Saturday, 1 October 2011

Old and the Gold

‘Old is gold’ is one of the oldest adages.

But sadly, our country is known for not respecting anything that is old. Most importantly, we also fail to recognise and appreciate genius stuff. Remember what happened to Bharati when he was alive!

We also do not utilise the ‘gold’ properly (no..I don’t mean the ornamental gold, the very mention of it send a chill down my spine).

One of the classic examples is the talent of Sivaji Ganesan. Many in the present generation identify Sivaji with the somewhat artificial modulated dialogue delivery. It is because of our film makers who with their contrived way of story telling, gave him stereotype roles with little scope of innovation. In spite of this, if Sivaji rose like a colossus, it was because of the huge talent he had.

Unlike what is popularly believed, Sivaji Ganesan’s forte was not just the dialogue delivery. Each and every muscle of his face would speak. In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned as to how Rajaji-who hardly watched films- appreciated the expression of ‘Bharatan’(Sivaji) in the film ‘SampoorNa RamayaNam’. I had also mentioned about how Shri.Dhananjayan, the great Bharatanatyam exponent and Padma Bhushan awardee considered Sivaji Ganesan as one of his inspirations.

Today is the birthday of Sivaji Ganesan. This Blog has been carrying special posts every year (right from 2008) and a lot has been written about him and his talent in those posts. Therefore, let me directly get into the rare gem of the day.

It is ‘ILamaikkalam enge..’ from ‘Thaikku Oru Thaalaattu’(1986).

The song is very special.

ILaiyaraaja, a great fan of MSV found an opportunity to pay tribute to his idol in this song. He used the tune of ‘Unnai Ondu Ketpen’(Puthiya PaRavai).

As per the sequence in the film, Sivaji talks to Padmini about their younger days and the humming of this song appears in the film(If I am not wrong, the song is not part of the movie. It was either not picturised or it was removed). But I am still surprised that ILaiyaraaja chose to use this tune and not a tune from a Sivaji-Padmini combination. As many of you must be knowing, the original is a Suseela solo sung for Saroja Devi. Maybe the director(Balachandra Menon) wanted it. Or it is one of Raaja’s favourite songs.

Whatever be the reason, it is nice to hear a MSV tune with Raaja’s orchestration.

One more interesting detail is that TMS sang for Raaja after a gap of 6 years (and this song remains the last song rendered by TMS for Raaja till date).

The song starts with a humming of TMS. Pallavi follows in the voice of Suseela.
‘Pazhaiya Paadal pola Puthiya Paadal Illai’ says TMS.

Raaja’s intelligence is shown in the orchestration. As you all know, 1986 was the time when he would use close to 60 instruments for most of the songs. But he must have used just about 5 instruments for this song.In fact, the keyboard dominates the entire song.

I am sure, he must have done it so that the essence of the tune is not spoiled. One can in fact feel the respect Raaja has for MSV in the entire song.

The first interlude is graceful, mellifluous, gentle and beauteous.

Except for the sharp Tabla in the second interlude of course shows us the ILaiyaraaja we know, the second interlude more or less is subdued.

A great tribute to the Old and the Gold!


Suresh S said...

Was reading the latest post of Kamal in his blog (about 'Sreeramarajyam') when I saw your blog was updated. So I headed here :)

So much to comment. Let me try and keep it brief. First, Sivaji got typecasted a lot in those crying while laughing and vice versa roles in 80s. Just thinking of 'Mridanga Chakravarthi' and 'Paritchaikku Nearamaachu' is enough to give me nightmares. How well we wasted his talent!!

As you rightly point out, Raja has wonderfully kept the spirit of the song intact and has done orchestration which enhances the mood of the song. Ofcourse later we had 'Mella Thirandadhu Kadhavu', 'Semthamizh Paattu' which had MSV tunes and Raja orchestration. But this was different in the sense Raja was taking an old song and re-orchestrating it.

Another comment is about the voices. Susheela's voice is still gold in this. TMS voice shows signs of age. The nasality is a bit high in this. Also you can easily realize that TMS needed the freedom afforded while singing. Something which MSV but not Raja. One reason why TMS could never fit into Raja's scheme of things.

Raj said...

Very nice observation..

Thanks Suresh!!