Thursday, 24 June 2010

His words..His silence..

The chubby faced actor said this recently in a TV show:

“My father was very close to him. They would have friendly banters and quarrels now and then. One day, he landed up at our house early in the morning and said he wanted to see my father.My father was sleeping upstairs and I called him on the phone through the phone using the extension button.My father refused to see him.When I told him this, he smiled and said ‘Oh..he is still angry with me. Doesn’t matter. Please tell him that I am going to the US and will be back after a month. I came to say Bye to him..".

"But he never returned.This happened in 1981.My father was alive for another 10 years and not a single day passed without my father saying ‘He came to see me the last time.But I didn’t see him.. How bad on my part! ”

The ‘He’ here is Kannadasan.

Friendly banters and fighting with friends were not new to this gentleman. But the best part is he would do this only with a select few ‘just for the fun of it’.

Once he and Shivaji had a fight and both were not on talking terms.But he continued to write for his movies.That was the time when the Shivaji-Bheemsingh-Kannadasan-Viswanathan-Ramamurthy combination was at its peak.He wrote a song and asked MSV to show it to Shivaji.It seems Shivaji started crying the moment he read the pallavi.

The song was:
‘Ennai Yaarendru Enni Enni nee paarkiRai..Idhu Yaar Paadum paadalenru nee ketkiRai..’

MSV sir and Kannadasan too had a very special relationship.Their composing sessions were a treat to watch.It seems MSV would tell him ‘What are you writing anne..Even I can write better’ and Kannadasan in turn would say ‘You are not able to set my song to tune and are shifting the blame’.Both would even use unprintable language. But the session would end with one praising the other.Their mutual admiration was something that cannot be described in words.

People who have watched such spectacles live describe the events with awe. But all of them maintain that it was Kannadasan who would initiate the ‘fight’Why?Because he loved MSV so much that he enjoyed pulling his leg.

Not only did his face look like a child. He was a child at heart.
But when it came to writing, he was unparalleled and incomparable.

That is Kannadasan.

I have already said this many times.There has never been and there can never be any other lyricist as great as Kannadasan.There can only be one ‘Kaviyarasar’.If some people claim themselves to be ‘Perarasar’,they are cheating themselves!

Today is the birthday of Kannadasan and MSV. I wish a Happy Birthday to both. The physical body of Kannadasan is no more.But he lives and will continue to live with his immortal songs.

Before I take up the Rare Gem of today and Raaja sir’s association with Kannadasan, I would like to quote a few lines from a MSV-Kannadasan song:

The Hero, a writer who writes with a pen name Gowrimanohari falls in love with a lady. What is great or different about it? He is a widower with 6 children and is in his middle ages.
The Heroine sings ‘I saw Gowrimanohari in the form of a man’(the brilliant MSV set this song in pure Gowrimanohari ragam!).

The second charaNam shows us why Kannadasan is a genius.

‘Malai meethu adiththaalum Kaatru.Adhu Kadal meedhu tavazhnthaalum kaatru.Vaythodu vanthaalum kaadhal,Adhu Vayathaagi Vanthaalum kaadhal.’

(Breeze is breeze whether it blows over the mountain or over the sea Love is the same whether it comes during youth or in old age!).

With this, let me turn my attention on Raaja sir and Kannadasan and today’s rare gem.

In fact, I had written about their association and the mutual admiration many times in this community.

Raaja was a great follower and fan of Kannadasan right from his younger days.He still remembers the poem Kannadasan wrote when Jawaharlal Nehru passed away in 1964.

Kannadasan warmly welcomed Raaja to Tamizh cinema music adding the line ‘Raaja vaa..Raaja vaa.. ‘ in the song ‘Kannodu Kannu’(Paalootti VaLarththa KiLi-1976).

The combination gave some unforgettable songs(many of which have been discussed in this community) for 5 and half years.As fate would have it, Kannadasan wrote his last two songs for Raaja on the eve of his departure to the US in 1981.

There are many personal favourites but today I am taking up a song from ‘Pagalil Oru Iravu’, a 1979 movie. Somehow one song ‘obscured’ the beauty of other songs in this album.Maybe that song is very powerful and is indeed one of my all time favourites. But the gem of today is ‘Kalaiyo Silaiyo’, another beautiful composition not known to many.

The most striking aspect of the composition is the silken softness.The song describes the beauty of a young and innocent girl.

Other lyricists would have resorted to simple ‘Maane Thaene..’and gone on to write some nauseating words.. or would have given computer to Brahmma and imagined about her laugh being like the sound of a telephone. But not Kannadasan!

Before that, let us see the musical part first.

The prelude itself is so meditative that it makes our eyes close automatically. The sound of bells and the mesmerizing flute are steeped in tranquility.

