After being part of the industry for 35 years, Sivamani turns music director
SIVAMANI is renowned for making music with just about anything—from pots and pans to a myriad range of musical instruments. Having worked with music directors like M S Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja and A R Rahman, the percussionist is now ready to compose music himself. While he will make his debut with Arima Nambi, he has already finished work on his second film, Kanidhan. “Arima Nambi has five songs, mostly romantic. I could not really put my drums to good use in it. However, in Kanidhan, which has four songs with fast beats, I have utilised my drums. In both movies, the music is situational,” says Sivamani, who learned to play the violin before he mastered the drums. “My father, S M Anandan, is a percussionist and he taught me to play the violin and then I learned the harmonium. Later, I jumped to drums because I love the instrument. I know all the raagas and I have helped several music directors finish tunes,” he adds.
Before venturing into music direction, Sivamani attended the Kodambakkam University—his name for the Tamil film industry. “Whatever I have learned is from this industry. So, before starting off, I met Ilaiyaraaja and the others to take their blessings. I must have worked on more than 100 songs in this industry already,” says the composer, who gets nostalgic about his best moment in life. “It was A R Rahman’s first concert and I was performing with him. I met Rishi Kapoor in a restaurant. He came and hugged me and said I should work with RK Productions. He also gave me cash, saying, ‘let that be your advance’,” says Sivamani. The newly-minted music director is also simultaneously working on opening his ‘ashram’ in Pollachi. “It will be a school for the underprivileged and I will teach music there. The school will follow the gurukulam format,” he says, adding, “I will continue to perform and work with music directors. I am a free bird, who needs no home, just music.”
— Mrinalini Sundar