The audio launch of upcoming Tamil film Kanavu Variyam had a lot of big names in attendance. From non-cinema guests like Tamil Nadu’s favourite weatherman Pradeep John, and the creator of the rupee symbol D Udaya Kumar, to celebrated filmmaker Barathiraja and singer Sirgazhi Siva Chidambaram attending, the audio launch had long speeches followed by little tidbits about science.
Amidst all the thank yous and praises, the man of the hour was music composer Shyam Benjamin. “I’m used to this,” he tells Silverscreen, informing us that it is his second audio launch. “A year back, I had attended my first audio launch for Kalavu Thozhirchalai. But now, I’m accustomed to it.”
Apart from winning international accolades – Kanavu Variyam won the Platinum Remi for Best Independent Theatrical Feature Film – the film also has Warner Brothers Pictures’ backing for distribution. It’s evident everyone in the team is a little nervous, hopeful even. “I don’t really feel pressurised though. The film wasn’t made with that in mind,” Shyam confidently smiles.
Contrary to what the film’s songs portray, especially ‘Kalla Manna’, Kanavu Variyam isn’t a children’s movie. “The film is set in a village and demanded songs featuring children playing around. It isn’t difficult to see where I get my inspiration from,” he adds. To Shyam, Ilayaraja is god. “I’ve heard of all his songs and love 70 per cent!”
Working with children demands immense patience, but he isn’t new to it. “I have a part-time job as a music teacher in a school. In fact, I selected some kids from my school for some of the songs in the movie,” he reveals. The challenging part, however, are the babies, he says. “But I had fun. Some of the kids participating are my friends’ children so it was interesting.”
Shyam’s inspiration might lie in Ilayaraja but the reason for him getting into music is all thanks to AR Rahman. “I used to buy his cassettes on the first day of its release, soon after which I moved to piano. The more I listen to him and his works, the more I’m in awe. He’s the reason why I took up being a musician,” he tells us.
Currently, this music composer has an untitled project with the director of Kalavu Thozhirchalai T Krishnasami. “But honestly, I’m not looking to completely foray into cinema, it’s just one of the things I like and do. I want to be a musician and want to constantly associate myself with music,” he says.
Kanavu Variyam is directed by and stars newcomer Arun Chidambaram, along with Jiya Shankar, and Black Pandy. The film is bankrolled by DCKAP Productions.