Devi Sri Prasad, music director
Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan may be shaking legs to the tunes of 'Ringa ringa' these days, but the fact is they are over a year behind. Music lovers in Andhra Pradesh are smitten by yet another breezy Devi chartbuster, a '100 Per Cent Love' track that blends classic violin with the melody of a mandolin to define the modern equation between a man and a woman that is infatuation.
“I have always loved maths, it has helped in getting the right combo,” says Devi Sri Prasad, the man behind this romantic brainwave. For a layman, mathematics and music appear as far removed from each other as Mars from Venus. But the hit song from the Nag Chaitanya-starrer '100% Love' expresses the chemistry in pure maths lingo. “The film’s director Sukumar was a maths lecturer and is a poet too. He was the one who came up with the idea of a song based on maths,” says the young music director.
Devi, as he is popularly known, has been in Tollywood for a little over a decade though he is just 30. A disciple of mandolin player U Srinivas, he’s very different from the other music directors. “At school, I used to learn Kabir dohas and other such stuff and compose my own tune for them,” he recalls.
That early training seems to have put him in good stead. Hard as it may seem to believe, in many cases, he doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to one hour to compose a song. “If the director is clear in his head, my job becomes even simpler. Sometimes, I compose the tune in my mind as the director starts narrating the subject. That’s why recently, Suku (Sukumar) was joking that I compose some tunes in the shortest possible time and one among that somehow works,” he says.
What sets apart Devi from other music directors is not just his spontaneity. He has, over the years, perfected the art of composing item songs. In recent times, 'Ringa ringa' from 'Aarya 2' caught the attention of not only film-goers in Andhra Pradesh but also of those in Mumbai. The hugely popular number, which has been incorporated in Salman Khan’s yet to be released 'Ready', was the product of a “casual hum”. “It just happened. I was just casually singing the tune 'hey ringa ringa ringa...' and the director was mighty impressed and said the tune was just terrific,” the young man explains.
How does he view the song’s popularity in Bollywood?
“Of course I am excited that it’s being received jolly well even in Bollywood. Not only has Shah Rukh performed for the song during the IPL inaugural, Akshay Kumar also performed on the song at a family wedding. When the Ready team invited me for the audio release, I was a bit nervous. But when I actually started singing and dancing, they were all surprised and joined me,” he says.
With its success, a few Bollywood offers have come Devi’s way. But he doesn’t prefer offering scores for one or two songs. “Either I do the complete project or nothing at all,” Devi says.
With projects like director Hari’s 'Vengai' (Tamil), Naga Chaitanya’s 'Kamakshi'
(Telugu), and Junior NTR’s movie directed by Surrender Reddy (Telugu), Devi is one of the few Telugu music directors who have tasted similar success in the Tamil film industry as well.“That’s because I think they just do the dubs. My approach is different. For me, lyrics matter and if you have a language barrier, you can’t get the right lyrics,” he points out. In Telugu, he doesn’t bite more than he can chew. He takes a maximum of five projects at a time. The ambitious director is game for acting too but is yet to get the right opportunity. He may well get one since in his own words he won’t stop till he gets enough.(ENS)
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