At home in classical and folk


HIS DREAM was to become a music composer, an aim he has happily achieved. He even tried his hand at composing when he was in college and his stint with AIR expanded the horizon. His first feature film assignment was for a Telugu film in 1994. He has not looked back since and has done 50 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. His first film in Tamil was "Kadal Mannan" directed by Saran and his 25th film is also directed by the same director and is titled "Jay Jay." S. R. Ashok Kumar meets R. Ramani better known as Bharadwaj.

Six years and 25 films. You think you could have done more?

I think it as an achievement mainly because of the work I have done. No two songs of mine are alike. From 1994 whether it is Telugu or Tamil I have been in the best ten songs list every year. In 1998 it was ``Unnai Parthapinbuthan" ("Kadhal Mannan"), in 1999 it was ``Satham Illadha Thanimai Kettein," (``Amarkalam") in 2000 it was ``Parthaen Parthaen" ("Parthaen Rasithaen") in 2001 it was - ``Avaravar Vazhkayil" ("Pandavar Bhoomi") and in 2002 it was ``O Podu" ("Gemini"). I'm sure it is going to be "Jay Jay" in 2003.

Today composers step in without much experience. What about you?

I had training in Carnatic music at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Delhi University, Hindustani music at Shriram Bharatiya Kalakendra, New Delhi, and western music at Delhi school of music.

I have composed music for AIR, Doordarshan, released cassettes and albums and tuned music for radio jingles and TV commercials, serials, short films and documentaries.

The trend today is to use singers whose mother tongue is not Tamil to sing the songs. But you don't seem to be inclined that way.

I will not use singers whose mother tongue is not Tamil and if I have to I will not give up until I get the diction correct. I have used only two Hindi singers in my compositions. One is Sadhna Sargam and the other is Sonu Nigam. I feel it is a sin to go in for others when hundreds of Tamil singers waiting in the wings to get a break.

Which is your strong point — melody, folk or other variety?

I am comfortable with both classical and folk. ``Apple Penne Nee Yaro" is a melody number whereas ``Avaravar Vazhkayil" is a folk based song. ``O Podu" is a fast number.

You have done nearly five films with director Saran. Any special reason?

The main reason is that we vibe well. I know what he wants and he is sure that I can deliver the goods. Starting from "Kadhal Mannan" till "Jay Jay" all the films have one thing in common. Good songs liked by all.

Don't you pay attention to the lyrics some of which are vulgar?

Well, that is not my area. The director is supposed to take care of the situation and the lyric.

What are the highlights of your career?

I composed and conducted Multinational Orchestra called the Symphony of Unity of love at Puttaparthi in the presence of Sri Satya Sai Baba with 50 musicians coming from 23 countries. They brought in their popular instruments and I composed the symphony with their musical instruments combined with our traditional veena and other instruments. ``Satham Illa Thanimai" contains 90 lines and it is one of the high points of the film, much appreciated for the lyric and music. Recently I got the best music director prize voted by Tamils all over the world in the first International Tamil Film Awards held in Malaysia by Seventh Channel Narayanan.

How do you spend your time when you are not composing the music?

I give lecture demonstrations on film music in colleges, film institutes and music seminars. As I am a chartered accountant I plan myself to suit my requirements and work for the success of it.

What will be your priorities in the future?

I want to do more number of films and prove myself and tour the world with my music troupe. I tasted success when I did a stage show in Malaysia last year. This year I am doing four shows in some of the cities of Tamil Nadu.