The tune of the Pallavi in the melodious voice of Jayachandran is simple and beautiful.

The Violin orchestra in the first interlude is infused with haunting air. A very different combination of sitar and flute is the icing on the cake.The twin-violins with the Bells and the bass guitar in the background captivate our hearts.

The CharaNams radiate softly .The lines are tender and are piercingly sharp.

The second interlude is impeccably deep.The first part sparkles with the violins and the Bass Guitar while the second half-again a combination of sitar and flute but this time sounding very different- is dainty.

Let us now look at the lyrics.

He says ‘Are you the epitome of fine-arts?Are you a sculpture? Or are you like the Golden Deer? Are you a fruit? Or are you the parrot? Or, are you the moon who came on a walk to see this Earth?’

Though the words sound very simple, there are a lot of inner meanings.
Awed by the beauty of the girl, he sees her as a sculpture as well as the art form; Bird as well as the Fruit.

He also feels for a moment that maybe this is not true..Because it is impossible for such a beauty to exist.So, he says ‘Are you the Golden deer’?(we all know the story of Golden Deer in Ramayana).

He then imagines that the Moon has descended on the Earth(it has come on a picninc!).

Poetic beauty at its best!

In the first CharaNam, he says ‘Is this the dancing chariot walking? When will the mind shed its innocence and blossom like a flower? A beautiful maiden with the youth like the rain of flowers..’

Please do not miss the ‘Blossoming of the flower’ followed by the ‘Rain of flowers’!

The second CharaNam is a marvel.

We all know the power of silence.Here, the poet gives a completely different dimension to the silence of the girl.

He says ‘Is your silence the code/secret language?’(the use of ‘paribhaashai’ here is very noteworthy.I am not aware of any other film song using this word!).

‘Gestures that I am not able to understand-maybe it is the respect you have for me and my love’.

‘Child-like enthusiasm and energy –a beautiful girl!’

The last line ‘Thogaiyin Bhaavamo’ can be interpreted in many ways.
Thogai-means a girl. It also means a peacock feather.
Peacock is known for dancing.
Therefore, one could interpret it like ‘a beautiful girl’ or ‘a dancing girl’ or even ‘as beautiful as a peacock’.

His words mean so much…

At times, I even feel how would it be if only he was alive today.. But I thank God that he is not alive to see the murder of Tamizh. Murder in the name of ‘semmozhi’ by people who can not even say ‘Yaathum oore yaavarum keLir’(யாதும் ஊரே..யாவரும் கேளிர்..) properly.

As I said, Kannadasan’s words mean so much.. Now, let silence carve new meanings and teach all these people who murder the beautiful language and who ‘adorn’ the language with vulgarity and expletives..

Mouname Paribhashai..


Suresh S said...

It was nice reading about Kannadasan on his birthday. Wanted to write something on blog as well but as it happens ....

'puriyadha bashai yenna mariyadhaiyo?' Who can even dream up such words? That man was a master and the best lyricist in IFM. No doubt about that.

I haven't heard this song earlier. Must thank you for this. Lovely tune and well sung by Jayachandran.

BTW, I would have not been surprised had it been in a movie song, but how did they ever let that 'kaeleeer' into the Semmozhi song. Wll, fame has its own advantages I guess.

Aakarsh said...

The Pallavi is serene and melodious.. but what is to be observed is that it is not that simple either, in the background. The taalam is peculiar. The first time i heard this song, couple of years ago, i cringed at the unpolished/unsophisticated usage of Tabla, while every other instrument sounds so well placed and ornamental.Not about their relevance, but their softness or the way they touch our ears! The Tabla sound in this song,when it starts, sounded little punchy in the ear. To some extent, i still feel so today, but then the rhythm conceived needed only Tabla there, given the overall sound of the song (with sitar, violins etc.. very vintage raaja). Probably he could have kept its volume more subdued or lower (sound engineer's job). Nonethless, it is such a marvelous composition. You can sense the quaint influence of older melodies from 50s/60s in the Hindi & south-indian film songs. probably they were his benchmarks back then, that his songs had a different characteristic altogether!

Wonderful post as usual.

Raj said...

Thanks Suresh!
Yes,,As I said, there has never been a better lyricist at least in Tamizh cinema!

On that 'Semmozhi' and 'Kaeleer'...the less said the better!

Raj said...

Thanks Kamal!

The Tala-though it sounds tough is not tough.It just follows the tisram pattern.However, the Tabla patterns are different.I have not noticed the 'volume of the tabla'.Shall listen again.
Yes..I too felt the vintage songs' flavour.
'Kaadhal Oviyam kaNden'(Kavikkuyil) and 'Kaalai paniyil'(Gayatri) too have this flavour..