Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Raaga - A perspective

Good bye to year 2008 and wish you all a very happy new year 2009 :-)

Ever since I started to learn about Raaga, the curiousity has been growing in me to understand why certain Raaga are used for "Happy situation" and why certain Raaga are used for "Pathos". What aspect of the Raaga makes us associate the Raaga with the emotions?

I made an attempt to understand the Raaga a bit deeper. I would like to share my attempt and the results with you.

Each raaga comprises of notes and each note represents a frequency. For the purpose of this experiment, I took 9 Raagas (Melakartha) and tried to plot the frequency that each Raaga represents and this is what I observed:

Without associating with the Raaga, imagine you were shown this graph in an analytical quiz session and asked to mark the odd ones out. What would be your choices of odd ones out? I would vote on "Subhapantuvarali", "Bhavapriya" and "Simmendramadhyamam" purely based on the pattern of the graph. And indeed, they are kinda odd ones because, they are the Raagas usually used in "Pathos".

If you are not convinced with me, I did another work on it. The Swarasthanam string for the above mentioned Raagas are:

Mayamalavagowli: XX00XX0XX00X

Subhapantuvarali: XX0X00XXX00X

Keeravani: X0XX0X0XX00X

Sankarabharanam: X0X0X0XX0X0X0X

Bhavapriya: XX0X00XXX0X0

Simmendramadhyamam: X0XX00XXX00X

Kalyani: X0X0X0XX0X0X

Natabhairavi: X0XX0X0XX0X0

HariKamboji: X0X0XX0X0XX0

If you calculate the number of times "X"s come consecutively - 2 times, you can find that Bhavapriya, Subhapantuvarali and Simmendramadhyamam are the highest with the count as 3.

Also, if you calculate the number of times "X"s appear consecutively 3 times, again, only the above mentioned 3 Raagas have the count as 1 and rest all doesn't have any!!

I am sure, this observeration is not conclusive and needs more research, but, I am pretty much convinced that there is a scientific pattern associated with the Raagas and the emotions that they are associated with.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Believe it or not

Believe it or not, these days the young kids are much much smarter than you would think they would be. Math tuition at 5 AM, tennis class at 6:30 AM and back from school at 5 PM followed by music class is no joke!!

No doubt, they compete in a world that will throw more challenges than opportunities and they are no inferior in any sense. I was just amazed at the immense talent this young boy possesses. The choice of the song itself speaks about the kind of challenge he boy was willing to take!! The breath control, confidence and the way the boy enjoyed the song is simply superb.

He has done a great job, IMHO.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


In one of my earlier posts, I have written my views on rise of Rahman. One of the key factor that I mentioned about was "Rahmanism". For anyone to standout from the crowd, they need to exhibit a unique style and Rahman did it with a style. No doubt.

My opinion is that he very carefully avoided the spheres that were explored and dissected by others, especially Illayaraja when he began the journey. To unseat a person from the crown of Tamil industry who enjoyed only success throughout 2 decades would have been possible only with something special.

If SPB and Janaki were "overused" (I have no problems with that, personally), Rahman brought new voices to the forefront. If violin and Tabla dominated the era of Illayaraja, Rahman brought the techno music to the forefront. If "poor sound/recording quality" was the norm, Rahman changed it. He kept "Vairamuthu" by his side, when he was almost ignored for over 5-6 years. If 30-40 movies were scored by Illayaraja at that time, Rahman chose to limit to 5-6 movies a year. To an extent, even ther timings of work were opposite. He stood out.

One such instance, that I can think of is even usage of Raaga. If "Keeravani", "Mayamalavagowla", "Kalyani", "Sivaranjani" and "Natabhairavi" were predominantly used by Illayaraja, Rahman either chose the Raagas that Raaja scored a very little or moved to the Hindustani paradigm.

Even on the Raagas where both have scored, there is a paradigm shift in the usage. Take for instance - "Sivaranjani". As I had written in my earlier post, this Raaga has been used by many music directors to depict the emotional bonding and that comes out very clearly in the scale - S R2 G2 P D2 S. Various hits in the past set in Sivaranjani scale are: Adi Aaathadi, Kuyil Paattu, Oru Jeevan thaan Un Paadal thaan, Oh Priya Priya, Tere Mere Beech Mein and so on.

All of the above as you can see, depicts the emotional bonding and that is mainly derived by the traversal from P D2 to upper octave's S R2 G2. Try humming a song in the list above and you would easily be able to connect to any other song set in the same Raaga with the same feel. However, now look at "Kannum Kannum Kollai Adithaal" set in the same Raaga featured in the movie "Thiruda Thiruda". Can you believe this song is set in the same Raaga that generates a completely different mood. Though orchestration is one of the possible reasons for the same, this is mainly due to the handling of the Raaga.

