In Pic : Pravin Mani , ARR & Director Dharani
â€œThis is the new spiritual me,â€ announces the man who has lost over 12 kilos over the last year. â€œMoving by the beach has helped me become more spiritual,â€ he adds and bursts into a laugh as I point to the cigarette in his hand band and ask: â€œReally?â€
Before we begin start the interview, I ask him why he does things he does not like, especially film music thatâ€™s not his type. â€œDoesnâ€™t my the label tell you? â€” Moâ€™ Mani Music â€” tell you? Show me the money,â€ he laughs, â€œI would like to keep my house by the beach.â€
Now, thatâ€™s more like the candid Pravin Mani I know. He has absolutely no problems cracking a joke at his own expense and with blatant disregard for political correctness.
Music producer, composer and sound engineer, Pravin has finally decided to settle down in a house by the beach in Palavakkam, after shuttling up and down between India and Canada every six months for the last decade.
â€œMy wife Zarine and kids Jaz and Zane Mani live in Canada but my workload and commitments here have increased. So itâ€™s been a difficult decision and I try my best to visit them when I can.â€
Zap, his cocker spaniel and best friend, obliges him for a photo-shoot before we settle down for a chat in his studio.
â€œItâ€™s like coming back a full circle. I left Chennai in 1989 to study audio engineering and post-production in Australia. I was doing only English stuff back then, largely rock, playing and touring with a band called Party Pigs for five years. Life got boring on the road. That time, we didnâ€™t have the technology and our exposure was limited to hotel rooms and guitars. One fine day, I decided to join a recording studio as an in-house engineer and got involved with R&B, hip-hop and jazz working for Sony, EMI and Virgin before I was signed on by Warner Chappell Publishing. They moved me to Canada.â€
Before Pravin shifted to Canada in 1998, he was in India for three months when he decided to reconnect with his old friend A.R. Rahman. â€œI met Rahman in 1995 when he had come to Australia while composing for â€˜Indian.â€™ He had asked me to play for him back then. So I contacted him when I was in India and did a song called â€˜Jumbalakkaâ€™ and then a couple of more songs.â€
But his brief stint in India helped him to collaborate and work with many artistes including Vasundara Das, Srinivas and Suresh Peters and he signed a five album deal with Magnasound. â€œBasically, I kept getting more and more work here that inevitably I had to set up a studio here as well. I was happy to be associated with Rahman A.R. and felt at home.â€
Beyond the studio
After meeting with a stupendous response for with his Michael Jackson tribute concert and the A.R. Rahman special, tribute concerts, Pravin is now putting together The Pink Floyd Experience by the beach, teaming up with friends this summer. â€œWe do these shows purely for satisfaction and to help underprivileged children,â€ he says with great earnestness.