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Next time, I will make ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay say ‘When do we start shooting, nanba?’

Arunraja Kamaraj   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With a track record of penning ‘mass’ intro songs for Tamil film heroes that also extends to lending his unique vocals for said intro numbers, lyricist-singer-filmmaker Arunraja Kamaraj has made a name for himself in the Tamil film industry.

Although, he is perhaps now starting to realise that the industry may be overlooking his versatility, and is only keen on trapping him in the stereotype of a casual rapper who pens fiery lyrics for ‘mass heroes’.

Arunraja knows the struggle to prove the industry wrong is real. However, rather than wait for an opportunity to come his way, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

His latest independent track ‘Kannakkuzhi Azhage’ is a product of this desire to set the record straight. “I don’t know if an image like that exists but if you look at the offers I get, then, maybe, there are thoughts like that. My intention is to break all stereotypical notions. I believe I need to prove my versatility,” he says, over the phone.

‘Kannakkuzhi Azhage’, whose lyric video was recently uploaded on YouTube, is about a man who is experiencing a writer’s block, but when he lays his eyes on a woman whose smile dimples her face, the words start to flow.

Next time, I will make ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay say ‘When do we start shooting, nanba?’

Ask him if there was a real-life inspiration to the lines, and he smiles sheepishly. “Actually, it is a word that most people can relate to but, strangely, it is used less frequently in a song’s lyrics. Most prefer to use ‘uyire’ or ‘anbe’ instead,” he says.

The composer is known to pen the lyrics to his songs in very little time, notably claiming to have written the ‘Neruppu Da’ song in Kabali in 20 minutes.

Calling the shots
  • Composed by Ganesan Sekar, the song ‘Kannakkuzhi Azhage’ is sung by Vijay Yesudas. The trio, including Arunraja, share a cricketing interest besides their filmmaking connection. “We are friends and we are all part of the Madras All Stars Cricket Club,” says Arunraja. Composer Thaman, who released the song’s lyric video is also a part of the team. “Vijay [Yesudas] is actually the president of the team and (actor) Shanthnu [Bhagyaraj] is the captain. I go for a few matches now and then, but the team plays tournament games regularly,” adds Arunraja.

Ask him if he has experienced writer’s block and he says, “Of course. Some songs come with the flow. Like the song in Kabali or Theri, Bairavaa, the ‘Katravai Patravai’ or ‘Thanga Sela’ songs in Kaala. These didn’t take much time but there are a few songs where I have struggled to write. I have returned a few offers.”

Elaborating on his writing process, he adds, “My issue is that I need to fit words into a rhythmic meter, and these words should not be too far away from the film’s script. Like, will these words be something that a character or the hero sings?”

It is this thought process that went into composing the song ‘Kutti Story’ for Vijay’s upcoming film Master directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj.

“It is a freestyle song. The film’s feel is one of positivity and the song had to reflect how a master would advise his students. We thought of all his (Vijay’s) speeches and the morals from the stories he used to tell in these conversations with his fans. We adopted one such moral related to positive thinking and wrote lines to fit the tune composed by Anirudh [Ravichander],” he says.

Next time, I will make ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay say ‘When do we start shooting, nanba?’

But for Anirudh, ‘Kutti Story’ could have ended up having Tamil words in the lyric. “The hook phrases he (Anirudh) had used to compose the tune were in English and it influenced my lyric writing,” he adds.

Since making his début as a filmmaker with Kanaa (2018), Arunraja spent a quiet 2019 without signing up to direct movies, a strange thing to do for someone who entered the Tamil film industry to realise his dream of turning a director.

There were also speculations aplenty that he was set to direct actor Vijay in a film. Arunraja confirms that he indeed narrated an idea to Vijay but that now wasn’t the right time for the film to materialise.

“The right time will come. But it is an experience because there are many who don’t even get the opportunity to narrate a story to him. I want to make sure that the next time I meet him, I will make him throw his arm around my shoulder and say, ‘Enna nanba eppo shooting porom?’ (my friend, when do we start filming?),” he adds.

In the meantime, though, Arunraja is touted to helm the Tamil remake of Bollywood film Article 15 with Udhayanidhi Stalin in the lead. The filmmaker opts to play his cards close to the chest when quizzed on this development. “Any announcement has to come from the producer’s side,” he concludes.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 10:21:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/next-time-i-will-make-thalapathy-vijay-say-when-do-we-start-shooting-nanba/article31709734.ece

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