I find it difficult to explain in words, however, the way he split the scale into pieces and traversed makes the song feel completely different from other "Sivaranjanis".

For your listening pleasure, here are the two contrasting Sivaranjanis:

Saturday, December 6, 2008


All the 3 clips below are based on the same raga - Revathi. The scale of Revathi raga goes like this: S R1 M1 P N2 S. Illayaraja has mostly used this raga for a gripping situation typically packed with action. Some examples include "Adada Ahangaara Adakka Peigal" (Pithamagan), "Sangeetha Jaathi Mullai" (Kaadhal Oviyam), Amma Azhage (Kaadhal Oviyam).

Same raga Revathi has been brilliantly used by Vijay Anthony in the movie "Naan Avan Illai" for a completely different situation.

And ofcourse, finally a devotional song based on "Revathi" raga by evergreen M.S.Subhalakshmi.

Bottomline: Raga is like a liquid that takes the shape of the container. Polymorphism in the world of music? Yes.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Style of Illayaraja - Part II

Here is the audio clip of the final part (II) of the analysis of Illayaraja's style of music done by Dasarathy in an online radio channel.

Enjoy the clip..

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Style of Illayaraja - Part I

Dear All,

I am glad to reach you all with my 100th post. Your support has been a great inspiration for me to keep 7 Swara alive and grow strong.

I have got an interesting audio clip (from some internet radio website?.. not sure) to share with you all that analyzes the style of Illayaraja's composition very technically.

Please enjoy the clip and hope to get your continued support :)


Saturday, November 15, 2008


As we grow, most often, we don’t question why things happen the way it happens. In contrast, when we are very young, we tend to ask too many questions and tend to explore a lot. I guess, as we grow, we take things at its face value rather than questioning them.

The sound is nothing but vibrations composed of frequencies. When you pluck a string in guitar, it produces vibrations of the air molecules and our ear senses it as music. Have you ever wondered why Veena sounds different than Guitar even when playing the same note for the same length of time at the same loudness?

The theoretical explanation is that “Timbre” of the instrument makes it different. So, what is the “Timbre”? By definition, “Timbre” is the color of the sound. Like how, Yellow looks different than Blue, the sound quality and color is determined by Timbre. This helps to explain our problem at the 20,000 feet level and to get through the exam. Want to further deep dive? Read on..

Take a String of a particular length and pluck the string in the middle. You will hear a sound at a particular frequency (say) f. This frequency is called “fundamental frequency”.

Now, reduce the length of the String by half and pluck the string again. Now, you will hear a sound at a higher frequency. (To be precise, the frequency will be doubled – 2f). If reduce the length of the String by one-third, the frequency will triple – 3f. Theoretically, if you consider the String as two segments, each segment vibrates at twice the fundamental frequency. If you consider the String consisting of 3 segments, then, each segment vibrates at thrice the fundamental frequency. And so on..

Hence, theoretically, there are infinite frequencies consisting that are multiples of fundamental frequencies (i.e.) 2f, 3f, 4f, 5f and so on. These frequencies are called harmonics. So, each note from any instrument is a complex wave containing more than one frequency.

Timbre of the instrument is mainly determined by this harmonics and other dynamic characteristics of sound like attack-decay envelope of the sound. This Timbre makes oboe sound different than (say) flute.

Rest in next.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Let us Physics

I did my schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya in Karaikudi and I very well remember the first time my Physics teacher showed us a tuning fork and wrote the principles of resonance and harmonics on the black board. It was a matter of a 2 mark question vs a 5 mark question as far as I was concerned. If it were a 10 mark question, I even had a choice to skip as I have to answer only 10 out of 12 questions :)

I want to speak just for myself. I don't think the system in place is conductive to let students explore and learn practically. The whole system in place, in my opinion, is result and rank driven.

The concept of resonance and harmonics could have been better explained so that I wouldn't have to by-heart the damn definition that I potentially forgot by the time I stepped in to the examination hall!! It's a shame that I am learning resonance and harmonics now, but, I feel good to know now than never.

Take a guitar and you notice that strings are tied with a tension to the ends of a wooden block. Now, pluck one of the string and you hear a note. Now, try to take the same string and hold both the ends in the same tension at two ends of the wall and try to pluck it again.

Do you hear the same note? That's the damn resonance that produces the note in former case!! The shape of the guitar wooden box is well designed for a reason to produce resonance and that is what results in the note that you hear. More in next.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good for heart

I must never get any heart ailments in my life time, if pundits are true! Yes, Keeravani raga is supposed to be good for heart and Raaja has given us innumerable Keeravani based songs. The more and more you pay attention to the nuances how Keeravani raga has been handled by Raaja, I really wonder, if anything in Keeravani is left unexplored!!

