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Yuvan Shankar Raja: I'm not following in A R Rahman's footsteps

Last updated on: January 14, 2011 15:02 IST

Image: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Pavithra Srinivasan in Chennai

Yuvan Shankar Raja is among the cream of Tamil music composers today.

But success hasn't come easily to maestro Ilaiyaraja's younger son. He's had to slog long and hard for it, waiting in the wings even as older brother Karthik Raja made his debut in Tamil cinema.

Starting out at the tender age of 16 for Aravindhan, Yuvan Shankar Raja, the "Youth Icon of Tamil Cinema," has come a long way. The last two years have proven particularly special for him with hits like Paiyya, Naan Mahaan Alla, Baana Kaathadi, Boss Engira Baskaran et al.

Now, he's about to embark on another high-point of his career: The Yuvan Live In Concert, to be held at the YMCA, Nandanam in Chennai January 16 is a first for him.

He has just finished a promo song, I'll Be There For You, helmed by Vishnuvardhan and filmed by Nirav Shah for Vijay TV, and is understandably on a high.

As immersed as he is in preparations for his concert, we snatched a few precious moments with Yuvan for this exclusive chat. Excerpts:

How do you feel, now that you're about to embark on a live concert?

Naturally, I'm very happy, especially because it's happening in Chennai. This is where I was born and brought up, so it's pretty special to me. I have a bond with this place. Besides, it's the Pongal season, a time to celebrate. There hasn't been a big concert for quite a while, except maybe A R Rahman's concert. So maybe its high time another came along.

Would you say that you're following A R Rahman's footsteps, in this case?

No, absolutely not. I don't follow anyone's footsteps. I make my own way.

'I choose a movie on the basis of my availability, dates and the script'

Image: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Growing up among the many talented celebrities in your family, did you feel the pressure to perform well?

I've always been pretty confident about my abilities, about what I could do, so I didn't have those problems. I believe that I can get what I want. When Dheena happened with Ajith, I had a sixth sense that things would work out. And they did. Things have only gotten better ever since.

You're very comfortable with certain directors like Selvaraghavan, and actors like Simbhu. How does that work?

I really don't put in any sort of special effort. I work the same way with everyone else. Things just work out.

How do you feel when an album of your turns out to be a hit, but the corresponding movie doesn't turn out well?

I choose a movie on the basis of my availability, dates and the script. But yes, as you say, sometimes, the movie doesn't do too well because it's not just the music that makes it so; it's team work, a lot of people are involved. The director is the one who is at the helm of the project. So when it doesn't do too well, I guess you can't just attribute it to the music.

'I sing because the directors usually ask me to'

Image: Yuvan Shankar Raja

It's almost become mandatory for you to sing at least one song in all your albums. Is this a sort of sentiment that you follow?

Oh no, not at all. I sing because the directors usually ask me to. It's their wish that I sing in the album, and I accommodate them.

How do you deal with the stress of all the rumours that float around you? About the break of your friendships, and so on?

I never let them affect me. I couldn't function if I did. Yoga helps.

What are your future projects?

Bala's Avan Ivan, Venkat Prabhu's Mankatha, Ameer's Adhi Bhaghavan, and Simbhu's Vaanam.