An Exclusive Interview With RGV's Music Director Ravi Shankar

By - December 17, 2019 - 02:00 PM IST

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Ravi Shankar, the music director who has been working as a court musician for RGV Company since 2014 has now gone international working closely for a music album with Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and with RGV again for the Indo-Chinese project “Enter The Girl Dragon”. He has shared his views and experiences in an exclusive interview with iQlikmovies.com.

1.When did your journey with music start? What aspects of music did you learn first? What made you choose music as your career?

My journey started when I was in the seventh standard when my father made me join Guitar classes. In that process, I developed an interest in music and when I reached my tenth, I learned Hindustani Tabla. That helped me strengthen my basics strongly.  Gradually, playing Guitar and Tabla I joined an orchestra. My work was appreciated everywhere and people started taking notice.

2. What did you do before getting a break in films?

Within a short span, I got a lot of recognition as a Guitar, Tabla player in Visakhapatnam and the development was rapid. I worked with all the orchestra teams in Visakhapatnam. Eventually, I joined an international group and they took me to Dubai, Singapore, and other African countries. A good friend of mine Mr. Veerabhadra Rao advised me to shift to Chennai so I shifted my base there. There I joined with Mr. Jiyanand and his orchestra. In that process, I got to work with Mr. Vasudeva Rao, Koti Garu, Mani Sharma Garu as a drums player. I started doing international tours including America and finally stepped into the film industry. 

3. What was your first film job? And when did you become a music director?

After entering the film industry, I started learning keyboard sequencing, rhythm sequencing and worked under Mr. Saluri Vasudeva Rao. I started working on a lot of TV serials. Rao Garu introduced me to Koti Garu and I worked with Koti Garu for some of his films. All this happened in Chennai and by that time, the Telugu film industry had already shifted to Hyderabad. After coming to Hyderabad, I got a chance with R P Patnaik Garu as a rhythm box player. We did nearly 10 movies together. After that, I got to work with seniors like Chakri, Sreelekha, Vandemataram Srinivas, Ghantadi Krishna as a keyboard player, rhythm box player. I got good recognition as a film technician and I worked for nearly 150 movies like that. But then, I always had a strong desire to become a music director. At that time, I happened to meet noted director V Samudra of ‘Simha Raasi’ ‘Yevadaithe Naakenti’  ‘Vijayaramaraju’ fame. He listened to my demo tracks and promised me an opportunity. He then started a project ‘Chandi’ featuring Sarath Kumar, Krishnamraju, Priyamani. This was a big movie with scope for heavy Re-Recording, songs. That was my first break. I got a good appreciation for my work and then got to work with other directors.

4. What has been making you work so continuously with RGV?

I have always wanted to work with a legend like RGV so I approached a friend and through him, I met RGV. Initially, he gave me one song in ‘Attack’. I composed it, he liked it very much and gave me another song. During that process, my interaction with him drew me more towards his style of working and his creative process. That was a wonderful experience. Eventually, I composed all the six songs and the background score for ‘Attack’ and that’s when I got a complete recognition. After that, I started working with him continuously and did projects like - Attack, Vangaveeti, Killing Veerappan, Bhairava Geetha, Sarkar 3, Beautiful, Amma Rajyamlo Kadapa Biddalu, a web series namely ‘Guns And Thighs’. The journey still continues and I am glad I am part of it.

5. How do you rate your experience with RGV on a scale of 1 to 10?  What are the advantages and disadvantages you faced while working for RGV?

After knowing RGV, there are no advantages and disadvantages. Working with him is only advantageous. He is a legendary filmmaker of India and every movie I did for him, I have learned something new. Even now, when I do RR for a film or compose music he keeps teaching me how to do something new and innovative. Rating him from 1 to 10 is not possible since I keep learning from him constantly and he is above and beyond that. 

6. What is the job satisfaction level you had with RGV?

When I wanted to work in Bollywood, I decided to move to Mumbai and even my friend and colleague Sirasri also encouraged me. He told RGV that I wanted to move to Mumbai and RGV said okay. I went alone leaving my family here. He took care of my accommodation. That’s when ‘Sarkar 3’ started. I was wondering if he would give me a chance to compose for that and in an unexpected way, I composed a song. RGV shared it with Amitabh Bachchan sir and even he liked it and even now I have composed for ‘Beautiful-An Ode to Rangeela’ wherein very good songs are there. My latest is ‘Enter The Girl Dragon’ an Indo-Chinese venture. Since I worked with him continuously I got this chance so I am very thankful to RGV, Company Team. In this journey, I got very close to Sirasri and we work together. Even he has been encouraging me constantly so overall I am very satisfied with my working for RGV.

7. When and why did you shift permanently to Mumbai?

I always wanted to do Bollywood movies because during my international tours, I used to play a lot of Hindi songs and they got registered in my mind. Also, I am fluent in Hindi and I figured that if I met RGV and if he gives me a chance then I can step into Bollywood. While doing ‘Killing Veerappan’ RGV left for Mumbai and that’s when I expressed my thoughts to him and lyricist Sirasri also put in a word. RGV said okay and called me there. Today, I am living in Mumbai with my family and doing several other projects as well.

8. What else you did in Mumbai apart from working for RGV's films?

After coming to Mumbai, I worked with the legendary singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Saab from Pakistan. It was my first song and I am the first music director to work with him in entire South India. The song got released in T-series audio and got an overwhelming response. I am taking part in their projects and these songs will be releasing soon. Biggest credit for that goes to RGV as he gave me the break. By the way, the song rendered by Rahat Saab is titled ‘Dil Jaafraan’ and it has reached 47 million hits.

9. What are your future goals? What do you actually want to achieve?

I am doing multi-lingual a lot these days. I have projects in Bollywood, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and one big international project which is Indo-Chinese production. I love world music and since I learned Hindustani and Carnatic I am comfortable with all languages. I am very happy with my present stint and my next release is in Kannada. I am not restricted to a region, I am fluent in Hindi, English as well as south Indian languages so my dream is to spread my music across the four corners of this nation. The international project is RGV’s ‘Enter the Dragon Girl’. We went to China with the crew and the shooting went well. We recorded a song in China and it was a great experience.

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