But, the Keeravani based numbers aren't stopping. Even recently in Uliyin Osai, Raaja gave some good piece in Keeravani. Here is the scale for Keeravani: S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N3

Clearly, there aren't any dissonant notes (vivadhi swaras). A perfect scale for melody. If an various permutation combinations of these notes were tried using an algorithm, you might cover pretty much a big spectrum of Raaja's Keeravani based songs.

Some of the famous Keeravani based songs in Illayaraja's composition are:

Kaatril Endhan Geetham (Johnny)

Un Kuthamma En Kuthamma (Azhagi)
Unna Nenaichaen Paattu Padichaen (Apoorva Sagotharargal)

Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele (Nayakan)

Keeravaani Keeravaani (Paadum Paravaigal)
Ennulle Ennulle (Valli)
Povoma Oorkogalam (Chinna Thambi)

Ennai Thaalaatta Varuvaalo (Friends Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai)
Kaalathai Vendra Kalaignan (Uliyin Osai)

The key thing to note here is how Illayaraja has used Keeravani in a wide array of situations. Starting from a "Ekkam" to "Sogam" to "Romantic" to "Dappanguthu" - has used the same Raaga. In some cases, he has taken advantage of his orchestration skills to use the same tune both in a happy and sorrow situation in the same movie.

For instance, "Povoma Oorvolam" from Chinna Thambi re-appears in the climax as "Nee Enge Naan Inge" with the same tune based on same raaga, but with a complete different orchestration. Thanks to Keeravani that is flexible and doesn't pose a stiff challenge, unlike other Raagas.

Let us deal with Keeravani more in my subsequent posts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Isaignani in a book release function

I came across a video where Illayaraja participated and gave a speech in a book release function. I think it might be a bit old news.. Still, if you are an ardent fan of Raaja, you don't want to miss this ...

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Contest

Here is a small fun game..

Please hear this clip and guess which song in Tamil was heavily inspired by this piece.

Watch out this space for the answers in a couple of days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Break the rules - II

It has been quite a big gap since my last blog. With the economic slowdown, my work load refuses to slow down!! But, being busy seems to be a good thing these days..So, I have no complaints.

In one of my previous posts, I have discussed how Raaja handled one of the most difficult raaga "Kanakangi" in the movie "Sindhu Bhairavi". "Sindhu Bhairavi" movie is a milestone with many experimentations that I will talk about in my future posts.

Today, I wanted to talk about other Melakartha Raaga and how Raaja handled it. Subhapanthuvarali raaga is 45th Mela Raaga and its scale goes like this: S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N3 S

This raaga has an inherent flavor of sorrow and grief. Have you heard "Vaigarayil Vaigai Karaiyil" from "Payanangal Mudivathillai"? Another classic example for the usage of this raaga is "Enna Enna Kanavu Kandaayo" from the movie Valli. As you can notice, this raaga brings the grief to the forefront. How does Nava Rasas get their due representation with these 7 swaras, I wonder sometimes?

S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S denotes the peace to the forefront in the form of Mayamalavagowlai and S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N3 S in the form of Subhapanthuvarali brings sorrow and grief!! Huh!

In this Subhapanthuvarali scale, Raaja did an experiementation to score for a romantic and seducing number. Waraeh Wah!!

Here you go:

I will let you decide, if it was successful or not. But, sure.. he did break the rules.

Again, did you notice something interesting in the scale? Except for Ni3 (Sa and Pa, of course), all of the other keys are black keys!! Has it anything to do with the emotion that is hidden in the scale? I don't know..

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Raaja and I

Thanks for tagging me
and I apologize for responding late. This game is fun and let me try my bit.

The 5 things of me and Raaja that You May Not Know About(Please be as spontaneous as possible.. don't think too much..!! :-)

1) The moment that introduced you to Raaja..
Though I have heard several songs of Raaja in my 80s, I am not sure if I associated those songs with Raaja. Some of those songs that I used to repeatedly hear were "Om Namashivaaya" (Salangai Oli), "Ninnaye Rathi Yendru Ninaikkiraenadi" (Raghuman acted movie) etc. There was even one title song from the movie "Krishnan Vandhaan" that I used to repeatedly hear "Maadu Ezhuthaen Vandi Ellam". However, the album that I would really say that made me associate with Raaja was "Yejaman". As I had mentioned in my previous blog, my cousin gifted me this cassette and when I told that I liked the song "Nilave Mugam Kaattu", he replied "Mottai aala mattum thaan eppadi poda mudiyum".
I didn't realize what he said then. That certainly became the album that brought me and Raaja close.

