SV's Song of the Day

Happy Listening…

SOTD #57 – Bobbili Raja Songs

This is a 1990 Telugu film which was a super duper hit and catapulted Venkatesh into the league of Telugu super stars. The movie was a typical Telugu masala fare with logic tossed out of the room while discussing the screenplay. My guess is the director would have said this while starting this film – I am making a film that will have a few scenes of slap stick comedy, a few romance scenes, some fight scenes and a couple of sentiment scenes. I don’t worry about how they all tie together. The movie will be shot inside a jungle – the novelty factor – and lavish, colorful sets for the songs.

Oh the songs!! That is the trump card. I have Ilaiyaraja’s call sheet. I will ask him to come up with catchy foot tapping numbers. This is all I need to ensure that the movie is a super duper hit.

And a super duper hit it was. The film was a raging hit even in Tamil film dominated Madras. I remember my own classmates humming the songs from this film and going crazy when a song from this film is telecast on the weekly Telugu film songs program (Chitraranjini? or Tarangini?)

The songs I liked most from this film are the following:

Kanya Kumari – SPB and Janaki sing this song and only they can sing such a song. The song requires the hero and the heroine to be intoxicated and dancing in a dream land. They comepete to enact in front of microphone. I am not sure how well the on-screen pair brought all that out on the screen. This song also features some horrible animation techniques – quite similar to those seen in Rajinikanth’s Raja Chinna Roja.

Balapam Patti Baama – this song starts like a tribal song with the beats very similar to what you hear in Meenkodi Theril or Aasaiya Kaathula songs. But SPB and Chitra sing a wonderful song. The beat is foot tapping, the singing mellifluous and the picturization grand.

Happy listening…

SOTD #56 – Paadha Kolusu Paattu

This is one of Sathyaraj’s better films where he wants to educate his villagers despite himself being educated. He tries to get teachers to his village but everyone refuses fearing the local villain who exploits the children in his factory. Sathyaraj decides to get married to a teacher and consequently get her into the village. An interesting plot on paper but, as always in Tamil films, the implementation is quite shoddy.

However, IMO the highlight of this film was a brilliant song by Illaiyaraja. This song is extremely melodious, folksy at the same time with some excellent orchestration. SPB’s dulcet voice renders this song in the most mellifluous way possible. The relaxed pace of the song makes it euphonious and melodic and yet you realize that your foot is tapping to the rhythm of the song. Vaali pens some wonderful lines that enhance the beauty of the song and you cannot get a singer better than SPB to provide the appropriate and adequate voice gymnastics to provide further depth.

kuththaala maegam ellaam koondhalilae neendhi varum
koiyaadha maanganiyai kodi idai dhaan yaendhi varum
(listen to how he sings the second line – especially the way he sings maanganiyai….)
maththaappu vaanam ellaam vaaich chirippu kaatti varum
maanOdu meen iraNdai mai vizhiyO kootti varum
ponnaaga jolikkum peN paavai azhagu
onnaaga kalandha munnooRu nilavu
(note the emphasis on munnooRu…)
pottOdu poovum koNdu thaavum mayildhaan

senjaandhu kuzhambeduththu theetti vaiththa chiththiramae
thenpaaNdi kadal kuLiththu koNdu vandha muththinamae
thottaalum kai maNakkum then pazhani chandhanamae
thenkaasi thooRalilae kaN vizhiththa shenbagamae
(Note how he lightens while singing thooRalilae)
peNNaaga piRandha pallaakku neeyO
eeraezhu ulagail eedaaga yaarO
nenjOdu koodu katti koovum kuyilO
padhai kolusu paattu paadi varum paadi varum…
(Note the way he ends the last line)

peN endRa jaadhiyilae aayiraththil avaL oruththi
pon vairam koduththaalum pOdhaadhu seer senaththi
kalyaaNa pandhalilae naan avaLai naer niRuththi
poomaalai soottiduvaen maapiLLai naan pattuduththi
andRaadam alaindhu engaeyum thaedi
kaNdaene enakku thOdhaana jOdi
vandhaachchu kaalam naeram maalai idaththaan

And that my friends is one complete package of a song. The music, the lyrics and the singing all falling in perfect unision.

Happy listening….

SOTD #55 – Om Shivoham

If there is a film song that has left me absolutely spellbound – it is Om Shivoham from Naan Kadavul.  This must be Ilaiyaraja composition of most epic proportions.  The song transports the listener to stratospheric levels; a song that shakes you from within.

Set to Pantuvarali raagam – a raaga that Ilaiyaraja has used umpteen times – this song uses chanting of mantras and the chanting from the Chamaka (namah somaaya cha rudraaya cha….) to good effect while the usage of the udukkai that gives it a serene and meditative effect.

