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Chitchat with Devi Sri Prasad
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Devi Sri Prasad won the recent filmfare award for his music in Varsham film. On this eve Devi Sri Prasad met with press for chitchat. Here are the excerpts -

24th July 2005

Who are you indebted to for your success in films?
MS Raju is the man who recognized the talent in me and gave the chance of music direction for Devi film. I was 17 years old then. He helped me realizing my dream of becoming music director. The next highlight in my career came in form of Varsham, which was also produced by MS Raju. I got tremendous appreciation for different tunes given to MS Raju's NVNV. I am working for MS Raju's Pournami now.

There are no musical hits from you after NVNV. What is the reason?
Unfortunately the film has to be good for music to get popular. I gave extraordinary work for Sontham film. But the film was bombed and all the efforts put for music has gone in vain. Arya's music is great and the film is also great. Hence music helped film to increase it's commercial range. Making film is a team work and the end-result would depend on how good audiences receive the film.

We are not talking about box office fate of the films. We are asking about the quality of music that has gone down after NVNV? What about Andarivadu music. It was not received too well?
There should be right situations for music to blend in the film. There are no situations for any of the songs in Andarivadu and hence they did not blend in. I feel that the songs should become integral part of narration. It worked for NVNV. After that I did not get the sort of films that has blending-in-songs.

Penning lyrics by music directors is bit strange. How did you manage it?
Whenever I compose a tune, I start with some words which are relevant to the situation. And all my songs would start with the words I composed irrespective of who the lyricist is. Let me explain how 'Chaila Chaila' song happened in Shankar Dada MBBS. This song is about hero singing a song on love and narrating it as flashback in hospital backdrop. Hence I decided to mix medical related terms with flowery language. If you listen to lyrics, you get words like Gulabi (love), pulse rate (medical), heartbeat (medical) etc. When I composed tune with my own words, Chiranjeevi liked it instantly. He asked me to pen the lyrics. And Jayant also insisted on it. I also added some message in the song as that message would carry lots of weight if Chiranjeevi gives it. I wrote words like 'Odopovatam tappukadura, chachipovadam tappu sodara'. Chiranjeevi did lots of improvisation to the lyrics. He is the one who added 'ammailanu champatam neram' (referring to Vijayawada Srilakshmi's gruesome murder).

Chiranjeevi suggested you in the 100 days function of Bunny that you should decrease number of commitments so as to give more qualitative output. What is your reaction?
Yes. I am currently being very selective. At present, I am doing only Pournami film. There was a mix up in this year, as NVNV and Naa Alludu which were supposed to be released in September and November respectively got postponed to January. With new commitments in January, things got mixed up.

Whenever I commit a film I ask the producer about the release date so that I could plan backward, as I had to start rerecording a month before release. When the release dates change, my work and schedules get upset. Hence there was a few days delay from me in providing songs to films. Who would reject when you get offers like Bhadra, Bunny and Andarivadu?

The quality of the songs would also depend on how much liberty the producer gives to me. MS Raju gives lots of liberty. He never puts pressure on me.

You seem to be doing music for only big films. Don't you consider small films?
Oka Oorilo was a small film. In fact I was hospitalized due to fatigue a month back. I got the instruments set up in Hospital to score background music of Oka Oorilo film.

Who is your inspiration to become music director?
I am obsessed with the music of Ilayaraja since I was kid. I think all the music directors who entered industry after Ilayaraja are fans of him. Ilayaraja gave new dimension to rerecording in our films. With his exceptionally good rerecording, he popularized that process.

You seem to be having a limited group of singers in your songs. Aren't those voices becoming monotonous as your film count increases?
Yes. I feel comfortable with them and they are like my friends. They work during any odd time. But I would like to introduce new singers. I am looking forward for new talents and I will make sure that my next album Pournami will have lots of freshness in terms of voices. In fact, I introduced Malathi in Telugu and see how popular she is now.

I give more preference to hard work than talent. Talent is something inborn. You need to be just lucky to be born talented. But working hard is something which you develop on your own.

How do you manage to excel in singing, dancing, lyrics, music direction and stage performance?
When I am performing on stage, I feel that I am Michael Jackson. When I am scoring music, I feel that I am Ilayaraja. When you assume the position of the best in that field, you would get amazing confidence.

What parameters do you take in consideration while scoring music for a film?
First I look at the six situations I am supposed score songs for. I understand the characterizations of hero and heroine. I also look for locations of the songs and continuity of the locations of the songs with respect to the lead scenes and the scenes that follow later.

How are you doing in Tamil film industry?
I scored for a couple of films called Mayavi and Sachin. The music topped the charts. But unfortunately the results of movies are not encouraging enough. I am doing the remake of Varsham and I plan to use almost all the original tunes in Tamil version as well.

How important is orchestration in scoring music?
If the tune is heart of the song, I feel that orchestration is the body that compasses all the parts. Orchestration is one thing that differentiates one music director from another. Most of the music directors tend to ignore this part. I feel Ilayaraja is the best when it come to orchestration.

Are you planning any pop album?
I did the pop album Mr. Devi before entering films. It was very hard as a teenager for me to promote that album. I waited at the gates of Gemini TV office for 3 months to meet the right guy. But could not get any contact. Fortunately my father Satyanand is a writer in films and Allu Arvind is our family friend. We got Pawan Kalyan to release the audio album of Mr. Devi.

I was fortunate to have such contacts. But there are many youngsters in AP today who want to sing do not get opportunities. Not everybody can enter film's playback singing. Pop album is an alternative option. But the pop culture here is not developed. Smita has made a difference with her albums by promoting pop culture. But there it needs to be exploited lot further. I am planning to do a pop album very soon. If pop culture catches up with the youth, there would be lots of opportunities for youngsters who want to become singers to do pop albums.

What's your take on remix albums?
I like remix albums. But I do not want to do them. I might do a remix album of my own popular songs. I already scored remix of Nuvvostanante from Varsham.

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