A fan’s tale

Part 6: Another Opportunity

One more opportunity knocked my door, drive my cousin to Panchathan Inn recording studio. It was a late night recording at 11.00pm, the studio had undergone changes, and close to the studio entrance there was a new waiting room. I was asked to sit in that room. Whenever someone opened the door I was able to listen to the track in a very low volume. I heard orchestral hits, tight drum grooves and vocals with lot of reverb.

After 15 minutes or so, suddenly Mr. Viramuthu walked out from the studio. I stood up, he asked me to sit. He then took the seat next to me, my lucky star shines again and I am now sitting next to the Iconic lyric writer from Tamil Nadu. He then asked me in English “Are you Anu’S brother?” I nodded my head and then he asked are you from Delhi, for which I replied in a low voice, “தமிழ்ல பேசலாம் சார்” [I can talk in Tamil Sir], then I had some guts to talk and congratulated him for all the songs he penned right from late 70’s till now. With a grin he nodded his head and then went back inside. One more time an opportunity to hear the tight drum grooves and vocals with lot of reverb.

After about 30 minutes, door opens and no audio bleed this time and I see few walking out, I spot A.R. Rahman in the middle, and to my surprise he said "HI" "How Are You?" I said I am fine. He then started talking to Viramuthu and I still remember, ARR was saying to Viramuthu that he should be calling “Hariharnan” as he has been missing his calls. I was watching this all with amazement. You might wonder what is so amazing about it, true but for a 23 year old watching 2 giants of Tamil Cinema speak is nothing but amazement.

Then someone walks near ARR and whispers something, ARR goes inside. That “somebody” was Noel James working at the Studio and ARR’s long time buddy. Noel requested me to join him in the reception, he told me director would be here anytime and he might not like anyone being around. In the reception as though we were long time friends, Noel and I had a long discussion about music, keyboard etc. We spoke about Pink Floyd to Phil Collins to Whitney Houston and a lot about new keyboards. I still remember that evening conversation. We even started refereeing ARR as “our man” and I did get to know few little things about ARR’s work flow. At around 1.00am I had the presence of mind to get Noel’s phone number.

Tamil film music has tracks that are remembered just for its uniqueness. "முத்து குளிக்க வரீர்களா", "நின்னுக்கோரி வர்ணம்" are few examples. The song that was recorded that night was in the same league -> “Konjam Nilavu” Movie: "Thiruda Thiruda" directed by Mani Rathnam.

The song was all about A.R. Rahman’s rich music, Anupama’s dominant vocals and P.C. Sriram’s camera work. Later when the movie came out the rumor was that PC would use state of the art devices like akelaa cranes for the filming the song. Honestly I am yet to see a singer who could reproduce this song with perfection. The song format was western - verses and chorus. The chorus lines [male vocals] were done by Noel James. I was able to spot familiar sounds from Korg M1/O1W keyboards. Apart from the songs, the uncelebrated feature of the “Thiruda Thiruda” was Rahman’s Background music. The background score by Rahman was well above his all previous movies. For example the French horn theme sounds in Sivaji; Rahman had composed similar stuff way back for Thiruda Thiruda. This movie generated a lot of expectations in me and I was waiting eagerly for its Audio launch.

To conclude this part, following is a piece of advice, when you get to meet top people in any business or industry please! Do not miss the opportunity to talk; Make sure you use it to your potential. I still hate myself for being shy; I hate myself for fear of communication. My fears became factors that created a natural block for me to move forward. I was musically qualified and my sequencing and programming abilities were beyond most during that time, but my silent mode did not permit me to promote my skill set which in turn failed to create peers around me. Though I am happy where I am now, I still rue missing chances. The crude fact is I never got them again! At that time, I did not know that this was the last time I would meet “A.R. Rahman” in his studio.\


krishna said...

Nice posts,very nostalgic to look back at those days,when you heard a new release actualy gripping entire Tamil Nadu in a "musical storm"!!

Please continue posting,more technical,detailed analysis of your fav songs!!


Sam... said...


Very nice narration. I remember those days and the freshness I felt when I first heared the song 'Chinna Chinna Aasai'.

I still feel that freshness whenever I hear it.

Anyway, I remember meeting you (year 1994 or 1995)at your recording studio (or your recording setup in the first floor of your house - I guess - remember: India still has a ground floor).

At that time I was at HCL and one of my collegues (S.Sridhar) literally dragged me to meet you("Machee, come and have a look at the setup this guy has. He has a software called Cakewalk").

I remember you playing 'Oh Butterfly, Butterfly' in your keyboard. It was amazing. You allowed me to play one of my tunes in your keyboard too.

Couple of years after that, I remember Writer Sujatha mentioning about Cakewalk software in a weekly magazine. I remembered you and wondered 'whatever happend to Srikanth'...until I found your website in the early 2002.

But I honestly say this. You were way ahead of others in Music Technology (not just music) in those days. I do not know what is your studio setup now.

But it was very interesting to meet you.

Keep on writing..!