Incidentally, this song that finds itself in a Tamil film, is completely in Sanskrit penned by the famous Tamil poet and lyricist Vaali.  It is a rarity in Tamil films to feature a song in a different language – they desist even from using Telugu Kirtanais even when the hero of the film is a classical music singer (Unnal Mudiyum Thambi is a classic example).

Charulatha Mani says in her article feature in The Hindu, the following:

My pick in this raga would be ‘Om Sivoham’ from “Naan Kadavul”. Starting in the upper Shadja, this song makes a thunderous impact. In the lines ‘soma surya agni lochana…’, the landing in the upper octave Gandhara brings forth a poignant picture of the raga. Sung by Vijay Prakash, this song has heavy orchestration, truly a celebration in Pantuvarali.

Listen to this song in the video linked below.  You are sure to get transported to a different world….

SOTD# 54 – Kathalikka Neramillai Songs

This actually becomes a Songs of the Day post – songs from the film Kathalikka Neramillai.  Usually CV Sridhar is known for his films with great songs.  Right from his first film as director – Kalyana Parisu – his films have had memorable songs.

While his first few movies were known for their high melodramatic content, and consequently songs that had a lot of pathos, Kathalikka Neramillai was a departure from that trend as it was made to be a wholesome comedy.  Also, this was one of those early Tamil films that was made in color, was shot almost completely outdoors, and was known for some excellent cinematography by Vincent.  Music by Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy was probably setting some new

The film actually opens with a song on the Marina – Enna Paarvai Unthan Paarvai.  The song starts immediately after the film titles – the caricatures turning into Muthuraman and Kanchana – maybe the first attempt at graphics in a Tamil film.  This is a wonderful melody sung by a young KJ Yesudoss and and the evergreen P.Suseela.

Then there is the brilliant rock and roll song in Viswanathan Velai Vendum.  PB Sreenivas renders this absolutely enjoyable song in his own inimitable style.  A fantastic foot tapping number from the master duo.

And then Nagesh and Sacchu get the breezy Malar Endra Mugam Endru – a song that has some excellent piano pieces.  M.S. Raju’s yodelling was probably another first in Tamil films.

Naalam Naalam Thirunaalam is a more classical MSV-Ramamoorthy number going against the trend set by the other songs in the film.  But this song, rendered by PBS and P.Suseela, has probably got the best lyrics from Kannadasan in this film.

Manamagan Indha Oonjalil, Manamagal Mannan Maarbinil
Angu Aadum Naadagam Aayiram
Adhu Kaadhal Dhevanin Kaaviyam
Adhil Oruvar Raagamaam, Oruvar Thaalamaam, Iruvar Oodale Paadalaam

Ilamaiyin Indha Ragasiyam, Iyarkaiyil Vandha Adhisayam
Idhai Vaazhndhu Paarthavar Aayiram
Adhil Naamum Indroru Kaaviyam
Indha Ilamai Pogalaam, Mudhumai Seralaam, Iruvar Kaadhalum Maarumo

And then of course is the lilting duet Anubhavam Puthumai – again rendered by PBS and P.Suseela.  The song starts with a foot tapping intro leading up to Suseela crooning Anubhavam Puthumai.  PBS joins with his soft, mellifluous voice and plays the perfect duet with Sueseela’s crooning.  MSV-Ramamoorthy maintain the mood of the song throughout with lyrics by Kannadasan aptly suiting both the tune and the mood.

An album to cherish, an album that does not sound old at all, even today.

Happy listening…..

SOTD #53 – Thedinen Vanthathu

This song is from a cult classic Tamil film of the 60s – Ooty Varai Uravu.  A CV Sridhar film that starred Sivaji Ganesan, KR Vijaya, Muthuraman, L Vijayalakshmi, Baliah, Nagesh and VK Ramaswamy and was a laughing riot peppered with some excellent songs by the master duo Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy.

I particularly like this song from the film.  The song comes at a very interesting point in time in the story – there is this unknown girl who turns up at home, the father of the hero hides something and tries to make everyone believe that she is the daughter of his friend, the hero however knows the truth and is trying to expose his father.

But then, is this girl really his sister?  There is something about her that is fishy.  And he watches her dance and sing while stylishly smoking his cigarette 🙂

P Suseela sings this memorable song with enough gusto.  The arrangement is western and the tune catchy.  Lyrics by the inimitable Kannadasan make this song one to remember.

The song starts off in spectacular fashion laying out the heroine’s intentions.  She has accidentally stumbled upon what she was searching for.

