Simbu might have invited unwarranted criticism when he first embarked on his ambitious project, The Love Anthem, but today he's having the last laugh as Akon flew in to namma Chennai to record the song and shake a leg with him Today, I am a different person. I feel no competition or jealousy anymore. Truly, feel blessed at all that the world has given me even during my lows. I want to give back to the world now 

Simbu is no push-over and brushing aside some of the negative press about his Love Anthem in the past, he says, “Lots was said about the anthem, the timing of it then and my US trip. But to all the backbiters and small minds who belittle me, the proof is in the music,” he laughs. STR who wrote the Love Anthem in 96 different national and international languages encountered some unpleasant comparisons and mocking, but his fans stood firmly behind him and the video’s teaser went viral online. He opens up, “It wasn’t easy dealing with such baseless criticism, but I have my fans and family to thank for the continued support. My only aim was to bring out a song for peace. There is so much going on in the world today and we, the youth have so much power to change the way we live, progress and protect our own...” 

Having completed 28 long years in the industry (he started off as a child artiste when he was just nine months old), Simbu says, “Honest work always gets recognition. I knew one thing when I started acting as an adult — that I wouldn’t want to do anything that would embarrass my parents. 
Films don’t appeal to me because of my role in it or plush locales that they are shot at, they have to have a larger message for the society. 

Meaning doesn’t emerge from off beat films alone, even commercial flicks can have a message. Than people calling me as great actor, I want people to say he is a great human being and that would be the biggest achievement in my life.” Talking fondly of Akon, he says, “I have read about him in the past. 

In fact meeting him far exceeded my expectations. 

As an actor I can gauge star quality and he is one person who has real star quality and warmth. When I wrote this song, I only had him in mind to collaborate with. As soon as I pitched it to him he was thrilled. Even when the song is out I'm sure his fan base will increase in Tamil Nadu.

“ Was he nervous? “I was very nervous. Obviously, he is such a talented musician and I didn't know how he would react. The minute he landed, so much was running through my head -`will he like my lyrics', `will he want to change them’ and if he will be easy to work with,” he says and continues, “The minute we met he was so warm and suggested we get to work right away. But I told him let’s shoot from Monday and not Sunday. He was cool. He didn’t have any tantrums or airs about himself.” So, did he change the lyrics? “None whatsoever. He said he loved the lyrics as they were. Akon found depth and passion in the lyrics. I can’t tell you how touched I am by his generosity in helping me live my dream. My dream was always to give back something to the world. This track is that medium. I want to promote peace.“ He adds, “Akon always introduces himself by announcing his name or the artistes featured in his music and he introduced me too by saying `Akon and STR' without me even asking for it.

“ Over biryani and other south Indian dishes, Akon tuned into STR's spiritual side. Friends close to STR say that the actor is deeply spiritual and off late has been in an introspective mood. Prod Simbu a little and he opens up, “I am not the same Simbu. Life and my close family have taught me to pursue my dreams no matter what the outcome. I feel no competition or jealousy anymore. I am truly happy if people are doing well. I am so very proud of Dhanush for all that he has achieved. The comparisons people draw mean nothing to the both of us. My main concentration is to better myself as a human being.“ And what prompted this sudden reflection? “My graph if you look at it carefully is a self-made one. Yes I have been fortunate to have supportive parents who have some exposure to the film industry, but I have worked incredibly hard. As a youngster it took a while for people to take me seriously. My talent spoke for itself but to get that talent noticed wasn’t easy. So, in this long journey I have realised that the strength one seeks is within us, the God that we all look to for protection is around us. We need to put out good to receive good.” If the song bombs, will you still be happy? “Yes, of course. Commercial success perhaps drives a newbie, but to me it’s about doing the right thing.  

The world has given me so much and let me trump every trough in my life. This is my dedication to the world. The song is all about loving each other and having no space for hate or animosity.”
Published In Deccan Chronicle Daily English News Paper Dated 8-MAY-2013