to theaters. It was shot in a simple manner while the audience was expecting something extra-ordinary thanks to the hype.

- Your song with the best lines – In my music, I would say lyrics are a big highlight. They will be easily relatable, easily sing-able and will also have good interesting words like Osakka. The favorite is VIP’s Amma Amma, as the lines are touching and also easily relatable.

More with Anirudh, next week in Part 2 of this special. Stay tuned



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