2) Name one occassion where Raaja's music directly/ indirectly influenced your life.
Might sound silly to some of you. After I came back watching "Yejaman" from the theatre, I was plunged in some kind of sorrow for more than one day. I experienced the same grief after I watched "En Raasaving Manasile". I didn't realize then, it was the sheer power of his background music that directly touched my heart. If you want to understand what I mean, you must take a simple exercise. Take one of the above said movie and turn the Mute ON and watch the most serious sequence of the movie.

In general, but for Raaja, me and music would be a totally disjoint set. I now try playing keyboard; I try to identify raaga; I write this blog; I think music...It's all because of my Raaja.

3) Lets take Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi into account. Assuming that one of this is either your mother tongue or native language, name a favorite song in each of the other 4 languages that immediately comes to your mind

Telugu - All songs from Geethanjali

Malayalam - Aruna Kirana (Guru) & Thumbi Vaa

Kannada - Jeeva Hoovagidhe & Jothe yali

Hindi - (don't remember the song name - but the one that Yuvan lifted in his 'Theendi Theendi Theeyai') (Rim Jim Rim Jim?)

4) One song of Ilaiyaraaja that you consider rare and think a song that many people should have known but don't ..

Oru Kaaviyam Arangerum Neram (Aruvadai Naal)

Ennai Ketkum Kelviyai (Kasthuri Maan)

5) Lets keep the last one simple...Raaja's number that you are hearing right now/ most recently heard..?

All songs from Dhanam and Ulyin Osai

Friday, October 17, 2008

Unborn Babies

Whenever I hear "Putham Puthu Poo Poothatho" from Thalapathi, I wonder how Mani Ratnam missed to pictuarize this song in the movie. It must definitely have been a tough choice for him to exclude one among all gems.

But, still, I would have traded-in a fight sequence for this song. Melting melody and no wonder Illayaraja recycled the same song as "Pirayae Pirayae" in Pithamagan.
I can think of some songs that never featured similarly -

1) "Aadi Pattam Thedi Chennal Vedha Pottu" - Michael Madana Kama Rajan"

2) Ammava Naan Kaala Thottu Kumbudanum" - Apoorva Sagodharargal"

3) Annalakshmi Kanna asacha" - Virumaandi

4) "Nethiyile Pottu Veyyu" - Virumaandi

5) "Kodi Yethi Veipom" - Pithamagan

I am sure there are many more! Would love to hear back from my blog readers!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lyric writing for Dummies

No offence guys!

I came across a webpage about how predictable our lyrics are and found it very funny and thought of sharing with you all.

I do love some of Vairamuthu's works, but, I agree that some of his lyrics do not make any sense to me whatsover. For instance, "Devathai Kulitha Thuligalai Alli Theertham Endre Naan Kudippaen" is the height of hallicination.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம் - II

Quite a month back, I had posted a clip from the recording of a yet to be released movie "Mayilu". This page has become the most popular page with most number of hits in 7Swara blog. And few of my blog readers have requested the downloadable version of the clip and I am providng a link for those who requested the clip.

Click here to download the clip from the movie "Mayilu" (Velli Manal).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Illayaraja Photos

Several folks have sent me emails regarding the photographs of Illayaraja. I have zipped all of them and please click here to download in the zip format.

Courtesy: Ilaiyaraja Yahoo Group, Raajangahm

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Divya Prabhandham by Illayaraja?

Do we have another treat like 'Thiruvaasakam in Symphony' awaiting for us?

Source: Dinathanthi & Illayaraja Yahoo Groups

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Break the rules - I

'Nayakan' was a milestone for in Tamil film industry for several reasons. It changed the perception of people who believed in the commercial formula for a success of the movie. From the music standpoint, it was a feast for music lovers and 'Thenpandi Seemayile' will be remembered forever as an icon and symbol of grief and sorrow.

I read from multiple sources that originally Illayaraja had played the tune of "Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele" for the situation of "Thenpaandi Seemayile". Though Mani Ratnam liked the tune, he asked Raaja to use the tune for a "item number" dance by Kuyili and extracted another gem of the tune "Thenpaandi Seemayile"! No doubt, Mani Ratnam has good ears for music.

Still, I have a different perspective here. No doubt, a Raaga and the underlying melody and tune brings the mood to forefront. But, Illayaraja has sometimes overpowered this characterstics of Raaga/tune with his weapon - orchestration.

To give you an example - take the Melakartha Raaga - 'Bhavapriya'. It is considered as a Raaga that brings the sorrowness to forefront. (The scale goes like this - S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N2 S (i.e.) C C# D# F# A# B#) Did you notice what is interesting about this raaga? You have ALL black keys (sharp variations) - of course except Sa and Pa as they don't have variations. Is this the reason why the Raaga brings out the color of sorrowness? I don't know !! Perhaps, an expert can explain.

Anyways, Raaja used 'Bhavapriya' raaga to come up with a song for a comical situation in the movie 'Guru Shishyan'. The song is "Kandupudichaen Kandupudichaen". He did succeed in overpowering the challenge that the raaga posed!

