CHENNAI: When Tamil kuthu number ‘Nakka Mukka’ was performed at the opening ceremony of the ICC World Cup 2011 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, alongside performances by Bryan Adams, Sonu Nigam and Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, its music composer Vijay Antony was least aware of it.
“I was busy recording in my studio and had no clue about it, when I started getting text messages and calls from my friends. Honestly, I could not even fathom how big the international cricket arena was and how grand its opening ceremony would be, because I have never really taken interest the game. But when the news sank in, I was thrilled,” says the composer, who has earned himself the title ‘Nakka Mukka’ Vijay Antony, after the song from ‘Kadhalil Vizhunthen’ became an instant hit and garnered huge publicity for the film.
Tamil kuthu music has been going places in the recent past. The popular Appadi Podu crossed the boundaries of Tamil Nadu to set an example of ‘national integration’ with Abhishek Bachchan grooving to it in the Moto rokr ad.
“It has taken a while for Tamil kuthu to go international. Bhangra and Dandia music is remixed and played at pubs and has gained international recognition. That even Tamil kuthu has a local flavour, a street element to it, is being recognised only of late. I learnt that ‘Nakka Mukka’ is a popular song at military camps as well,” says Vijay Antony.
He adds, “It is a common notion that while composing Tamil folk music, you must use only traditional percussion instruments such as murasu, muzham, udukkai and tattai. But I wanted to innovate and improvise, while keeping the soul of Tamil folk music intact. Which is why, while composing ‘Nakka Mukka’, I used my keyboard.”
‘Nakka Mukka’ went on to win the 2009 Cannes Golden Lion Award in the Best of Music category. Vijay Antony is currently wrapping up the shooting of Naan, which he says will release by June this year.
“I am also composing for ‘Velayudham’, ‘Yuvan Yuvathi’ and an untitled film by Prabhu Deva with Vishal playing the lead,” he reveals.
So, can we expect more kuthu numbers?
“As a music director I want to experiment with different genres of music. Besides kuthu songs like ‘Aatichudi’ and ‘Yen uchchi mandayila’, I have also given melodies like ‘Aval appadi ondrum azhagillai’ and ‘Un thalai mudi’. So I will continue to make music that people like listening to,” he signs off.