Edited excerpts from a long interview between Yuvan Shankar Raja and Baradwaj Rangan:
BR: When you go back to your older more established collaborations, two very important collaborations have been with Selvaraghavan and Ram. One is in a slightly commercial mode with NGK and the other is slightly in the artistic mode with Peranbu even though there is a slight overlap.
BR: What is the process of working with them? Because the music you produce for them has become more like a brand. It is like “Oh Yuvan and Selvaraghavan are doing something together and Yuvan and Ram are doing something together”. Is it more nerve-racking?
Yuvan: No I have never been like that. Whenever Selva calls me and says I am coming to the studio, I get excited because he surprises me with something totally out of the box. He’ll say something like, “Hey the sequence is like this, can we it do this way?”. And then some other idea strikes my mind. We figure it out and I tell him why can’t we do something like this?
BR: Will he give you musical ideas?
Yuvan: Yes. He will have some reference songs.
BR: Can you give an example?
The references he gives are very different. It can be a totally remote village song or some kind of world music. The work he does for that is very nice. He will give suggestions like we can use a rustic voice here, which actually inspires me and pushes me to go a bit edgy on my approach. Then I’ll try something totally different from the reference and then mix the both which in turn adds colour. The edginess of the music in Selva’s films are mostly due to this.
BR: So he will do a small homework on his own.
Yuvan: Yeah. Most of the time, what he brings ends up surprising me. I may expect to him to bring a certain kind of idea but what he brings will usually be very different.
Ram will narrate the story to me and ask me to what is necessary for that. For Peranbu, they showed me the footage and told me that this script is close to nature. So I thought I will reduce instrument sounds and use natural ambient music for this movie.