தேடினேன் வந்தது நாடினேன் தந்தது
வாசலில் நின்றது வாழவா என்றது

என் மனத்தில் ஒன்றை பற்றி நான் நினைத்ததெல்லாம் வெற்றி
நான் இனி பறைக்கும் மலரனைத்தும் மணம்பரப்பும் சுத்தி
நான் இனி பறைக்கும் மலரனைத்தும் மணம்பரப்பும் சுத்தி
பெண் என்றால் தெய்வ மாளிகை திறந்து கொள்ளாதோ

இனி கலக்கம் என்றும் இல்லை இதில் விளக்கம் சொல்வதுமில்லை
இனி உறக்கம் உண்டு விழிப்பதுண்டு மயக்கம் உண்டு நெஞ்சே
பெண் என்றால் தெய்வ மாளிகை திறந்து கொள்ளாதோ..

Thedinen Vanthathu

A fantastic composition that is likely to remain evergreen for ages.

Happy listening….

A film that was maybe ahead of its times…

It was a dull Sunday evening and we had planned to not go anywhere in the maddening Bangalore traffic.  The kids had returned home after their games in the layout and were tired and bored as well.  We decided to make it interesting for the kids and decided on a fun late evening family time.

The idea was to buy some snacks and watch a movie.  Deciding on the snacks was the easier option.  Having not had any pizza for quite sometime, they wanted us to get them pizzas and garlic bread from Dominos.  The more difficult choice was the movie.  The kids wanted some animation film.  The wife and I were not that keen on watching animation.  I have also had my fair share of animation over the last few days – Jungle Book at the cinema halls and The Good Dinosaur that was screened in the layout mini-theater.  The wife was not keen on any dishum-dishum action movies as they always left her with a splitting headache.

The choice naturally was to be made by me.  I chose an old action film – something that the kids may like – and that too a Kamal film, something that the wife may like.  I nailed down on Vikram and Vetri Vizha.  We decided to watch Vikram.

Now for those who had not seen Vikram – this is Kamal’s attempt in 1984 to make something along the lines of a James Bond film.  He plays Vikram – the suave central intelligence agency spy who is also thronged by beautiful women.  Music by Ilaiyaraja was another attraction factor for me.

I remember that Vikram was a flop.  I remember having seen the movie as a kid in school and not relishing the storyline.  But when I watched the film last Sunday, I was trying to figure out why I did not like it then.  The film was slickly made (considering the timeline that it was made), had a pretty decent screenplay that did not lag at most places (the only lagging scene was probably the meendum meendum vaa song that could have been handled at the editing table). There were some excesses that could have been avoided like the religious guru spitting into the food, the gross eating of food items by the king, etc.

But what I felt on watching the film was that it lacked production quality.  Maybe, just maybe, Kamal and Sujatha made this a little ahead of their times.  Had the same movie been made even 5 years later, say during Vetri Vizha time frame, this movie would have been a lot better.  It was very clear from many scenes that Kamal must have had a budget problem – the tacky special effects, the poor office sets, the lack of clarity in the camera work with many scenes suffering from poor lighting, etc.  Vikram could have been a franchise had this film had better production values.  If Singam could have sequels, then Vikram definitely deserved a couple of them. 🙂

The music was pretty good – I liked the BGM more than the songs where Raja had tried to be pretty subtle and innovative.  The staging of some of the scenes were amateurish – again reflecting the time when directors staged as if they were staging a play.

Kamal was looking extremely handsome – aptly fitting into the role of the suave spy.  His costumes accentuated his role pretty well (Vani?) and thankfully he did not have extended romantic scenes in the film (except the Meendum Meendum song which was avoidable).  As he says very clearly in the film – “enakku ithukkellaam neram kidaiyathu!

The role of Preethi however hit a wrong note.  For someone who is shown as a brainy geek (Computer Science, IIT Madras – she says proudly), her characterization came across as a clueless girl.  She could have been provided a more meaty role.  Manorama’s character was wasted.  Amjad Khan and Dimple Kapadia play their roles pretty well.

Kamal was again ahead of his times – he created the Salamia country’s language in this film – a technique much later adopted by  Cameron in Avatar and by Rajmouli in Bahubali. It was probably ahead of its times for the audience too who may not have related much to the story line.  The film does not use the word “Terrorist” for Sathyaraj and his hencmen.  The popular term then was “International Criminals” – again a reflection of the film using cross border terrorism when it was unknown to its audience.

Vikram left me with the feeling that this was a film that had a lot of promise, but failed to live up to it due to budgetary constraints and probably even lack of technology that was available in India during those times.

