The Proust Questionnaire: Deva

April 21, 2016 05:51 pm | Updated 05:53 pm IST

Music director Deva

Music director Deva

What is your idea of happiness?

Music. So long as I keep at music, I’m confident I’ll never age.

What is your greatest fear?

Hurting somebody unintendedly. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, regretting a strong word I may have uttered earlier in the day.

Which historical figure do you admire the most?

M.S. Viswanathan. I stepped into films because I wanted to become a legend like him. I’ve joked with him that if it weren’t for his music, I would have become a doctor.

Which living person do you most admire?

Amma (Jayalalithaa).

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Arriving early to my appointments by at least an hour. Everybody else seems to think this is a problem; so I am starting to wonder if I’m wrong.

I once went late to a function in 1989, and inadvertently made AVM Saravanan sir wait for 30 minutes. Since then, I’ve gone early to every single appointment.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What is your greatest extravagance?

I spend only on whatever I need, never on what I want.

What is your favourite journey?

My recent trip to Adelaide, Australia, with rural thappattam artistes. When all the white members of the audience, including the mayor and minister, began dancing along with them, I realised how much more respect such artistes get outside the country.

Who is your favourite painter?

Being a painter myself, I enjoy the work of J. P. Krishna.

On what occasion do you lie?

When people ask if I’m unwell, I always tell them I’m fine. I hate that question when phrased like that.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

Not a single thing. I think god has made me look perfect.

Which living person do you most despise?

I despise nobody, living or dead.

Where do you look for hope?

To the gods. They may not look, but they listen. I often take a trip to Melmaruvathur to pay respect to goddess Adiparasakthi.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Perfect. Om shakthi.

What is your greatest regret?

That I’ve sometimes played around with shlokas to create hit songs in films.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Music… melodies especially.

When and where were you happiest?

As a young composer, I’d always take audio cassettes home and play my compositions to my parents. I remember how happy my mother was when she listened to ‘Oru thali’ from Purusha Latchanam . I was happiest then.

They have passed away now, and I’m sad that I can’t play my songs anymore. I wish I could have played ‘Jithu Jilladi’ to them.

What is your present state of mind?

Contented. I feel no pressure, no stress.

How would you like to die?

Can I choose not to?

The Proust Questionnaire is a feature which derives its name from the French writer Marcel Proust, whose personality-revealing responses to these questions went on to popularise this form of celebrity confession.

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