‘What else can I possibly do?’ – Exclusive interview of Srikanth Deva

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After AR Rahman, Srikanth Deva is in a mood to talk about everything he’s lucky to hold forth. The Tamil UnReal Times interviewer Bharathraj Thangam listens in…

Srikanth Deva seems to like having his picture taken. He’s seated at the middle of a large, yet seemingly small couch in the only office room at his Kodambakkam studio, and the harsh noises bouncing off the walls are torturing up an already frustrating summer evening. But he’s smiling. He’s dressed up for the occasion in a light brown coat and a small bracelet-like golden chain tossed around his neck.

As the photographer locks his camera-phone and puts it into his pocket, I remark to him that he seems quite excited under the circumstances. He says this is rare. He’s not prepared for it. What’s difficult is when hardly anyone pops up with photo requests when he’s at the airport or at an event. He laughs that laugh that hasn’t changed in the nine-plus years we’ve known him, that high-pitched, menacing giggle that suggests a not-so-little boy who’s gotten away with pure luck or a grown man still rubbing his eyes in disbelief, that his every dream has miraculously come true. It’s likely the latter.

He speaks of an early song which drew negative comments about Udit Narayan’s voice from the first few listeners. They said that the way he sang ‘Ennatha Solvenungo’ had sacrilege. But when he played the song to Perarasu, he danced his skin out. He wonders what it is that triggers some people’s energy while the rest of the world is totally cringing to the max. His conclusion: if there’s luck in something, it works.

That’s why, he feels, Silambarasan’s rendition of the ‘Love Anthem for world peace’ went viral. If STR had gone to a T-Series or a Magnasound in any decade, they’d have said any audience in any part of the world wouldn’t like it. He says we all start judging what is right or wrong, and sometimes we can’t think beyond “you won’t be a hit” or “your voice won’t fit.” “We like to box things into slots. We are all inhuman. (That laugh again.) But now, with the Internet and all, it’s opened up even more. It’s like, let people start the trolling.”

Even after the mediocre reputation he’s achieved, what makes him get out of bed to work? What makes him say yes to a project? He says it’s his mortgages and smiles, but lets no howl of laughter. Without any need to collect himself, he says he wants the experience to be over and done soon. When you just do things for the sake of doing your work, it shows. It becomes easy for everyone, even his own team, if he’s allowed to completely shun different distracting directions and given firm limitations.

And the talk finally turns to Parthi Bhaskar’s Arjunan Kadhali, which is no particular reason for this interview. I ask him what those limitations are and he says that the story is set in Tamil Nadu, which is as routine as it can get for him. So automatically his sensibilities have to shut down and make him say “What noise can I do? How can I meander towards something people will, hopefully, someday, accept out of lack of choice?” He talks of the director’s ideas — a bearded Bhaskar, in mustard-yellow pants and a black shirt, is a silent observer in the room’s far corner — he won’t talk about the music, which he feels shouldn’t be spoken about or be heard.

Another film that’s been totally out of the news, starring God-knows-who, is Vincent Selva’s Thulli Vilayadu — its trailer came out, may be the film too. Do new filmmakers, given his stature, feel free to tell him what they really think? Never, he says. Perarasu would accept every tune of his, and that’s just what he wants. That’s what, he says, make his soundtracks what they are, and that’s why no matter who he works with, the same side of him comes out each time.

And yet, there are filmmakers who keep coming back to him — like A Venkatesh, whose Summa Nacchunu Irukku marks the duo’s ninth year of collaboration. Venkatesh, he says, carries no burden, no expectation of having to be successful and needs no convincing, so it’s really relaxing to work with him. He recalls spending less than a minute talking to the filmmaker about ‘Dandanakka Sarakku’, the song from Yei, saying that it would work.

He recalls watching a symphony and falling asleep when it got too indiscernible. He fell asleep again during a small lull in the second half of Oz the Great and Powerful. As a composer, he says, he constantly has to keep thinking about those guys who are not able to discern good music. He was in Kodambakkam some time ago, and he heard someone scream out that they loved ‘Kodambakkam Area’, the Tamil song of gaana genre. This, he says, wouldn’t have happened without the Internet’s inability to penetrate all classes of people.

And we’re back to this era’s freedoms, where people are unfortunately not forced by this channel or that one to listen to specific content. I try to get something about Arjunan Kadhali one last time, when Bhaskar steps in and says that the saddest thing was not getting Yuvan Shankar Raja to score for the album. Last night was when the songs were recorded, and they were mixed at 9.30 in the night, and the mastering engineer left by 9.45 and drinks were ordered. The minutes, too, haven’t changed in these nine-plus years.

 

9 Responses to ‘What else can I possibly do?’ – Exclusive interview of Srikanth Deva

  1. ” that’s why no matter who he works with, the same side of him comes out each time.”

    — That fits perfectly for Harris Jayaraj 😀

    HJ
    May 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

    • even oscar winner ar rahman even started repeating same tune HJ u1 lam oru mattera they too repeating ,anirudh rocks

      Baski
      May 4, 2013 at 10:54 am

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