'Vijay sir didn't want needless hype in his intro song'
...says lyricist Vivek who has written all the songs for the Vijay-starrer Mersal that is releasing this Diwali
As if the pressure of writing one mass hero song weren't high enough, Vivek was tasked with the onerous responsibility of writing all the songs in Mersal. And there's also the added nervousness of knowing that Rahman's the composer. "The pressure is obviously there, but I channel it to fuel my creativity and my words," says Vivek, who wrote songs for more than 50 films last year - a feat he is confident of surpassing this year.
"And yet, Mersal is different as it's only the second film (after 36 Vayadhinile) for which I've penned all the songs. It's always usually a song or two for a film, but when I'm writing the entire album, I have the advantage of knowing the whole story," he says. "Another benefit is that I don't have to worry about what the other lyricists would be writing. This is to make sure we don't repeat the words."
He has tried something new with Mersal. "We have used different types of Tamil for the songs of Mersal. Aalaporaan Thamizhan is senthamizh, Neethane is kavithai Tamizh, Mersal Arasan is Chennai Tamizh, and Maacho is Tanglish," he explains.
Mersal's also the first time Vivek has collaborated with AR Rahman, who has himself sung one track, Neethanae. "It's an honour to work with him. While I didn't have the opportunity to interact much with Ilaiyarajaa sir (they worked together for the yet-to-be-released Merku Thodarchi Malai), I had a lot of chats with Rahman sir. While it was a big kick to write lyrics for his music, it was incredible to know that he'd be singing my lines. They are the legends we grew up listening to," says Vivek.
The lyricist is also thrilled that Vijay recognised his work. "I met him while Aalaporaan Thamizhan was being shot. He was very happy with the way the songs had shaped up. He was particularly happy with how the song gave him good vibes," says Vivek, who is all praise for Vijay for not having any airs. "He didn't interfere with my writing and when we said that his intro song (Aalaporaan Thamizhan) won't have any hype for him, he didn't mind it at all. But I know that his massive fan following would love to have such a song and that's how Mersal Arasan happened. After Pettai Rap, this will be one of AR Rahman sir's best kuthu songs," he says.
The conversation moves to Maacho, the Tanglish song. "I once read a phrase somewhere that went, 'bike eh kickittan', to indicate that a person kick-started his bike. I incorporated that into Maacho and that's how I got lines like 'Maacho, ennaacho, ava touchitta uyir into two aacho'. Moreover, the fact that it was shot abroad came handy in giving the song a different feel."
Apart from the four songs in the album, there is also one made as a background song for the magician portions. "The eight-verse song is written in such a way that a specific word of each line connects with another to result in a new phrase. You get combinations like, Rasigane Thalaivan, Valai thalam udaya varuvaane, and Ulaga saadhanai padachu nadapaan," says Vivek.
Atlee, he says, is a hardworker. "He would have shoots in the morning, but still insist on being with us late at night while we worked on the lyrics. He would give his inputs and ideas and I loved how he was there for moral support."
Vivek's upcoming projects include Theeran Adhigaram Ondru, Meyatha Maan and Sketch.