GV Prakash On Jail And Shifting Out Of Comfort Zone

The music composer-actor speaks about his experience with the upcoming film, Jail and how he analyzes his work.
GV Prakash On Jail And Shifting Out Of Comfort Zone

GV Prakash has put effort into becoming an actor just as he did with music composition. He speaks about his process and how he balances both these roles, in this interview with Baradwaj Rangan. 

Edited excerpts:

How would you describe a film like Vasanthabalan's Jail?

Jail is a political statement. It's about what happens during a resettlement. It discusses in detail the issues faced by people during slum clearance. A foreigner had fought a case and he even won it, after witnessing the living conditions of people who've been shifted to a new place. Even their basic daily needs could not be met after the resettlement. So, the residents get isolated from society and Jail explains how such decisions do more harm than good.  

You started your acting career in films like Darling and Trisha Illana Nayanthara and you described your entry as an accident. Till Bala's Naachiyaar, you were not taken very seriously as an actor. 

Actually, I too thought I'd settle for a couple of comedy movies when I started out. But when people started criticising my acting, I thought I had to put in the effort. I work so hard to improve my skillset as a musician, I felt I can put in the same effort to improve my acting too. I had come into acting with set expressions and limited body language. Bala sir was the one who removed those limitations from my performances. I thank him for the way he trained me to become a character. He taught me how to own the screen and change my look based on the character. He gave the first push and opened the doors for me.

When we spoke about Jail earlier, you mentioned that you wanted to approach the score like a Majid Majidi film. Is that how you worked on it even now?

No. I had to rework the score I had planned. I've made it even darker. Because it's a gangster film, with a lot of action in it, I've approached it from the City Of God zone. I'd call it an aggressive approach, perhaps similar to how (Alejandro) Iñárritu would approach the music in his films. For instance, the attacking mood of music he used in Amores Perros. If the score in Asuran and Soorarai Pottru stood out, Jail too will stand out. There were parts in it I could approach like a Majidi film or like Motorcycle Diaries, with minimal instruments, but not throughout. There's an episode in the film which works in a Rumi-esque mood. It needed a trippy kind of zone. I feel I've done something strong with the music here. 

Basically, would it be fair to describe you as someone who has the ability to distance yourself from a song or a background score or an acting performance and say "ok I have done a good job"?

Yes yes. Some people are very personal with their work. They're a little closed about how other people perceive it but I'm open to it. You can tell me exactly what you think of one of my works. 

I'm not only talking about an outsider's reaction. I meant your own ability to see your work and analyse what worked and what didn't.

I'm like that. I might not say it openly on camera but if you ask me separately, I'd be able to tell what I feel about something. I have that distance and even if something doesn't work, I have that self awareness to know that it's not great. 

Finally, what are your plans for the future as a composer and an actor? Are you open to all kinds of films?

I have no set plans. I'm hoping I get musical films like Aayirathil Oruvan or Madrasapattinam. If not, I'd love to score a film like Kill Bill. Of course, the dream is to work with someone like Iñárritu. As an actor, I want to be able to shape shift, films that take me away from my comfort zone. I want to be a part of a classic. A memorable film that will stand the test of time.

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