is it that you shy away from public appearance? You have also restricted
exposure in 'Vande Mataram'. Why so?
In five years of my film career, by doing a non-filmy song -'Vande
Mataram', I could reach out to the Indian heart, irrespective of
religious differences. All barriers were overcome by this song, which
was appreciated by all. That, I consider, is the best compliment. As for
public appearance, our country is so wide and demands come from every
corner. You can't be everywhere and that way you end up offending some
people. It is not just the physical presence. It is more of a mental
thing. Even if it is a small meeting, things like what I'm going talk
there, keeps worrying me. So I'd rather not accept to be there at all.
As for appearing in my album, I don't feel I'm cut out for it.
Did Ram Gopal's constant dig at music directors in 'Rangeela'
influence your lax in scoring good music for 'Daud'?
'Daud' was more of a shallow kind of a film. It would have clicked if
some magic was there. Music is always a reflection of the script.
People say you give your best only to a select few.
People who understand what I'm going through will know how it works with
me. Like, I took one and half months to score the background music for
'Kabhi-na-Kabhi' and they released it in mono. If I were told that it
will be released in mono, I would have spent about 10 days on it. I
spent a month to give better imaging and finally when it was released in
mono, it fell flat, and all the energy I'd spent on it went waste. I get
better inspiration to work for directors with whom I have a better
rapport, like Mani Rathnam. Every film maker wants to work with me, but
I am incapable of doing 30 films a year. I can work only in 5 films, and
therefore I displease them. Suppose, I am involved with some cassette
company like Venus or Tips, they will back me up. If I don't accept
their films, they don't have reason to promote me at all. Why should
they promote me if I am not involved with them? That is the way the
industry runs, favours-and-favours-in-turn, the link is like that! But
I'm just an individual who goes by my own instincts. People won't like
that. I don't want to be in a position which is volatile. I want to work
in my characteristic independent style, and though I feel uneasy, I
can't help it. I have never turned down offers because of my ego. I have
done so out of my incapability of delivering it. I can't hide it. I work
18 hours a day. I can't do any more!
Where do you rate yourself in comparison to Ilayaraja?
He is a genius by himself and is completely self-contained.
People say your entry washed him away and he holds you responsible
for his lack of opportunity. Is there any cold war between you both?
I wouldn't say he was washed away. A new trend had come, and the whole
set of directors that existed then, also receded. The entire scenario
changed in every field of film making in the South: music, direction,
cinematography, everything changed together. It was not a single
element. So, I got to the right people. The right young directors who
made films in a different way. The change in the trend was welcomed and
so was I. There is no such cold war.
Which among your recent work is your favourite?
I liked my work in 'Dil Se' and 'Doli Sajake Rakhna'. It is more on the
lines of tumri. I have also scored a different kind of music for 'Fire'
which is more thematic than melody based.
How do you rate your standing in the industry today?
I have managed to appeal to the younger lot in the country. One can't
cater to everybody. Mostly, I try to keep away from vulgarity in my
songs and try to touch the purer side of one's heart.