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'Billa's music has done very well'
Shobha Warrier | December 07, 2007 16:15 IST
It was one of the huge challenges for Yuvan Shankar Raja, youngest son of music maestro Ilayaraja to step legendary music director M S Viswanathan's shoes for the remake of Billa.
Yuvan is a childhood friend of the new Billa's director Vishnu Vardhan and he has been a part of all of Vishnu's earlier films.
In one of his rare interviews, Yuvan, a man of few words speaks about composing for Billa
Was Billa one of your toughest albums because you were expected to recreate the old Billa magic?
I wouldn't say it was the toughest. It was an album that was very exciting for me. Yes, the old Billa was very successful and was a turning point in Rajni Sir's (Rajnikanth [Images]) career. MSV Sir's songs were huge hits.
Was it a huge responsibility for you?
Responsibility, yes. Expectations were very high. As much as Sivaji I would say. New Billa has become the most expected movie after Sivaji. I could see that from the day the film was announced. When Vishnu (Vishnu Vardhan, the director) came and told me that he was directing Billa, and that Ajith would be Billa, I could sense something very big was coming. But I didn't expect this film turning out to be this big.
Were you nervous?
No. I was thrilled and excited about the whole film. I was working for an Ajith film after Dheena, which was a career break for me. I felt the audience would expect something great because I was joining hands with Ajith after Dheena.
With Vishnu also, we had good albums. I had fun actually.
What was in your mind when you sat down preparing yourself for the music?
I wanted the music to be very modern, very metallica. I preferred a very plastic sound. I didn't want any 'live' sound in it. When I saw the photos taken at the photo session with Ajith, I could feel the tone of the movie, and it was very modern and very funky. So, I made up my mind that I would use a lot of funky sounds that would suit the look of the film. With those things in mind, I started composing the music.
For me, composing means enjoyment. I should enjoy while working on a track and I should feel like listening to it again. This is what I kept in my mind.
Did you add anything in particular to the songs because the locale of the film is Malayasia?
Yes, I kept the locales in mind while composing. I am of the opinion that every composer should know the tone of the movie so that he can compose accordingly. The music should match the movie.
My name is Billa was the most popular from the old Billa. You have remixed it�.
I find it quite difficult whenever I have to do a remix. I am very particular that I shouldn't spoil the magic of the original. You hear so many comments about remixing. I would say I somehow managed to compose My name is Billa! Because the new Billa is more modern, I made it more trendy and plastic.
Which is your favourite song from the album?
My favourites are Sei ethavathu and Naan Meendum. I have given a very Arabic style of music to Sei Ethavathu and it is mixed very well with the Indian style.
How did you choose the singers? Did you have the actors in mind?
No. Vishnu and I retained the same singers used earlier. Neha Bhasin has sung the song Sei ethavathu with Preethi Bhalla. We also have Shankar Mahadevan [Images], Vijay Yesudas. I have introduced a new singer, Deepika.
Seval Kodi by Vijay Yesudas is very popular...
Yes, it has become very popular. I was expecting that because I listen to my albums while driving. I listen as if it were not my music, just to find out how listeners will take it. Without knowing it, I kept repeating the song several times. Then, I felt that would be the catchy song of the album.
Do you consider Billa as one of your best albums in recent times?
That is not to say that I didn't get carried away by Billa. It was a very exciting album to work on and I had great fun!
It is a very big project and commercially, Billa's music has done very well. And, I am very happy about it.
Photograph of Yuvan Shankar Raja: Sreeram Selvaraj