Hitting the right notes

Hitting the right notes

New tunes

Hitting the right notes

It was a song that raised the hackles of the purists who dismissed it as nonsensical and an insult to the language. But it also turned out to be a chart topper that caught the fancy of the youth worldwide.

“Why This Kolaveri Di?” was crooned by National Award-winning actor Dhanush and set to music by the relatively unknown 21-year-old composer Anirudh Ravichander. Not even in their wildest dreams did the debutant music director and the non-singer imagine that they would find themselves in the record books for the song dedicated to youth who had been jilted by their soulmates.

Born to a father who dabbled in acting and a mother who was a trained dancer, Anirudh, Rajanikant’s nephew, took a fancy to music at an early age and was part of the band Zinx in school. His expertise on the keyboards got the attention of maestro A R Rahman, who took him on as an accompanist. Anirudh trained as a pianist from the Trinity School of Music in London, then started composing for short films till 3 happened and turned him into a force to be reckoned with.

Contrary to expectations, Anirudh was not flooded with offers after composing and singing a track for Bollywood film David. It was Dhanush again who gave him his next break in Edhir Neechal, and later Selvaraghavan, Dhanush’s elder brother, offered him an opportunity to compose the background score for his period film Irandam Ulagam.

The lanky composer eager to widen his ambit, however, utilised the break to prove to the industry that he was game for offbeat and period films as well. Films like Vanakkam Chennai and the Dhanush starrer Velai Illa Pattathari too found Anirudh in his elements. Anirudh had wormed his way into the hearts of young music aficionados and his score in the Sivakarthikeyan film Maan Karate too won critical acclaim. Apart from one of his favourite singers Mohit Chauhan, Anirudh has also opted for Bollywood singers like Vishal Dadlani, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Adnan Sami.

Soon big banners began to take notice of the new kid on the block and Anirudh landed a plum assignment when one of Tamil cinema’s most successful directors, A R Murugadoss, signed him for his big budget extravaganza Kaththi. Anirudh  capitalised on this chance and churned out some really good stuff with veteran singer Yesudas and Shankar Mahadevan belting out soulful numbers. The highlight, however, was the number “Selfie Pulle” sung by actor Vijay and Sunidhi Chauhan, which struck an instant chord.

Anirudh found his stock soaring further. His latest outing, again in a Dhanush production Naanum Rowdithaan, directed by newcomer Vignesh Sivan, has come as a shot in the arm and at least three of the numbers “Neeyum Naanum”, “Yennai Mattum Kadhali” and “Thangamey” have found top slots in the popularity index. And the young composer has back-to-back films in his kitty including Vedhalam starring Ajith Kumar, the Anand Shankar-directed Marma Manithan, Singam 3 and the untitled sequel to Vellai Illa Pattathari.

While Anirudh has sung a number or two in his own films, a number of composers have been placing faith in him to render their compositions. Perhaps the most successful of his songs was “Mersalayitten” sung for A R Rahman’s banner for the film I. He has also sung for S Thaman in Vaalu (“Hey Vasamoakka”) and Imaan’s Romeo and Juliet (“Dandanakka”). As a singer, he has developed a penchant for loud and fast numbers and fortunately for him, he has been able to taste success. His priority, at the moment, however, is to further move up the ladder as a composer and with a number of new talents emerging, this may not be an easy task.

Yet, with the limited exposure that he has got until now, Anirudh, who has been blessed by the legendary music director, the late M S Viswanathan, has a long way to go. And where sincerity and determination are concerned, this young man has never been found wanting.