Society

Music for the masses

MULTI-FACETED: Gangai Amaran. Photo: T. Saravanan

MULTI-FACETED: Gangai Amaran. Photo: T. Saravanan   | Photo Credit: mamp06gangai

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As member of the Central Board of Film Certification now, veteran musician Gangai Amaran looks back on his career

When Kozhi Koovuthu hit the screens it brought to light an efficient director and script writer in Gangai Amaran. The film was a blockbuster hit. Everybody knew about his writing skills and his lyrical and composing talent, but none thought he could become a successful director without any experience and that too in his maiden attempt.

“It was my brother Ilayaraja and Panchu Aruunachalam, who believed in my skills and wanted me to do the film. By God’s grace it caught attention,” he says.

Appointed recently in the Central Board of Film Certification panel, he feels he got enough opportunities in life and has used them to the maximum. “Talent alone does not suffice in the industry. You need opportunities to showcase your talent,” he says.

Gangai Amaran grew up listening to the music and lyrics of his legendary brothers Ilayaraja and Pavalar Varadharajan. “My father was a theatre artiste and probably music runs in my blood,” he chuckles. “I wanted to emulate my brothers on seeing the public reception for their music and songs. That drove me to learn music faster,” he adds.

A humble a person that he is, Gangai Amaran wants to do more for the people. By the time the brothers stepped in to the industry, they knew what the audience expected of them. They lived an ordinary life and understood what common people like to watch and listen. They started with folk music and later picked up western music. “We wanted to do music for the masses. Ilayaraja gave the classical touch to his folk compositions and sensitised people to the nuances of classical music. For instance, the song ‘Yeh, Aatha, Athorama Variya’ from the movie ‘ Payanangal Mudivathillai’ sounds like a folk music but it has the classical touch,” he says.

Call him a music composer, lyricist, singer, script writer and director, Gangai Amaran’s has the conviction and determination to succeed in whatever he does. “I am a good student and I learn things quickly,” he says. Music is like a penance for him. The unquenchable thirst to excel is the main reason for his success. “We constantly experiment and explore new possibilities.”

Hailed as one of the best rhythm guitar players in the industry, Gangai Amaran has composed some soul stirring music. Vazhve Maayam as a musical album was a big hit and particularly ‘Neela Vaana Odaiyil’ song earned him encomiums.

He feels his son Venkat Prabhu too did well in his debut attempt Chennai 600028. “Actually Venkat was busy with his studies in London. When I was looking for a youngster for my new movie ‘ Pooncholai’, my wife suggested Venkat’s name. We finished the movie but somehow the project did not take off and I did not release it after that. I did not want to ruin my son’s film career,” he laughs.

He is also proud of his other son, Premgi, who entered films as a comedian and music composer. Having composed music for more than 50 films, Gangai Amaran is now busy anchoring a music reality show and feels satisfied. “At this age, I should leave way for new comers and enjoy life.”

Gangai Amaran is now planning a guidance cell to help children identify their skills. “It is in nascent stage. We will spot talents and groom them in their respective fields.”

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Printable version | Aug 23, 2019 1:44:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/music-for-the-masses/article7846062.ece

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