As music composer G. V. Prakash Kumar crosses a major milestone in his life and career, he slips into rewind mode.

Twenty-five films in a career spanning just about six years is a feat indeed! And G.V. Prakash Kumar has achieved it with élan. “It hasn’t been an easy journey so far, yet it’s been worth it,” the composer strikes a serious note. With Thaandavam, whose audio release will be on Independence Day, Prakash’s oeuvre touches the quarter century mark. Life and career may have been a roller-coaster ride for him, but the youngster has braved challenges and turned up trumps at every juncture to reach the milestone. If the music of Veyyil, his debut album, drew the connoisseur and the commoner alike, films such as Aadukalam catapulted him to even greater heights.

Friends first

Prakash and director Vijay come together for the fourth time for Thaandavam, after Kireedom, Madarasapattinam and Deiva Thirumagal. “There’s going to be a fifth too — Vijay is going to direct actor Vijay for the first time and I’ll be making the music for it,” Prakash chips in chirpily. “Director Vijay and I are good friends, comfortable in each other’s company. I share similar vibes with directors Vetrimaran and Selvaraghavan also.”

After Deiva Thirumagal, which showcased the story of a soft, sensitive human being, the successful trio of Vikram, Vijay and Prakash Kumar will be returning with an action-packed Thaandavam. So will the scintillating melodies of the Madarasapattinam and DT kind take a backseat in Thaandavam? “Not at all, though it’s an action film, all the five songs in Thaandavam will be soft and romantic,” says Prakash. “I’ve used the piano for the theme music and including two tiny pieces we have eight tracks.”

The trailer of Thaandavam is just out and the music doesn’t exactly convey that it’s going to be action all the way. “Yeah, for the teaser I’ve gone with the old school. But the film per se will reverberate with stylish action music,” is the enthusiastic reply. “The responsibility is immense and I’m working hard.”

Singer Alisa, the daughter of Loy (of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio), croons in Tamil for the first time, in Thaandavam. Will we get to listen to Vikram, the singer, like we did in DT? “In DT ‘Ore Oru Oorukkulae,’ for example was a song that involved fine emotions. Only Vikram could do it. But Thaandavam is different. All the same, Vikram loves the album, and told me that the songs are some of the best he’s performed for,” Prakash is pleased.

Strangely, after he got into music the jingles way, Prakash went to Baradwaj with his show reel, and went on to work for his films, such as Autograph. “Mr. Rahman (that’s how he refers to his uncle) was looking out for a programmer when my grandma (A.R. Rahman’s mother) told him about me. That was how I joined him later,” he says and adds, “I’ve matured a lot in these six years. I can handle situations more calmly than I did in the past.” Prakash was in his teens when Veyyil happened. He’s 25 now.

Does being the nephew of A.R. Rahman add to the pressure? “Sure it does, because people assume that career has been a cakewalk for me, while the truth is very different. Yet the positive side is I grew up in a milieu filled with music.”

Wedding bells

Wedding bells will ring for Prakash and Saindhavi in the New Year. “We’ve been together since our school days. I had quit school and got into music, and life was a question mark. We were nobodys then. So expectation from each other is nil. She’s has been with me all along. We’ve known each other for 11 years now.”

What are his working hours like?

“I work through the night till dawn.”

But what happens next year?

“Probably I’ll have to talk to Saindhavi,” he guffaws.

The last time I met Prakash along with director Vijay before the release of DT, Prakash was silent, allowing Vijay to do most of the talking. Hence this joie de vivre is a surprise. “I take time to open up to people,” he laughs.

Equations matter

The melody, ‘Oru Paadhi Kadhavu Neeyadi,’ was composed on a flight. “Vijay and I were flying to Kerala, when very casually we began discussing the song. Muthukumar had penned the lyric for Madarasapattinam, but it hadn’t been used. So we decided to revive the same for Thaandavam. And as we got talking about the sequence the music evolved. In fact, I structured the entire song on the flight. And the best thing about Vijay is he understands my line of thought as far as music goes,” smiles Prakash. So unlike the usual practice of the lyricist supplying the verses to the tunes the composer gives him, three of the songs in Thaandavam have been set to music after the lines were written.

Destination Mumbai

Many of Prakash’s films have made it to the award podia at various levels. “I’m happy about it. But expectation from fans has increased manifold and living up to it every time is a challenge,” is the response. Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, which has been drawing attention on the festival circuit, marks Prakash’s debut in Hindi cinema. He has composed the background score for the film. … Wasseypur 2 has just been released.

The peppy ‘D...d...d...Dance Karle…’ from Joker seems to be Prakash’s favourite at the moment – it is his ringtone. He’s the composer of the Akshay Kumar - Sonakshi Sinha film.