First-time composer Satish Chakravarthy, from A.R. Rahman’s stable, is hopeful about Leelai
The crew of the yet-to-be-released Leelai brims with newcomers — actors Shiv Pandit (of Airtel commercials and IPL fame) and Mansi, director Andrew Louis and music director Satish Chakravarthy. While the anxious others are, perhaps, biting off finger nails waiting for the day their verdict will be out, Satish is an excited man, for his music has garnered heartening reviews. And, how the Chennai boy breezed into filmdom is a fairytale worth telling.
Laden with exposure to song writing and music production from Berklee College of Music, Boston, Satish had a life-changing opportunity to work under global phenomenon A.R. Rahman for projects such as Sillunu Oru Kadhal.
Which, as expected, was an excellent learning process — watching up-close Rahman’s approach to music and cutting-edge technology. “He’s a terrific boss, and more importantly, a great human being. He’s always encouraging you and letting you work independently.” In fact, Rahman had insisted that Satish take up projects on his own. “He put that idea into my head; he did not want me to remain an assistant.” Soon enough, Satish bumped into schoolmate Andrew Louis, and well, the rest brings us here.
Satish recalls how the first song came about. “The track Jilendru Oru Kalavaram was only an experiment, but with everything in place — I wrote and sang it. To my delight, Aascar sir was so impressed with the piece that he asked me to retain it.” Talk of an experiment going awfully right!
Satish has sung and penned the lyrics for more than one track. Is juggling lyrics, singing and composing an advantage or does it escalate pressure? “There are two aspects to it. When you have a lyricist of Vaali’s calibre, everything falls in place; you just sit back and enjoy. But, as a composer you have an instinct as to what goes perfectly with the mood. So, you are at an advantage when you also pen and sing,” says Satish, who’s grateful that biggie Sony Music (the music label for the film) did not treat him like a newcomer.
There have been two huge influences on his music. “Ilaiyaraaja’s soul-touching music is why I am a musician today; I bought my first keyboard after Roja was released.” And, of course, Sting, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, he grew up listening to. In addition to music, science is a major fascination for this Materials Science engineer from REC (now National Institute of Technology), Tiruchi.
How does it feel to be a ‘music director’? “The first review was an eye-opener — that there’s reward, but there’s also a huge responsibility to produce good music; to not disappoint listeners. Today I comprehend the rationale behind the effort, the diligence and those long working hours put in by the likes of Rahman,” signs off the composer.