The soaring success of Why this Kolaveri? has brought to the fore the young debutant music director Anirudh Ravichander.
If he's ever asked if there's a song that changed his life, 21-year-old Anirudh Ravichander, would give the answer without even a second thought: Why this kolaveri?
For those who go by numbers, the fact that the song has attracted over 8,179,125 views, 90,322 “likes”, shared by more than a crore users on Facebook, that it was trending on twitter for days after its official launch and it's the first Tamil song to be played on MTV, will vouch for the “life changing” bit.
“I never expected the song to become such a phenomenon. My phone's ringing non-stop. It's yet to sink in,” says Anirudh, sounding every bit like the typical youngster. Though his seriousness about his choice of career and music tend to make you forget that fact, his casual tone and chuckles bring back the image of a young talented music director trying to make it in the big ‘ol world of films.
NXg catches up with the boy behind the song that's made being dumped by your girlfriend a croon-able experience.
How did your tryst with music begin?
I started learning western classical piano when I was four. It was my parents who identified my musical leanings and put me up for classes. In school, along with my friends, I formed a band called Zynx which is a Carnatic-Western fusion complete with mridangam et al.
Later in college — Loyola College where I graduated in B.Com — I joined a band called Circuit where we played purely rock music. Since, I had always wanted to be a commercial music director, these varied musical experiences helped me gain more exposure and confidence.
How did you land your first movie project “3”?
The movie's director Aishwarya Dhanush started shooting short films, two years back, as a part of her home work for the film she was going to direct. Since she knew I was into music, she asked me to work with her on her short films and score music for them.
In a span of two years, we worked together in 12 short films, during which we developed a good rapport.
As she moved to her full-fledged movie project, she asked me to tag along as well, as we had already worked together and were comfortable with each other. That's how my debut into films happened.
After being a part of bands, how was it moving into the bigger arena of films?
In a movie it is all about understanding the script and being able to connect emotionally with the story. With the homework already in place with the short films, the move wasn't actually a challenge. Also, the bands gave me an opportunity to work with different styles of music. But the feeling of playing a live gig is different. Playing in a band is something that would like to continue.
Tell us about the music you have scored in “3”.
There are 10 tracks in the album: six songs, one remix and three theme music. I basically wanted to go all out and make every song unique. With a lot of criticism these days about the keyboard replacing actual instruments, I have gone back to the olden days and made every musician play live and recorded in live sound. I have used a 40-piece orchestra. The music credit itself could run to two pages.
How has life changed after the success of Kolaveri…?
The song was actually targeted at the youth but it has gone beyond that and reached everyone. It was totally unexpected. Now I am getting noticed a lot more.
Like the other day, when I was having dinner at a restaurant and somebody actually tweeted about it saying “Anirudh's here!”. This kind of recognition is nice in a way but I would still like to continue being the regular youngster that I am.
Is being a youngster in the film industry, an advantage or a disadvantage?
It is both as on one side I have the luxury of time and on the other I lack the knowledge on how to handle the different and various aspects of the film industry. But my debt has been smooth I had the best team to work with in “3”. There has been no pressure at all. It was fun all the way.
After the release of Kolaveri… I have got 15 offers so far. But I want to take it slow. This movie is my baby and I want to see how it is received. I will decide after that. But for now, I am enjoying the high.
Song for all seasons: Pudhu vellai mazhai from “Roja” and Kun faya kun and Tum Ho from “Rockstar”.
Musical inspiration: Having grown up in the 1990s, obviously A.R. Rahman.
Best feedback: The tweet by Amitabh Bachchan (Just heard #Kolaveri after much talk on it ... its so original and catchy ..)
Worst feedback: For a song with so much “likes” there's always bound to be another side. I did get about five mails with negative criticism. I am not going to share what it said (laughs).
A genre you are comfortable with: Love songs ‘cos am a pianist.