So, my argument here is even if Raaja had chosen "Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele" tune for "Thenpaandi Seemayile" he would have succeeded with his sheer brilliance in orchestration, because he is always Raaja :-) There is one more person who comes to my mind who can change the texture and color of the song and that is SPB with his brilliance in his voice and modulation. Only he could make, even a "Dabba" song a hit!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kanakaangi - II

I got inspired to write on Kanakaangi after reading posts written by "Lakshminarayan Srirangam Ramakrishnan". (I would have read all these articles at least 25 times in the last 8 years)

Look at how Raaja came up with such a great song using a stiff scale like "Kanakaangi" !!

I will share my 2 cents: Raaja has very cleverly handled this Raga. Many of the songs that Raaja has set to the pure scale of Carnatic - he simply traverses the notes of the scale in the Pallavi and sets the tempo. Let's take the example of "Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan" - The pallavi is simply traversal of notes of aarohanam of Reethagowli. Similarly, I can quote several several songs in Mayamalavagowli, Keeravani, Amruthavarshini, Kalyani and so on.

In this song, he has employed a completely different strategy, though looks simple now. "Any big surprise/shocking news should not be passed on directly to the mild hearts". Enough "Pakkuvam" has to be made before you convey the news to mild hearts, isn't it? Similarly, traversing Sa Ri1 and Ga1 as adjacent notes would have left a jarring effect on the ears of us. So, he cleverly split the Sa R1 into one segment and Ri Ga1 into other segment and repeated the notes several times before he did the traversal from one segment to the other. Though repeating of notes is not recommended by the definition of melody, Kanakangi doesn't offer enough room for melody, anyways.

Look at how the notes unfold:

moagam ennum theeyil en manam vendhu vendhu urugum
s s s s r s s s s
vaanam engum andhap pimbam vandhu vandhu vilagum
s s s s r s s s n.r rs
moagam ennum maayap paeyai naanum konru poada vaendum
r s r s r s r s r s s n. s r
illai enra poadhu endhan moochchu ninru poaga vaendum
r s r s r s r s r s s n. s r
dhaegam engum moagam vandhu yaagam seyyum naeram naeram
g g g g g g g g r r r r rs s s s
thaayae neeyum ingae vandhu thanneer ootra vaendum vaendum
g g g g g g g g gr r r r rs s s s

That's why Lakshminarayan says "Bending an unbendable"

Raaja, Unnai Isai Arasan Enbaena?
Illai Isaikku Adimai Enbaena?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Illayaraja Special

Couple of months back, I wrote a poem on Illayaraja:

Immediately, my father-in-law jumped to compose a tune for the lyrics and he sung himself. Already my father-in-law spoke with Mr.Gangai Amaran and Gangai Amaran was very impressed with the song and has promised to take us to Illayaraja when I go to India. I can't wait for the D-Day!!

Meanwhile, my wife gave an idea of compiling Raaja's pictures with this background as a Video. And here you go:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kanakaangi - I

In our last post, we had finsihed with a Raga, whose swarasthaanam looks like "111001011100". The interesting thing to note in this is the 3 subsequent 1's appearing twice in the raga. If you try to play this scale by just traversing across the notes in your keyboard, you will feel like closing both of your ears. Simple, it will not be melodious as against playing "101101011001".

You can analyze why "111001011100" doesn't appeal as much as "101101011001" in several perspectives. If you ask a Carnatic pundit, he/she might simply say: "இரண்டு முறை விவாதி ஸ்வரம் வந்தா இப்படி தான் இருக்கும்". (Because of Vivadhi Swaras")

If you ask a layman like me, I will say "it is all because of the three 1's coming subsequently". If you look at the problem psychologically, our ears are trained with a sequence of melody notes and subconciously it starts expecting a pattern of notes. The notes that doesn't go well with each other becomes dissonnant note. Sa Ri1 Ga3, Sa Ri2 Ga3 and Sa Ri2 Ga2 notes sequence are well expected by our ears, whereas Sa Ri1 Ga1 makes a jarring sound!! That's why a tune that is considered melodious in one culture might not appeal mass in other culture.

Anyways, coming back to "111001011100". The Raga that has this swarasthaanam is the 1st Melakartha Raga - Kanakaangi. There cannot be a better challenge to a film music composer than to come up with a song set to this scale. According to various sources that I verified, Illayaraja is the only composer in Tamil who has given us a song set to the scale of Kanakaangi. The song is none other than "Mogam Enum Theeyil" from Sindhu Bhairavi.

Stay tuned for the next post on how Raaja has handled this delicate Raga.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Raaga Encoded

Hi All,

It has been quite since, I wrote a post on "Theory of music". It's just that I am not having enough quality time these days to sit and write posts that are lengthy! Today, I managed to squeeze some time around 4:30 AM and here you go !

