Express press service
Over the past day, social media platforms have exploded with posts, reels, screenshots and music videos of “Jolly O Gymkhana”, the second single from Vijay-Nelson’s upcoming film Beast. The video, which has already garnered over 14 million views, thrust its lyricist Ku Karthik into the spotlight. The busy lyricist interrupts his writing work to tell us about the success of his latest single. “It’s a coincidence that Vijay sir’s 30th song as a singer appears in my 50th film,” says Karthik, an avowed fan of Vijay.
Although the lyricist may have shot to fame in 2016 after writing ‘Daavuya’ (by Remo) and ‘Guleba’ (Gulaebaghavali), he has been trying to find a place in the industry since 2005. I made my debut with Kavithavum Kannadasanum Kadhalika Poranga and then worked in director Vincent Selva’s Virumandikum Sivanandikum. But ‘Daavuya’ brought me to mainstream, thanks to Anirudh sir,” says Karthik, who later worked for films like Dora and Hara Hara Mahadevaki. Interestingly, his hit song, “Guleba”, composed by former Anirudh collaborators, Vivek-Mervin, featured the lines “Jolly O Gymkhana”. “I often worked with Anirudh monsieur who even sang my songs in songs by other composers like “I Want a Girl” by Dhanusu Raasi Neyargale. I’m glad my 50th movie is with him and my favorite actor Vijay sir.
It wasn’t until Karthik went to Anirudh’s studio to write the lines for “Jolly O Gymkhana” that he learned that Vijay could sing the song. “We know the range of Vijay sir songs and it gets even better when he sings with his voice. We wanted to make a fun song with elements of the current trend. Unlike people who used to hear songs on TV and radio, today’s generation watches them on the internet and we were keen to cater to that crowd,” says Karthik.
“We wanted all the messages to be communicated in a fun way. We stuck to simple words and decided that ‘Jolly O Gymkhana’ as a catchphrase would sound good with similar words like ‘raasamma’ and ‘ramamma’. Vijay sir films are pan-Indian and his films are watched even by those who do not speak our language. We thought “Jolly O Gymkhana” would intrigue them. The response, unsurprisingly, was overwhelming. “Vijay sir fans bombarded my phone with messages. Ani sir team informed me that Vijay sir said he wanted to sing such a track for a long time now. They promised I would get the chance to meet him. I’m waiting for this moment,” says Karthik.
The lyricist explains that director Nelson just wanted a nice bit. “He and Ani sir like to maintain a cheerful vibe around them. This mood is contagious and is reflected in the song. I finished the song in 30 minutes. A Vijay track with messages is usually reserved for intro songs, but the lyric video that was released suggests a post-credits track, something akin to the Doctor song. “I don’t really know about the placement of the song. I will be forever grateful to be part of a Vijay song.
I celebrated his films at the cinema and had no idea that I would one day write his 30th song. As a Vijay Sir fan, I can’t wait for Beast to unleash,” says Karthik. “Already the first song (“Arabic Kuthu”, written by Sivakarthikeyan) went viral and even though when I was roped in, the first song wasn’t released, we knew it was going to be a raging hit. But, I I was also sure that if Mr. Ani had approved my song, it would be on some level. I also thought about the song from a fan’s perspective. There were no do’s and don’ts. do, and I had complete freedom.
As the conversation drifts away from the Beast single, Karthik is happy with how techs are getting their credit these days. “I grew up watching movies just for the hero and not even knowing the rest of the cast. But today people notice techies like sound designers and editors. It’s a healthy trend, and it also adds more accountability,” says Karthik, who believes in making sure the producers’ investment is taken into consideration when carrying out the work. “Vaali sir has done a great job of balancing that. might criticize the lyrics we use these days, but that’s always been the case in the industry. We grew up hearing songs like ‘Vaa vaathiyaare oottanda, nee varaangaatti naan uda maatten’. If a song helps promote a movie, there’s nothing wrong with filling the lyrics with sellable lines.
The lyricist, who has written over 120 songs, is also famous for his independent singles like “Orasaadha” and “Asku Maaro”. “There was a time when movies had 15 to 20 songs and then it would shrink to five or six. Nowadays, there are even films without songs, as the use of montage songs has increased. It all boils down to what the story demands and people welcome that idea. So indie music is the way to go and the reception it’s getting is tremendous. Those shot abroad cost the budget of a film shot here. But as long as people in our country love music, it will be a major aspect of movies and I hope it will remain so,” Karthik concludes.