A few seconds into the conversation and you realise with relief, Vinayak Sasikumar is still unaffected. All that new fame has not gone to his young head. Not yet 23, he speaks like a college goer, laughs easily at his follies and what he calls his teen immaturities. A lot has changed, he believes, from the first time he began writing lyrics as a boy of 12 or 13. Thirteen films for which he wrote songs have come, from the time of Kutteem Kolum to these days of The Great Father. There is still Godha to come, and an untitled film by director Syamdhar starring Mammootty.
“The last work you do will always be your favourite. But I have an old favourite too — Vaadyaghosham, an album song of Kerala, sung by Sujatha, composed by Murali Ramanathan,” says Vinayak over the phone from Chennai. He works there now as a data scientist, he says. Song writing has always happened on the side of his studies, and now his job. It hadn’t begun as songs, his writing. They were short stories till one birthday his mother bought him a piano.
Vinayak began composing songs, and for those, he needed lyrics. So he wrote them. Songs like ‘Azhage nee ennen arikil varum’. Once 10th and 12th came and public exams happened, Vinayak kept the piano away. When he got back, it was to penning lyrics. “There are so many composers but very few lyricists.” By then, he felt confident to work in cinema, and made that famous phone call to Guinness Pakru asking him a chance to write lyrics. “That’s rare, because most people call asking chances to act and assist in direction. So he was curious. Asked me to email something I wrote.” And Kutteem Kolum happened.
There was college in between, at Loyola in Chennai, days when he made songs with his friend Vishnu Syam. Days when both of them, huge fans of Vidyasagar, would wait outside the music composer’s house everyday for hours, only to see him go out in his car. Once for Vidyasagar’s birthday, they bought a card and finally met the man, expressed their desires, Vishnu to assist him and Vinayak to write a song for him. That dream came true for both of them, and a non-film song he wrote for Vidyasagar would soon come.
He loves musicians and music from generation ago. “I may belong to this generation but I love the old music.” But old ways had changed in film music and Vinayak learnt to write for situations, a travel song for Neelakasham, a Christmas song for Guppy — Gabrielinte — which carol groups picked to sing last Christmas. That’s the kind of acceptance that makes him happy. “There is now a new film called E, which has a semi classical song among three I wrote lyrics for, I am waiting for it to come out.”...