I prepared a matrix of booleans for each raaga emphasizing on "Swarasthaanams". Simple. Let us take "Keeravani" (21st Mela) - It's aarohanam and avarohanam goes like - S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N3. The 12 swara sthanam (Places) go like: S R1 R2 G2 G3 M1 M2 P D1 D2 N2 N3. So, let us start giving a "1" where the swara appears and a "0" where it doesn't. So, we get - "101101011001" for Keeravani. Similarly, Mayamalavagowla would have "110011011001", Sankarabharanam would have "101011010101" and so on.

Since we all know that Mela raaga will have all the 7 swaras, if you all all the digits of this binary string, you will get always "7" for any Melakartha Raaga. Let's take "Mohanam" - a Janya raaga (derived from mela, a subset of notes in Mela) - it would have "101010010100" - totalling only 5 !

Anyways, there are some relevances of this "Swarasthaanam" string.

Remember, all beginners in carnatic music are first introduced to "Sarali Varisai" set in "Maayamalavagowli". The main reason for it is because of the symmetricity of the string - or in other words, equal spacing of the frequencies - even though in the keyboard it is hard to find the symmetricity, you can appreciate the frequency spacing by looking at the "swarasthaanam" string.

Secondly, look at this string "111001011100". The thing that comes to one's mind is three 1's appearing twice inside this little string. Sounds good!! However, it doesn't sound that good if you play :)

Stay tuned and I will cover this in my next post.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Unsung SPB - II

Couple of months back, I had presented to you all a song sung by SPB, unsung by him in the actual movie !! Click here to hear "Poongaatru Thirumbuma" sung by SPB -

This is the clip of "Raasathi Unna" from "Vaidhehi Kaathirunthaal". Originally, this song was sung by Jeyachandran and this version of it is sung by SPB. Once we have heard a song sung in a way by someone, it is not that easy to outscore by other person. But, somehow, I feel SPB's pronounciation and crystal clear rendering is simply superb and he makes me think twice !

SPB's Version:

Original Version:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sandi Raniye

Take a guess of number of movies where the heroine is rich, arrogant and well-edcuated and the hero is a poor little chap, but brings the heroine on-track in the second half. Without thinking much, I can bet, there are more than 100 movies with this proven formula. P.Vasu's Mannan was one such movie and Vijayshanthi suited the role so aptly that her body language didn't miss an inch from the role throughout. Ofcourse, our Rajini did the rest.

I always remember this movie for 2 things:

>> Rajini gave his voice to one of the song - "Adikithu Kuliru". It was really funny to hear Rajini trying to blabber and counter-melody the tune. He tried hard. Trust me.

>> Combo of Koundamani & Rajini - in my mind, one of the hilarious moments.

Anyways, I wanted to write a bit about other song in the movie that in a sense forms the theme of the movie. The overall theme of this movie is how the Rajini brings back Vijayshanthi to the senses (read as 'Tamil Kalaachaaram'). The song is: "Sandi Raniye Enakku Kappam Kattu Nee".

The song starts with heavy brass section and percussions and a voice bursts with arrogance filled with male-chavinism with around 10,000 W power!! Who else can do that other than SP.Balasubramaniam?

"En Sudhandhirathil Ennaalum Pen Magal Jeyithathillai" - A "muzhakkam" and crystal clear rendering & no "kozhayal"

"Enna aachu Engu Pochu Sandi Raani Un Saahasam" - A "Nakkal" "Aanava" sirippu!!

Towards the end, you could notice the power of percussion. A short piece but, conveys enough and sets the tempo for the situation.

Raja Rocks!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

McDonalds in Madurai - II

I heard recently a clip from some program where Illayaraja was interviewed by Bhavathaarini and Illayaraja explained how he perceives Western Classical Pieces as Indian Scheme of music, with an example.

Having said that all music is based on the 12 swaras, still, there is a fundamental difference in the way music is approached between Western and Indian classical music. Even if Illayaraja gave us Pizza, he made sure he created a "Chettinad Pizza" so that we never lost the identity of us.

My only concern is, when my daughter turns 16, there must be atleast a trace of our identity in the music we hear at that point in time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

McDonalds in Madurai

I read very few books, though I have a big wish list! One of my favorite author is Thomas Friedman and I love his "The world is flat". His other book "The lexus and the olive tree" is primarily focussed on the globalization and the impact it made on various cultures around the globe. Mr. Friedman has a great technique of narrating even the complex subject in a simplified way.

I would like to quote one of the observation (with some context changes) in his book that I consider as the best.

"No two countries that has McDonalds is likely to wage a war in near future". A great point conveyed in a simplified way.

