I WROTE THE KABALI TEASER SONG ‘NERUPPUDA’ IN 20 MINUTES- Arunraja Kamaraj
by RINKU GUPTA
When it’s a Rajinikanth film, records are usually broken. And the Rajini effect has already started manifesting itself. The Kabali Teaser, released on May Day already broke records crossing 5 million clicks within 25 hours, making it the highest ever for an Indian film. Even as we speak, the hits are going up. One of the highlights of the teaser is the first line of the Neruppuda song which is raising the heat with the words, ‘Neruppu da, Nerungu da’. We decided to catch up with the man behind the song, ARUNRAJA KAMARAJ, the singer and lyricist of the song.
Little did Arunraja ever imagine that he would one day write a song for the Superstar himself and then also get to sing it. Neither did he expect that that particular song lyric would be used in the first look teaser of this much-awaited film. Now post May Day, life has changed completely for Arunraja. “My life is now divided into the Pre-Kabali teaser and Post Kabali teaser period. I was a mimicry artist who started out with my best pal Sivakartikeyan in Kalakkapovadha Yaaru. I’ve acted in a couple of films like Maan Karate and Raja Rani. I’ve been lyricist for around 25 songs and sung 9 songs including Neruppuda for Kabali. But never in my life has anything hit me like the wave of attention I’ve got ever since the teaser came out at 11 am on May 1st! Friends, industrywallahs and social media are all reaching out to me. My twitter following increased from 4800 to 7500 after I sung the Theri Dubstep song for Vijay. Now post Neruppuda, my following has jumped to 8500 in just one day! Most people are surprised that i have written this song,” grins Arunraja. He is one of the few singer-lyricists in the Tamil film industry and Arunraja has only praise for his mentor Santhosh Narayanan who introduced him to Kollywood with his first film, the unreleased Uyir Mozhi and then Pizza, “Santhosh was my senior at JJ College of Engineering Technology, Trichy and Sivakarthikeyan was my classmate. We were fans of Santhosh’s music even back then. My entry into music happened by chance. Santhosh and all of us thought of bringing out a music album. Each had something to do except me so I said I’d write the song and sing it too since I couldn’t do anything else! Santhosh encouraged me and when Pizza happened, he called me and asked me to write two songs. I haven’t looked back since and I owe it all to him.”
Music director Santhosh Narayanan, also roped him in when he was doing the music for Kabali. Arunraja never in his wildest dreams imagined he’d be doing a Rajinikanth film, “Director Pa Ranjith is also a friend of mine. Santhosh arranged a meeting between us. Ranjith later told me ‘I came to the meeting thinking I would say ‘No’ to you, but you made me say ‘Yes’. Ranjith told me to write lyrics enhancing the appeal of the hero, Rajini. I was nervous but in a split second I decided, that if I miss this once in a lifetime opportunity my life is finished. I’ve grown up watching Rajini sir and so I imagined what my reaction would be as a fan, to a don like Baasha and just wrote Neruppu Da right in front of Ranjith, in just 20 minutes. Normally I take a few days or even a week or a month to write a song. This was the fastest song I’ve ever written. Ranjith loved it and later Santhosh told me to come and record it.”
Arunraja had to keep the song hush hush though, “Santhosh told me not to reveal it even to my wife. He would say to me ‘you are going to become world famous after this song. Are you ready for it.’ I didn’t know my lyrics would be used in the teaser and his words would come true like this!” says Arunraja.
His bestie, Sivakarthikeyan got very emotional when the teaser was breaking records, “Siva is both my close friend, as well as a big Rajini fan. He told me, ‘the recognition you got for Theri was due to your hard work. Your victory for Kabali I see as my personal victory,” discloses Arunraja.
Arunraja’s next step is to request for a meeting with Rajinikanth and get his blessings. “I can write for anyone but writing and singing for Superstar’s film is a rare opportunity which for me is like getting a Grammy Award.”