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Jiiva’s guitar in ‘Gypsy’ is special: Santhosh Narayanan

Santhosh Narayanan. Location Courtesy: The Park, Chennai.

Santhosh Narayanan. Location Courtesy: The Park, Chennai.   | Photo Credit: R Ravindran

Santhosh Narayanan on his latest tracks in Gypsy



Santhosh Narayanan seems untouched by fame.

On Twitter, the 35-year-old music composer posts videos of himself playing gully cricket. In person, he’s friendly, funny and exceedingly polite. We’re in a private room on the seventh floor of The Park in Nungambakkam.

In the room, it’s just me, Narayanan, his wife Meenakshi and his stylist (the wife’s idea, not his) who is busy getting his hair ready.

The curtains are pulled back to let the warm Chennai sunlight fill the space. After the stylist is done, the photo shoot begins. You wouldn’t believe he’d just completed 25 films from the way he awkwardly poses for the camera!

Jiiva’s guitar in ‘Gypsy’ is special: Santhosh Narayanan

In 2018 alone, he scored for Pa. Ranjith’s Kaala, Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury, Mari Selvaraj’s Pariyerum Perumal and Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai – all of them great movies.

This year too promises to be similarly triumphant. While he can’t divulge too many details, he will admit to several “important and major projects” in the works. What we do know is that his next movie will be Gypsy directed by Raju Murugan whose last movie, Joker, was a consummate satire.

To promote Gypsy, Narayanan released a video of a new song cheekily titled ‘Very Very Bad’ and dedicated it to all the “anti-Indians.”

Jiiva’s guitar in ‘Gypsy’ is special: Santhosh Narayanan

In the video, Narayanan is being led by police officers to his cell. He trudges past other prisoners, all activists from Tamil Nadu like trans-rights activist Grace Banu, Thirumurugan Gandhi and the 93-year-old CPI leader R Nallakannu among others.

They ask him if he’s here because he protested Sterlite or the hydrocarbon project at Neduvasal or fought for transgender rights or the Eelam issue. Narayanan simply shakes his head and once he’s locked up, finally says that he’s been jailed for writing a song.

When I ask him about the song, he smiles and says, “The reason that I featured in the video is because Raju Murugan could bring in different activists who probably don’t agree with each other. I don’t agree with some of them.

Raju Murugan doesn’t agree with some of them. But the simple fact that all of them have done something for society at some point and that this director could bring in all of them for an art form, is a huge success for me.”

He’s quick to say that he’s very proud of what the song has to say. “It’s so easy to create a controversy”, he says, but that wasn’t his intention.

As a story of a travelling musician, Gypsy is a particularly appealing film for a music director. “It’s a very fun project as a composer to work on a movie that has music in its core.” They also custom-made a guitar from Kashmir for Jiiva to use in the film.

He’s also excited and proud of his daughter, Dhee, whose song ‘Rowdy Baby’ composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja for Maari 2 has become a massive hit (It breached 200 million views last week and went past Dhanush’ ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’ as the most viewed Tamil single on YouTube).

This track is also her first time recording for someone other than Narayanan.

“Incidentally, Yuvan is the composer who launched my career. He launched Attakathi. At that point, we were trying to get a celebrity to launch the movie. It was a small movie, I understand, but he accepted immediately”, he says. “I called him and told him that you launched even my daughter’s career so I’m forever in debt.”

This year might also see Narayanan launch an international tour.

“I’ve been a live musician since I started my musical career. I was an independent musician for ten years before I became a musician for movies. I think Kaala’s audio launch was my first performance in 7-8 years and I loved it very much.”

Jiiva’s guitar in ‘Gypsy’ is special: Santhosh Narayanan

He jokingly says his “overqualified” band have been pushing him to go on tour but his movie commitments always seem to get in the way. When I ask him if he’s planning to sing, he bursts into laughter and says “For a live event, yes; people will walk away after that!”

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Printable version | May 20, 2020 9:08:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/santhosh-narayanan-on-his-latest-tracks-in-gypsy/article26291284.ece

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