Composer Devi Sri Prasad talks about his successful musical forays into Tamil and Telugu film industries. Udhav Naig listens in

Despite the pressure of deadlines Devi Sri Prasad (popularly known as DSP) is always in high spirits. “It’s thanks to music,” he says. The young composer who recently bagged an award for Gabbar Singh, equates awards to audience appreciation. “I consider it an approval of my music. Recognition helps you to bring out your creativity.”

One of the few composers who has worked with most of the superstars of the Tamil and Telugu film industries, he hasn’t exactly been on a signing spree. He has already had one big release — Ram Charan Teja’s Yevadu – and is looking forward to the release of Pawan Kalyan’s Attarintiki Daredi. In Tamil, he has had a successful outing with Singam II and has already composed tunes for Ajith’s untitled film with ‘Siruthai’ Siva and is currently working on Sasikumar’s Brahman. His guidelines are pretty simple, “If I feel that the director doesn’t trust my abilities, I don’t work with him. I have refused a number of big movies. I can’t work with those who try to keep tabs on me,” he says.

How does he divide his time between Telugu and Tamil films? “It is not difficult because I treat each film as a project and firmly believe that music has no boundaries.”

How does he handle the criticism that he has not shown enough variety in his music? “ Good love stories such as the Telugu film Bommarilu, give you the space to try out something new. Today the themes have become similar. That doesn’t mean I don’t experiment with tunes. Like the Jazz-inflected song, ‘Who’s the Hero’ in Manmadhan Ambu. I have tried to do the same with Ajith’s introduction song in Siva’s film,” he explains.

He cites one such incident during the making of Gabbar Singh where he convinced the director that a slow introduction song for Pawan Kalyan would work, “The director wanted a fast-paced number song that would enable Pawan to show off his dance moves. Thankfully, the director agreed after listening to the song.”

The young composer is also a showman. The stage is where he brings out the star in him. How did that part of his personality develop? “I used to choreograph for cultural programmes when I was in school. Prabhu Deva even told me that I have a style of my own,” he says. This aspect of his personality surfaces even while he is composing in his studio that has two huge posters of Ilaiyaraaja who DSP idolises. “I make sure there is a lot of space around my keyboard so that I can do my moves,” he laughs. A big fan of Michael Jackson, DSP reveals that he imagines performing before a big audience while making music.

The last few years have been quite eventful for him. The high point of his career, he says, has been the time he spent working with Kamal Haasan on two projects — Dasavatharam (background score) and Manmadhan Ambu, which he considers his best work so far.

When is his much expected acting debut scheduled to happen? “Thanks to my stage performances, I have acquired an image of a highly energetic performer. And, I want to play a character that doesn’t negate this image. I would like to do films such as Step Up and Street Dance. I have listened to a few scripts and may do them provided I am free,” he says.

Take five

Favourite contemporary composer?

- Yuvan Shankar Raja.

Favourite film album

- Kumki

Favourite background score

- Pizza

A recent composition of his which he likes

- ‘Puriyavillai’ from Singam II

What to watch out for

Ajith’s introduction song in ‘Siruthai’ Siva. The composer says “Ajith called me up and said that the entire unit felt energised after listening to the song.”

- DSP has not just managed to impress Pawan Kalyan with his music, but also with the way he loves to live life. “When he asked me how I stay happy all the time, I told him that I am happy because I love everything I do. And Pawan Kalyan was impressed with my outlook to life,” said DSP.

- “I don’t think I can single out a genre of music that I love. But, many of songs have some Arabic influences. My songs are also a fusion of hip-hop and pop.”

- When I danced with Chiranjeevi in front of the camera, I was so nervous that I couldn’t pull off the steps. Ironically I received the biggest compliment for my dancing from Chiranjeevi.”

Keywords: Devi Sri PrasadDSP