Meet the 34-year-old lyricist Vivek, who, in a short span, has captured the hearts of a lot of people.
He has worked with leading music composers including A R Rahman, Santhosh Narayanan, Anirudh Ravichander and Yuvan Shankar Raja. In 2018, his ‘Simtaangaran’ took social media by storm.
The lawyer-turned-lyricist has several projects lined up this year — he is teaming up with Rahman again for Vijay’s upcoming Thalapathy63 directed by Atlee; he is also part of Rajinikanth’s Darbar, Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru, Sivakarthikeyan’s sci-fi film (SK14), Vijay Sethupathi’s Sindhubaadh, and R Parthiepan’s Oththa Seruppu.
When we ask him about Thalapathy63, he says, “The lyrics for this film will be different.” But he won’t spare us more details, though he recalls an incident with Vijay. “When Sarkar released, Vijay anna spotted a video of me watching the film in a theatre, and messaged saying ‘mass’.
That’s how humble he is, and working with him is always a learning experience.”
The makings of an emotion
For Vivek, every song that he writes is an emotion. His words speak of love, passion, anger, ideas, motivation, and encouragement.
He says, “Every song that I have written till date is a fire that has been burning within me. Issues pertaining to caste and society make me angry, and I put that down in my songs,” he says.
He explains that lyric-writing is challenging. “You need to write what would gel with the audience. For instance, love is a theme that has been around for generations. But when you write about it now, you need to weave in fresh ideas that works with the younger audience.”
The song ‘Karuppi’ from Pariyerum Perumal is one such. “I was happy to be a part of the film,” he says. While lyric writing has changed over the last decade, and the number of songs in movies have dwindled, Vivek feels that songs won’t be wiped out of context in our films.
“Music and songs are a part of our lives. In our villages, farmer start sowing seeds with a song,” he says adding that we need to adapt to changing trends.
Vivek says that poetic songs are well received by the audience, and those depicting lives of people, specifically North Chennai, too work well. “When I was writing lyrics for Iravi, I was thinking how the word Manithi would sink in people’s minds. But the song was a hit,” he says.
Long lost friends
- Vivek and actor Sivakarthikeyan were classmates in school. Vivek recalls, “We studied together in Class 12. Both of us were silent kids. Once, after we made acquaintance through work, we were discussing our childhood, and about the school we studied. That’s when we realised we used to be classmates. It was a golden moment when he asked — ‘Oh, so you are that Vivek!’, and I responded, ‘Oh, you are that Siva!’…(laughs).”
So, how long does it take for him to pen a song? “Some [songs] take an hour,” he says, citing the example of ‘Aalaporaan Tamizhan’ from Mersal, which took him 90 minutes. “Some take a few days to write. I listen to the tunes and discuss with the music team. If one idea doesn’t work, I need to immediately rewrite it,” he says, adding, “Every song is a learning experience.”
Vivek prefers writing on paper. “I follow the traditional way of writing. Sometimes, if I can’t find my pen, I grab a pencil and start writing,” he laughs. “I always have a fear that I should do well when I sit down to write. My fear makes me perform,” he adds.
Vivek says that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work with director Mani Ratnam. “I’ve enjoyed watching his films right from childhood.” He adds: “Vairamuthu sir is my biggest inspiration, and I have read all his works. Madhan Karky is another person whose work I admire.”
What about women lyricists and new comers? “Thamarai ma’am, Parvathy (who penned lyrics for Adhe Kangal) and Umadevi…” he pauses, and adds, “Every lyricist is unique. I won’t be doing justice if I give a few names. One should appreciate everyone’s creative work.” Vivek prefers to live life simply. “I like to take one step at a time,” he says, before signing off.