Vikram could definitely have been a trend setter…a film that promised so much.  If only…..!

SOTD #53 Das Das Chinnappa Das Das (Kadalora Kavithaigal)

This is a brilliant composition by Raja that explains why he is such a genius. Fantastic song that simply elevates this song to stratospheric levels. In fact, Bharatiraja (the director) says this was not a planned song. This was added during the re-recording. 🙂 Listen to Bharatiraja speaking about this song composition here:

The usage of voice harmony (something that he repeats in Raja Rajadhiraja in Agni Natchathiram) makes this into such a wonderful song to listen to.

Happy listening…

SOTD #52 – Naan nee (Madras)

After AR Rahman, if there is one music composer, it is Santhosh Narayan who is appearing to be very promising. His scores in recent movies have made people sit up and take notice. It is to be seen if he goes on from here to become another Ilaiyaraja or Rahman. This song in Madras is wonderful composition…soft, melodious with some good arrangement.

Madras is an excellent 2014 film that catapulted its director Pa. Ranjith to fame. While Pa. Ranjith made a mark for himself with the offbeat Attakathi, it was Madras that made people sit up and notice….so much that he is directing the super star himself in his next film Kabali. Rajinikanth is banking on Pa. Ranjith to bring his box office midas touch back. Santhosh Narayan’s contribution to the success of Madras is recognized as he continues to be in Ranjith’s team for Kabali too.

Shaktishree Gopalan who shot to fame with AR Rahman’s Nenjukulla song in Kadal renders this song pretty well. The lyrics by Umadevi gell well with the tune and the general mood of the film.

Naan nee naam vaazhave urave
Nee naan naam thondrinom uyire
Thaaba poovum naan thaane
Poovin thaagam nee thaane
Naan paravaiyin vaanam
Pazhagida vaa neeyum
Naan analidum vegam
Anaithida vaa vaa neeyum
Thaaba poovum naan thaane
Poovin thaagam nee thaane

Uyir vaazha mul kooda
Oru paravaiyin veedaai maaridume
Uyire un paadhai malaraagum
Nadhi vaazhum meen kooda
Oru naalil kadalaich sernthidum
Meene kadalaaga azhaikindren

Anal kaayum parayosai
Oru vaazhvin geetham aagidume
Anbe malaraatha nenjam enge
Pazhi theerkkum un kannil
Oru kaadhal azhagaai thondridume
Anbe nee vaaraayo

Happy listening….

SOTD #51 – Adhikalai Nilavae (Urudhi Mozhi)

Urudhi Mozhi was one of those films made in the late 1980s that had students of the Madras film institute as their principal makers. There was a wave of such films then which boasted of technically accomplished talent trying to make a mark in a field that was then dominated by the likes of Baghyaraj, Bharathiraja, KB, Balu Mahendra, and Mani Ratnam.

Urudhi Mozhi was one of the earliest RV Udayakumar movies – he made this after his highly critically acclaimed Urimai Geetham starring Karthik and Prabhu. He repeats Prabhu in this film and this was also his first association with Ilaiyaraja who tapped the poet in Udhayakumar. This song was also penned by Udhayakumar whose lines were markedly different from the style followed by Vairamuthu or Vaali then. Sample this:

maNikkuruvi unaith thazhuva mayakkam piRakkum
paruvak kadhai dhinam padikka kadhavu thiRakkum
vizhiyae un imai iraNdum enai paarththu mayangum
unai paarththa mayakkaththilum mugam pooththu malarum
namai vaazhththa vazhi thaedi thamizhum thalaikkuniyum

azhaguch chilai idhayam dhanai vazhangum unakku
radhi magaLum adipaniyum azhagu unakku
thaviththaen un aNaippil dhinam thudiththaen en uyirae
iniththaen en idhayam dhanai iNaiththaen en uyirae
suvaiththaalum thigattaadha kavidhaigaLai padiththaen

Brilliant lyrics to yet another brilliant Ilaiyaraja song set to Gowri Manohari raagam. The background scores are an immense delight right from the beginning with the clanging of bells. Jeyachandran and Janaki combine to sing this melodious number.

However this film was a huge flop. I remember seeing this film at Udhayam (Ashok Nagar). We had gone to watch another film that was running in the same complex but was running to full house. Tickets to this movie were easily available. When we entered the hall, we saw just two rows were occupied. The film was horrible in its content. Prabhu’s overacting did not help and the new heroine, Santhini, was pathetic in all aspects. While the film making was excellent in terms of cinematography, editing, background score, sound mixing and effects, etc (the film looked very well packaged on the big screen), the story and screenplay let the film down.

Happy listening…

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