Shankar speaks-Read Part- 1
Shankar speaks-Read Part-2
For the first time, Shankar speaks on A.R Rahman, music of `Sivaji`,and about the technicians who assisted him.
A.R Rahman , and the music of `Sivaji`.
Tell us about A.R Rahman and why your combination with him has always
produced chartbusters? What is your favourite album from the films you have done?
Rahman and me go back a long way, as we almost started our career together. 8 out of my 9 films have music by him. We have perfect understanding and rapport with each other .He understands my need and the tune the moment I explain to him the situation, and he will go on giving me new tunes if I’m not happy with the earlier one. And like
me he tries experiment and always tries his best to come out with something fresh. My favourite is Kathalan and Jeans, though it looks like Sivaji will become our favourite!
How would you rate Sivaji music?
Even before the release, Sivaji songs have reached a new milestone, as Tamil and Telugu audio is rumoured to have sold more than any other film in south. When we met to discuss initially on the music, I told Rahman that I need extraordinary, out-of-the- world tunes, as expectations were very high with Rajni- Rahman- Shankar combination coming together for the first time. Rahman just smiled and over the months in spite of his busy international schedule he found time to do Sivaji and has churned out outstanding music.
Let us talk about the five songs in the film
It is the first song in the film and shot in and around Wai a scenic village near Pune. It is a folk song sung by SPB and Rehana, Rahman's sister whose voice sounds different and appealing. Na.Muthukumar has written some meaningful lyrics which fits into my narration as the hero is coming home from abroad and he is overcome with nostalgia
about the village he grew up.
My favourite number in the film! It was a challenge to do the song as it is entirely done in CG, and there were no gimmicks. We created a new software for it and let me tell you that I’m not boasting…. I don't think anybody has done a full length song in CG. `Indian Artist` did a good job, Pa Vijay's lyrics and Rahman's tunes were perfect. The CG work alone took nearly a year, and I’m sure after the film releases it will be the hit number!
Lot of my friends, say that this is their favourite. Everybody likes it as it is a melody; Rahman has made a sad and happy version. It is a dream song, in which Vairamuthu talks about seasons, so I asked Thotta Tharani the art director to create a Swarovski style glittering glass dome set depicting four seasons at Ramoji Rao studio and he did
a wonderful job. It is going to be a major highlight of the film.
A lot of unit members say it is going to be the favourite song in the film. It is a fantasy song and the first we shot for the film. Neeta Lulla has done the costumes for this song, while the other four are done by Manish Malhotra . Rajni and Shriya come as a king and queen with over 100 dancers in the background and a Babylonian type palace designed by Thotta.
It is a very exciting song and picturised in a very stylish way. We have used some CG for it. I’m told that the song has become very popular in discos in Mumbai and Delhi where Rahman who has sung the song has an audience.
We took weeks over it, to compose the theme music and did the entire background score in Prague, where Rahman was familiar with. The background score of Sivaji itself can be made into an album, its fantastic.
On K.V Anand, the cinematographer
You have worked with the best cameramen in the business like Ravi.K.Chandran, Jeeva, Ravi Varman. What is your opinion about K.V Anand, Sivaji cameraman?
As good as the best, in the business. I have worked with him in Muthalvan and Naayak, and there is good understanding between us. In Sivaji his work is super, especially the song sequences his lighting is out of the world.
On Thotta Tarani, the art director
I have worked in a lot of films with him, here in Sivaji he has
excelled in sets designing.
On Peter Haynes, the action choreographer.
Brilliant, he has exceeded my expectations. There are four action sequences in the film and the highlight is this car action fight in a open- air- drive in theatre. It was a huge set designed by Thotta and Anand lighted up with helium lights. We took nearly 20 days to shoot this scene which is just 3 minutes in the film. My hero and heroine are watching a film in an open air theatre, and the bad guys come and crash their cars. The car fight scenes have been choreographed in a thrilling fashion by Peter. Please note, there is no blood or gore in the film.
Finally… Will Sivaji be a hit?
(Smiles) No doubt about it. The film is going to be a blockbuster, as there will be repeat audience for the film.
What is the length of the film?
Sivaji's running time is 3 hours and 5 minutes( 3+5=8 !)
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