Edited excerpts from an interview between Baradwaj Rangan and GV Prakash Kumar:
A lot of people argue that songs today don’t have the lasting quality they did a few years ago. One of the reasons of course is the sheer volume of information we have. Can you name a few songs that you composed that have stood the test of time?
‘Urugadhe Marugadhe’ From Veyil
Once I finished recording the song, both Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Ghoshal met me, shook my hand and thanked me for giving them such a good song. I didn’t understand why they did it though, but now I understand. Sridhar sir mixed that album for me. He was like a godfather to me. He mixed every album for me until Angadi Theru.
‘Veyilodu Velayadi’ from Veyil
It’s been 12 years. Even today when I listen to that song playing on the radio, I’m transported back to that time. It gives me some special kind of happiness. I remember how we used to travel together for this song. I sat down to compose and there was a power cut that very moment. Not a great sign, I thought. It was raining heavily that day. I also remember going to Bombay to get Kailash Kher to record the song.
‘Idhu Enna Maayam’ from Oram Po
I wanted this song to sound like a broadway musical. I first composed it with my piano and then I made the tune, then I discovered this unique sounding groove on the stylus. I went ahead and I just kept it for the whole song.
What about a song that you weren’t terribly satisfied with, but became a big hit during release?
I didn’t expect ‘Otha Sollaala’ from Aadukalam to become such a hit. I think it was the situation that really worked for the song. And when the beat hits at that particular moment, the reaction was something else in the theatre.
It is one of the best love moments in Tamil cinema
I expected ‘Yathe Yathe’ and ‘Ayyayo’ to be the big hits of album. I didn’t think ‘Otha Sollaala’ would connect to so many people. Amalraj played the BGM on the guitar. I remember Trisha was the heroine for the film first. Then she got busy and couldn’t complete it. That’s when Taapsee came onboard. They had shot it without a song first, it would like a cue for a song there. We then inserted this song much later to what they had shot and it matched. When you watch it now, it does not look like it was shot without a song.