Gangai Amaran’s first love is writing lyrics but he composes music, directs films and even sings with an equal passion
From composing to film direction and playback to penning lyrics, Gangai Amaran has not only done it all. But even excelled in all. Though he candidly admits that he enjoys being a lyricist the most, it does not wane him off his interests in other areas.
“It’s better to try a hand in every field that fascinates. Choose one in which you are most comfortable,” he says.
Indeed, he has tried his hand in almost everything. Amaran has written lyrics for more than 2000 songs and has composed some mellifluous tunes for films, with ‘Vazhve Maayam’ being one of his best.
Low budget projects
“Most of the movies for which I composed music were low-budget projects. Also barring a few, all others did not feature top stars in the lead. Though my songs topped the charts, many films failed at the box-office. I consider it as one of the major reason for my career not taking off that well as a music director,” he says.
Ask Amaran about his directorial-venture ‘Karakattakaran’ and he instantly flashes a beaming smile. “Actually we didn’t plan anything for the movie and went on scene by scene. And Ilayaraja composed music, possibly the only time, without knowing the story. At that point of time, the film’s success meant a lot to me,” he recollects.
Emceeing is another skill in Amaran’s arsenal. He has been compering the music-game show ‘Paattuku Paatu,” for nearly four years. “During stage shows there is a need to keep the interest of the audience alive in between the performances. I used to crack jokes and at times interact with the audience. That’s how I developed interest in anchoring and now I am enjoying it,” he says.
Amaran is not for the latest concept of remixing and feels it is not a healthy trend. “It shows the inability of the music director to compose a tune for similar situation as in the earlier film. I would appreciate A.R. Rahman’s effort in ‘New,’ because he used only the lyrics of the song ‘Thottal Poo Malarum …’ but not the tune.”
Amaran’s albums on Pondicherry Mother, especially the song ‘Malar Pola Malargindra Manam ...,’ are a treat to the ears. “I am able to compose by the grace of Mother,” he says humbly. These days, he prefers to sit back and watch his sons emulate him. The duo, Venkat Prabhu and Premji are multi-talented as well. Venkat the director of ‘Chennai 600028’ is an able singer and actor, while his brother Premji is an up and coming music director apart from being a talented actor. “Venkat now wants to take up film direction seriously and Premji’s first interest has always been music,” says the happy father.
Role in ‘Chennai 600028’
Amaran has wielded the megaphone for 22 films. Did he help Venkat in his debut-venture? “Apart from penning two songs (Jalsa Pannungada… and Saroja Saaman Nikalo…) I had nothing to do with ’Chennai 600028.’ I never knew the story till I watched the preview. More than me, Venkat’s efforts were praised by stalwarts in the film industry,” says Amaran.
Personally he feels it is a “job well done, given the fact that Venkat has not worked under anyone. None of the actors in the film are big stars and that was a huge advantage. The story is simple, closer to reality and screenplay is something different. It is not easy to keep the tempo going, when the movie doesn’t exactly have a hero.”
Amaran says that every youngster, especially in the cities, would have gone through the experience. “Watching the film brought back memories of the days when my sons, S.P.B. Charan (producer of the film) and others used to play in the streets at R.A. Puram. Even then, just like in the film, Premji never catches the ball nor bats well,” he laughs.
Amaran adds that Venkat is flooded with offers after the success of ‘Chennai…’ but is very careful in choosing the next project. “Same is the case with Premji. It was Simbu who found an actor in Premji and gave him a small role in ‘Vallavan.’ Now he is acting in a couple of movies, but wants to concentrate more on music direction.”
Amaran is planning to produce a film, with Venkat wielding the baton. “And also our production house will give opportunities to young directors, who come up with some good village-based subjects,” he says.