We heard the characteristic AR Rahman strains in G.V. Prakash’s solo debut in the Tamil film Veyil in 2006, but Prakash says he is beginning to resent comparisons with his uncle. As his biggest project so far, the Tamil musical Kuselan starring Rajinikanth, gets rave reviews, Prakash says that while he looks up to his uncle, comparing his music to Rahman’s is unfair. The 21-year-old is a Grade 8 Gold medallist pianist from Trinity College, London, and has already worked with some of the best music directors in the business, including Anu Malik and Rahman.
Prakash’s introduction to playback music was as a singer; Rahman signed him on for the song Chukku Bukku Raile for Gentleman and Kuchi Kuchi Rakamma for Mani Ratnam’s Bombay. The music of Kuselan has been sold for Rs2.25 crore, a record for the Tamil film industry, and it sold 200,000 CDs on the day of its release. Prakash spoke to Lounge from Chennai. Edited excerpts:
In the Tamil film industry, nothing gets better than working for a Rajinikanth movie. Do you agree?
Yes, and it is more special because it’s just my eighth movie and I got to work with the biggest superstar of all. It was only during the audio release of the album that I found out that Rajini sir had recommended my name after listening to the music of Veyil. I am told he wanted a composer who could bring out the emotions of his character through music.
You quit school to pursue a diploma in sound engineering.
I was confident that I would do very well in music. My parents did oppose my quitting school, but I managed to convince them. Music was a big part of my life while I was in school. When I was in the class X, I started a band with my friends. Music came naturally to me.
What, according to you, has been your best piece of music so far?
I love the song Ennama from the film Orampo. From Kuselan, I like the song Om Zarare sung by Daler Mehndi which is already a hit with music lovers, followed by Cinema Cinema. Mehndi’s voice was perfect for Om Zarare and I enjoyed working with him. The song Perinnba, also from Kulesan, is a favourite. It’s sung by Kailash Kher and Prasanna V.V.— I needed Kailash’s rustic voice for the song.
Playback music in the Tamil movie industry has come long way. Where do you see it going from here?
From Chukku Bukku Raile and Kuchi Kuchi Rakamma to here, it has been a long journey. It used to be fun before, now I feel the need to improve constantly. I think songs in the Tamil industry have become more melody-oriented after Veyil. My goal is simple: to make music that is constantly changing. Songs I make for one movie should be completely different from the ones I made for the previous one.