Interview Music

Prashanth R Vihari: Melting pot of genres

Prashanth R Vihari

Prashanth R Vihari

It’s a compact studio at a DD Colony apartment with a blue-coloured wall bound by several layers blocking noise from the exteriors. As you enter Kodad-born composer Prashanth R Vihari’s world, he excitedly shows his seaboard instrument that looks like a keyboard and sounds like a flute, something that he first spotted at his guru A R Rahman’s studio during his brief course at KM Music Conservatory, Chennai.

More excited than nervous about his debut film Vellipomakey that hits screens soon, he’s floored by social media messages for the melodies in his quite ‘uncinematic’ album. Music has always been a part and parcel of the engineer-turned-musician’s life, he learnt carnatic music intermittently, sang bhajans for the Satya Sai Trust choir, having worked with a Hindustani and a Sufi ensemble at Chennai a few years ago. The multiplicity of the stints eventually helped refine his musical tastes. His tutelage under Usha Rani, musician Thirupatayya and late composer Chakri also helped his cause. “Yet, I couldn’t escape an MPC course in my 12th, an engineering degree was a must before I pursued my music career. I was like any other confused kid, not knowing where to go.” Shifting between Kodad, Warangal and Hyderabad during his childhood, the city houses most of his family members, he has sweet memories growing up here.

Musically, his heart lies in the independent arena, he enjoys the freedom and the online reception but his livelihood is made with his work on jingles and commercials. “Engineering gave me time to venture beyond academics. Our college encouraged us to pursue our other interests, there was a band we formed back then, we were a hit in the college.” What he knew was to make a career out of music, films were only one among the options for him to find work. Singing comes to him naturally, his decision to be a composer came about from his knowledge of realising what works and what doesn’t for a song. “My interest to compose began when mobile phones were relatively new and I started fiddling with my dad’s phone. An ideal bike ride is when I get most ideas. I just sing the note and record in my phone, briefing on the instrumentation I may need,” he says.

Yakub Ali, the director of Vellipomakey had spotted him through a video where Prashanth had given his own spin to Bharatiyar’s poem Suttum Vizhi Chudar Thaan Kannamma online. He was by then shifting his time between LV Prasad Film Academy’s and independent music stints. “He had messaged me online and we met, our sensibilities matched instantly. Back then, Vellipomakey was just planned as a one-hour independent film. He had a clear music taste, gave me a rough edit of the film and showed me the situations for which he wanted to blend the song. Music was an integral element in its storytelling, that gave me a push to do it,” he reveals. He did gratis for the project, but it’s the overwhelming appreciation for a seemingly-low budget film that took him by surprise. “Melodies are my forte, the situations in the film are so subtle that the genre lent itself well to the album.” His next projects are with director Ravi Babu, others include Raj Kandukuri’s Mental Madhilo and an untitled Tamil film.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 2:56:27 pm |