Anyways, globalization has made McDonalds play in both Michigan and Madurai. That's no problem. As long as the identity of McDonalds is associated with San Bernardino and not with Salem, its just fine.

You may be wondering what am I talking about. I heard "Taxi Taxi" from Sakkarakatti just now and I felt like writing this post with all due respect to the composer.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kamal Bhagavathar

It was a pleasant surprise to me when I heard in an interview (way back) that Kamal Hassan learnt Carnatic music from none other than Dr.Balamurali Krishna. Here is the clip from an interview with Kamal Hassan and he even demonstrates his skill as a singer in our classical system.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thanthaen Thanthaen

Of several actors who managed to stay in the stardom with the grace of Raaja's music, Ramaraajan would stay top in the list. 'Villupattukaaran' is one such movie and there is a situation in the movie where the heroine challenges the hero to sing a song where the lips never touch !! Meaning, never use Pa, Ma, Va etc.

A challenging situation for a lyricist, ofcourse!! I think this song was written by Gangai Amaran. Hear the song and you will find that never lip touches in the whole song.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Illayaraja about Kannadasan

Any amount of appreciation would be less for the brilliance of Kannadasan's instinct when it comes to lyrics and his philosophy.

Though Kannadasan and Illayaraja worked for a brief period, here is what Raaja has to say about Kannadasan and his experience with Kavignar:

I apologize about the quality of the clip.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Age Old Hashing Algorithm

In our last post of this series, we learnt how 72 scales formed the Melakartha Scheme. Few other points to note related to Melakartha Raga are:

1. They are also called "Sampoorna Raga" as all the 7 swaras are present in the scale.

2. The aarohanam and avarohanam will contain exactly the same swaras though in reverse order. (Aarohanam is the pattern of ascending notes – frequencies and Avarohanam is the pattern of descending notes)

Well the 72 raaga in Melakartha scheme needed a unique name. It wasn’t as easy as how the roads and districts are named today. VenkaTamakhi of 18th century applied a hashing algorithm called KaTaPaYaaDi to name the raga.

Like how all the encoding is done in today’s world, KaTaPaYaaDi is a simple mechanism to encode a string literal to a number:

Each alphabet in Devanagari script is assigned a number:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   0
ka kha ga gha nga ca cha ja jha nya
ṭa ṭha ḍa ḍha ṇa ta tha da dha na
pa pha ba bha ma
ya ra la va śha sha sa ha

So, let us take any Melakartha Raaga in random – (say) ShaNmukhapriya. Take the first 2 consonant – Sha and Mu. Their equivalent values according to the KaTaPaYaadi sankya is: Sha = 6 and Mu = 5. Hence, applying the hashing gives 65. However, we have to reverse the number as we were following little endianness as opposed to big endianness scheme.

So, the equivalent value becomes 56. Hence, ShanmukhaPriya is 56th raga in Melakartha Scheme. Big Deal? How does it help to know just the position of the raga?

Once you know the Mela # of a raga, you can derive its scale by a simple algorithm.

a) Sa and Pa are fixed.

b) If Mela # > 36, Use Ma2, Else Use Ma1

c) If Mela # is > 36, subtract 36 from it

d) Then, Divide the Mela # by 6

  • Ri1 and Ga1 if the quotient is 0
  • Ri1 and Ga2 if the quotient is 1
  • Ri1 and Ga3 if the quotient is 2
  • Ri2 and Ga2 if the quotient is 3
  • Ri2 and Ga3 if the quotient is 4
  • Ri3 and Ga3 if the quotient is 5
  • Da1 and Ni1 if remainder is 0
  • Da1 and Ni2 if remainder is 1
  • Da1 and Ni3 if remainder is 2
  • Da2 and Ni2 if remainder is 3
  • Da2 and Ni3 if remainder is 4
  • Da3 and Ni3 if remainder is 5

    For eg: MechaKalyani (Originally known as Kalyani and was renamed to suit KaTaPaYaadi Sankya) has the Mela # as 65.

    Since 65 > 36, we will use Ma2.
    Also, as Mela # is > 36, we will subtract 36 from it to get 28.
    When we divide by 6, Quotient is 4 and Remainder is 4.

    So, Scale for Kalyani is Sa Ri2 Ga3 Ma2 Pa Da2 Ni3.
    (Remember Sa and Pa are fixed for all Mela Ragas)

    Alternatively, you can also find the Scale using Mukund Chart.

    Bottomline: All the encoding, hashing and mathematical algorithms we use now were used centuries earlier for organizing music for our pleasure! It is even believed that value of Pi could be traced back up to 17 digit precision when you apply KaTaPaYaaDi algorithm to a treatise in “Sadratnamala”. More details found at:

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Mayilu - II

    The post I had on the clip from "Mayilu" (yet to be released) movie had most number of hits till date in my blog. Here is another clip from the same movie. It is very interesting to hear Raaja teach how to sing with some accent to his daughter/singer Bhavathaarini. I am sure you look forward to hearing this album as much as I do.

