Anirudh Ravichander of ‘Kolaveri’ fame gets talking about his future projects and why up-and-coming talent needs to be encouraged
When your first film as a composer takes you to galactic heights, everything that follows will be set against that benchmark. And, for Anirudh Ravichander, that benchmark was the song ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ in 3.
For the 22-year-old, such a high-profile launch was thanks to his cousin Aishwarya Dhanush’s (nee Rajnikanth) directorial debut, 3. It is well known that the ‘WTKD’ song went viral on YouTube with 50 million views to date.
Anirudh comes from an illustrious family — his father Ravichander Raghavendra is an actor, while his mother Lakshmi is a dancer. His maternal grandfather S. V. Ramanan is a multifaceted personality who has excelled in making documentaries, commercials and music. Anirudh’s great grandfather was director K. Subrahmanyam, a pioneering filmmaker of the 1930s.
Music happened in Anirudh’s life even in school. “I used to be part of Carnatic fusion bands. Later, in college, I played rock with several bands. I loved music and therefore, it was only natural that I studied classical piano and took the exams conducted by the Trinity College of Music, London, even as I learnt the fundamentals of Carnatic music. The latter was purely to understand the nuances of Indian music which was essential in the profession I was then determined to get into — film music composing,” says Anirudh. “What I played in school and college continues to influence my work. I owe a lot to those bands I have played in, be it rock or fusion.”
In the kitty
Thereafter, 3 happened and the ‘Kolaveri’ wave engulfed him. “Luckily, I did not get swayed by all that adulation. I could have capitalised on the popularity and signed many films,” states Anirudh. That’s when Bejoy Nambiar approached him to do the music for David, a bilingual in Tamil and Hindi. This, Anirudh felt, was the right thing to do as it would help him gain an entry into Bollywood. David in Tamil has Vikram and Jiiva in the lead, while the Hindi version has Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vinay Virmani and Lara Dutta. “Apart from David, I am doing Krithika Udhayanidhi Stalin’s debut directorial venture (yet-to-be-titled), Dhanush’s production Ethir Neechal and another film starring Simbu.”
How does he plan to differentiate his work for these films? “While 3 was an urban love story, Ethir Neechal is a commercial entertainer, localised and based in the city. It requires raw, catchy tunes to cater to a different kind of audience. Krithika’s will be a bit more sophisticated for which I have incorporated world music sounds. With Bejoy, I have the advantage of a director who explains each song situation and the importance of it in the script. And, he wants some out-of-the-box compositions. Challenging yes, but, I tell you, it has brought out the best in me. I am confident these will surpass the popularity of ‘Kolaveri,’ which, if you ask me, didn’t really deserve all that hungama.”
Will there be overlapping of styles and similarity in tunes? “I am aware of such follies. I have so far managed to treat each project afresh. Consequently, the tunes are also turning out to be unique,” declares Anirudh.
With a level-headed approach to life, Anirudh does not hesitate to play his compositions to his vast circle of young friends to know their views before finalising a song. “It is the best way to get feedback and I know they will not tell a lie just to please me.”
Having come from a live music scenario in college, Anirudh believes that songs attain a fullness and natural appeal with live musicians playing the various parts. “So far in most of my compositions, 99 per cent of the sounds have come from live musicians. There is very little of electronic programming, except in the dance songs which warrant such sounds. For instance, I am incorporating dubstep sounds in one of my forthcoming compositions.”
“In the same way, I am all for promoting new talent. While in college I have come across scores of talented youngsters waiting for a break in playback singing. In 3, I introduced a few new voices and will continue to do so in my forthcoming films. That doesn’t mean I am against established singers; I have used them in some of my songs too. But, up-and-coming talent needs the right break to get to the top,” says Anirudh, citing his own success as a new entrant in the competitive field of film music direction.