Premgi Amaren: Acting is far easier than composing music
The music director/actor and his brother Venkat Prabhu open up about their upcoming film, Party, and what it took to make Suriya and Karthi sing for the film
One of Tamil cinema's favourite duos - Venkat Prabhu and Premgi Amaren - is back together for the upcoming film, Party. But for the first time, Premgi, who usually provides comic relief in his brother's directorials, has chosen to just stay behind the camera and compose music. Carrying the tagline, 'A Venkat Prabhu hangover', the teaser of the film was launched in December last year. Six months later, the team has begun its next round of promotions with the launch of the first single, Cha Cha Charey, on Monday.
Venkat Prabhu, who is known for roping in interesting combinations of singers (Ilaiyaraaja and SP Balasubrahmanyam for Vaalibaa Va Va, and SPB Charan and Yugendran for Adida Nayaandiya), has brought Suriya and Karthi together to sing the peppy party number. We caught hold of Venkat and Premgi on the eve of the song's launch. Asked about the thought process behind making the brothers sing, the director says, "We wanted to launch the album of Party with Cha Cha Charey, and needed a celebrity duo who can add star value to the film and make heads turn. That's when we thought of asking Suriya anna and Karthi--the brothers who never party--to sing a party song for us."
Premgi adds, "It was completely anna's (Venkat) idea to make them sing. The idea of two brothers singing for a film made by two brothers was really interesting. We also wanted to be a part of it, and so anna and I have sung a charanam each in the song."
Venkat continues, "I know Karthi sings well as he has already sung Mississippi in Briyani, but Suriya anna was a bit hesitant to sing. He even said, 'Naan laam bathroom la kuda paada maaten da.. Enna yen padathula pada koopdureenga?' Even their mother said, 'Karthi padiduvan.. Ivan paduvana?' (laughs) But I managed to convince the entire family that this is a simple song and the end result is amazing."
The Suriya-Karthi song was a huge surprise to the fans, as it was only revealed a few days before the launch. The brothers say that the album has many more surprises and that the audience can expect other celebrities to turn singers for Party.
About making a film without music by Venkat's usual composer, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Premgi says, "Yuvan and I had a deal that when I act in anna's film, he can compose music, but when I don't, he has to give up the composer's chair. I don't even have a cameo in the film."
Venkat adds, "Since Prem has worked with Yuvan from his first film, I was able to see lots of similarities in their working style. Drawing work from Premgi as a composer was very easy. The same can't be said about Premgi, the actor (laughs)."
Premgi, however, feels that acting is the easier job. "I am not a great actor, but acting, I can say, is far simpler. All I have to do is follow the instructions of my brother. Music composition, on the other hand, demands creativity; the tunes of each song is a gift from God. So it is more demanding."
In a career spanning over a decade as a composer, Thunichal (2010) and Nenjathai Killadhe (2008) are the only films Premgi has worked on outside his Chennai- 600028 friends circle. Is this because he is choosy? "Frankly, nobody else has asked me to compose for their films. But when my friends sign up for a film, I have the liberty to tell them that I'll be their composer. We share that level of trust and comfort. I obviously can't expect that from others. They have to find me worthy and sign me for their films. I sincerely believe things will change after Party."
With Party scheduled for release in August, Venkat Prabhu has already announced his next with Simbu. Asked about his ninth directorial, he says, "I am confident that the film will definitely be better than the expectations of the audience. Simbu will be seen in a never-before-seen character and his fans are going to love that. I haven't completed the script or zeroed in on the title yet. I've just shared the outline of his character and one line of the film for now."