It's a creative partnership that's spanned three films. As director Vijay and composer G. V. Prakash Kumar discuss the making of Deiva Thirumagal, malathi rangarajan listens in
Both entered the industry at the same time, almost. Both are workaholics with incredible energy levels. And both get into heated arguments while working together. From Kreedam through Madrasapattinam to Deiva Thirumagal, their sojourn has been strong. “It will continue so. More than colleagues, we are great friends,” they say.
My interaction with director Vijay and composer G.V. Prakash Kumar isn't a formal Q and A exchange. Except for a stray poser, I hardly interrupt. As the young achievers dwell on their work together for DT in particular amidst banter, I prefer to sit back and listen.
Kreedam with Ajith was Vijay's first film and Prakash's second. The composer signed Kreedam the day after the audio of Veyyil was out. “I heard the number ‘Veyyilodu' and decided GV should be on board Kreedam. Madrasa… strengthened our bond and DT has cemented it,” laughs Vijay.
Then why was M. G. Sreekumar the composer of Vijay's Poi Solla Porom?
“I'll take it,” Prakash butts in. “Even if I didn't do the film I was part of the team as Vijay's friend. I was with him during the discussions, the audio launch and the release.”
“I have very few friends. GV is one. And after DT Anushka has joined our group,” says Vijay.
Even during his Kreedam days, Vijay had outlined the story of Deiva Thirumagal to Prakash. “His instant reaction was, ‘I'll score the music,'” smiles Vijay.
“Next Vijay said, ‘but first I'll be doing Madrasapattinam,' and again my response was ‘I'll do it too.' Didn't allow him to think beyond me,” chortles Prakash.
“Come on, you know I didn't wish to. You must listen to his background score for DT. The three or four pieces of theme music will haunt you. Music is a character in the film,” Vijay's voice swells with pride.
The DT unit was shooting in Ooty when Vijay received the score from GV. It was two in the morning. He was so excited that he couldn't wait for others to listen to it. “Audiographer Raj Krishnan has also done a superb job. I'm coming here straight after the final mixing and the re-recording is ringing in my ears,” he smiles.
“I watched Vikram on screen and based my score on his performance. In the scenes he has underplayed, I've made the music louder to provide a balance and in places where his emotions are high, I've kept the sound subtle,” explains Prakash.
Melody, his forte
Melody is Prakash's forte. The ‘Pookal Pookum' piece in Madrasa…, for instance. Roopkumar Rathod's Hindustani touches, Prakash's humming, the ‘Thaam Thanom' refrain … its staying power is unbelievable. And the ‘Maegamae …' song had both M. S. Viswanathan and Vikram crooning! “We spend time to think of varied voices that could be used for songs.” So does that include the choice of Saindhavi? “Frankly, I never recommend any singer. It's a decision we make together,” Prakash blushes and Vijay comes to his friend's aid. “I've known Saindhavi even before I knew GV. I suggested she sing the melody.”
Going back to ‘Maegamae,' “Vijay conceived it like a Broadway musical and Vikram sang it in six different voices! His diligence fascinates me,” says Prakash. “I'm very particular that viewers don't treat song sequences in my films as undeclared intermission time. I see to it that they sit glued,” asserts Vijay. True, because most of the time the songs are shot as montages and have interludes of dialogue that take the story forward. “GV and I quarrel over them frequently. He gets upset that the beauty of his music is affected by such interpolations.”
“Matters come to such a pass that we even stop talking to each other for a while. Only if I sulk does he restrict the insertions to three or four, otherwise he'll use the entire song for his exchanges,” says Prakash.
With an indulgent smile, Vijay says, “I know our tiffs are temporary and eventually it's for the betterment of our product,” and asks, “Hey! Remember my words during our Kreedam days, GV?”
“Yeah, Vijay said he would make DT only if Vikram agreed to do it,” Prakash recalls.
“I told Vikram, ‘I'll wait for another 10 years till I get your dates.' Only he can do justice to the character of a man who is mentally a seven-year-old. And after watching him act I'm convinced about my stand. After a well-enacted shot, the entire unit of DT would put its hands together for the hero. The applause came so often that Vikram commented, ‘Do you people really mean it, or are you pulling my leg?' But we couldn't resist, he's brilliant,” says Vijay.
The maker has done extensive homework for the character. Prod him further and all he says is, “It's a genuine film with some excellent music. Emotions rule. We haven't catered for a specific audience. Hopefully we have transcended the restrictions of A, B and C classes of viewers. Filmgoers will like our … Thirumagal.”
Prakash nods in assent.