The feedback has been wonderful and I am thrilled: Yuvan Shankar Raja on the Nerkonda Paarvai album
Yuvan Shankar Raja opens up about his experience working on Nerkonda Paarvai's album and his new production venture
Yuvan Shankar Raja is ecstatic about the reception of Nerkonda Paarvai's music. "The feedback has been wonderful and I am thrilled. My favourite is Agalaathey," says Yuvan who also lent his voice for the melody. Ask him if that's the reason and he laughingly says, "Ille ille, I really like it as a song."
Excerpts from the conversation:
Nerkonda Paarvai is an intense film. What are the challenges of incorporating songs in such a film?
Whatever the movie required, I have given it. Director Vinoth has a good sense of music and he has correctly incorporated it into the film. He also knew what he wanted from the songs. For instance, Vinoth was specific about needing an EDM tune for an on-stage dance performance in the film. We were sure about the number of songs going in, and we stuck to it.
Do you have a say on the number of songs and their placement?
I do, when the directors are open in that aspect. In addition to the number of songs and where to place them, I often give suggestions on how a scene can be treated musically as well.
Compared to the other mass films of Ajith, what was it like working on a film like Nerkonda Paarvai?
First of all, a star like Ajith sir doing such a film is a huge thing, especially at a time when news about rape and abuse are making headlines often. Him doing such a film is sure to bring more awareness because he will automatically get the attention of the masses. As for my own experience working on it, I told the director that the opportunity to include a massy tune was slim. Working on a character such as a lawyer is different than say, a cop or a gangster. But we had the fight sequence and I got a theme done for that. The film actually has a lot of mass moments, but they are not the typical ones Ajith sir has done before. It's a film for the family audience.
What did Ajith say to you after watching the film?
I have not spoken with him yet, but while working he called me often. He said he liked the tunes I had composed and even gave inputs. I like the path Ajith sir takes as an actor. Considering the position he is at, he has a keen eye for choosing the right set of films. I loved Viswasam as well.
Can you tell us a bit about working on the film's background score?
The background score plays to the drama. The film has a lot of emotions as well as heroic moments, so there was much to do. Thankfully, I was given a lot of time. We kept working reel by reel and were able to work on corrections as well. We had a great time doing the score, actually.
Is it easy to push the film's ideology through music?
Namba velaiye adhu dhaane (laughs). A composer's work is to turn an idea into music. Conveying the concept via dialogues is one way and that's straightforward, but when doing it through music, we have to enhance it. That said, certain ideas are better conveyed through dialogues and Nerkonda Paarvai is one such a film. So the music here was mainly used for emphasis.
You seem to give importance to silence in your scores...
The most important lesson about rerecording that I learnt from appa is knowing where to include silence. I have applied that to all my scores, but this film has a little more of it.
You have rarely worked on remakes. Does the treatment of music differ for such films?
The makers of the original film would have approached it musically in one way, so I had to try something new and do it in a different fashion. Musically, I like the way Pink was treated. So much that I actually even asked Vinoth if we could retain the Kaari Kaari song. But he was particular that we needed a song of our own for that situation and that's how Vaanil Irul happened.
Your filmography seems to have a mix of star-driven films as well as smaller-budget ones. How do you choose your projects?
I choose a film based on the script and how important music is to that script. If a director is clear on what he wants, it makes things a lot easier for me as well.
You have recently started producing films as well...
I get to see a new set of challenges as a producer. It's fun, but stressful as well. We have completed Vijay Sethupathi's Maamanithan. The dubbing process is going on now and the audio will be out soon.
Maamanithan also has you working with Ilaiyaraaja for the first time. What is that like?
Dad made it very clear that he will give me the tune and it's up to me to do what I want to do with it (smiles). I want to give a different set of sounds in the film.
How do you reinvent yourself?
I just follow the trend, listen to world music, and travel a lot. I believe that keeps me going. Meeting a lot of new technicians also helps me a lot.
We know that you're working on a script as well. Can you tell us the status of that?
I am writing it whenever time permits. So konjam slow ah poguthu (laughs). But I am almost done with the first half.
What's on your current playlist?
I have been listening to a lot of Phil Collins' 90s album lately. There's also a lot of jazz music.