    Till the movie/album gets released, this is all we have got to hear!!

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Dhanam Album

    After the first hearing of Dhanam soundtrack, I did not have any intention of writing a post on it, honestly. I concluded that this will be another "synth-kind" stuff from Raaja, that he is not known for.

    However, something made me hear the album repeatedly and I stand now in a different corner failing to understand how did I even miss writing about this album. It is a different kind of album from Raaja, IMO. You have a pack of everything you look for! Are you a kuthu song fan? Were you longing for another "Kaatril Varum Geethame" kind of song? Were you wondering if there is anyone who commands so much in Bass-line? Were you wondering if anyone who is 65 year old can score like a youth 35 years old?

    Answer is Dhanam. "Kannanukku Enna Thevai" is pick of the album, though, I do like few other songs as well. Maestro has mastered the art of weaving melody, layer by layer! If you are a music fan and haven't picked the album yet, I would be surprised.

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Melakartha Schemes

    In the last post of this series, we had discussed about the basic 7 swaras, their associated frequencies and the variation notes like C#, D# etc. constituting 12 notes in total for an
    octave. I have tried to present the western notes and the associated swaras (Indian Classical) in the picture below:

    I generated this with the help of just Excel !! Cool, isn't it?

    Though not accurate, I have portrayed as if C=Sa and C#=Ri1 etc. For now, let us leave at that. So, each note/swara has a place in the keyboard. That is called "Swarasthaanam".
    Please note that there are few swaras that I have marked in blue color. They are called Vivadi Swaras. (It is said that Vivadi swaras were called "Dhosham" - tainted swaras and were avoided for along time and later accepted in the practice. Please refer to: for more details).

    One question that popped up in my mind immediately when I did the mapping was: Ri, Ga, Ma, Da, Ni have variations like R1, R2; Ga2, Ga3 etc. However, Sa and Pa do not have, rather
    they were fixed. Most of the sources I referred to didn't go further deep into why they were fixed. However, only answer I got was even if you were to have B# or E#, they would sound as C and F respectively. (I can accept it as a theorem, still, would love to get a deep dive answer if someone could!)

    So, now that we have 16 swaras (including vivadi swaras), it is pure permutation and combination to come up with tunes! Our ancestors laid some basic rules to form what they called as
    "Mela" later known as "Melakartha" raagams.


    1) Sa and Pa are MUST.
    2) Ma is also MUST and can either take Ma1 or Ma2, but not both.

    3) Only the following {Ri,Ga} variations are allowed:






    It's simple. They have allowed only ascending notes in terms of its frequency. For eg: Ga2,Ri1 is a BIG NO! 4) Same rule applies to {Da,Ni} combination. So, with this four rules above, you can have: 1 Sa, 6 {Ri, Ga}, 2 {Ma}, 1 Pa, 6 {Da, Ni}

    Mathematically, it gives rise to 1 X 6 X 2 X
    1 X 6 = 72 !!

    That's how there are only 72 Melakartha ragas. They are like the backbone of the Indian classical system. There is much more to Melakartha raga system (including a age old hashing
    algorithm that our ancestors had designed) that I will cover in my next post of this series.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Upcoming Illayaraja's Albums

    Illayaraja has given us his best when he had most number of movies at hand. I think he is getting back to the glory days. I am stunned to see the bubbling energy in this man at 65 !! Just a preview of the upcoming albums of Illayaraja:

    (Thanks & credits to IR fans in TFM Page. I got most of the information from the tfmpage)

    In Tamil

    01. Kangalum Kavipaduthey - Audio released already
    02. Dhanam - Sangeetha lead role - Audio released already
    03. Uliyin Osai - Kalaignar scripted - Audio released already

    04. Mayilu - Duet movies produced - Yet to be released - click here for clips
    05. Anal Katru - Balu mahandra - Yet to be released
    06. Naan Kadavul - Bala movie - Arya & Pooja - Yet to be released (Hopefully it comes before Bala Arya becomes too old to be a hero)
    07. Kannabiran - Ameer movie - Yet to be announced
    08. Nandalala - Myskin movie - Yet to be released
    09. Valmeeki - Yet to be released
    10. Alagar Malai - Sangili Murugan Produced (remember Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai? - Same producer) - Yet to be released, Raaja is picturized in a song completely
    11. Malaikallan - Rajkiran movie - Yet to be released
    12. Jaganmohgni - Namitha staring - Yet to be released
    13. Chinthamani - Rajkiran movie - Yet to be announced
    14. Mudhalvar Mahatma - Balakrishnan movie -Yet to be released
    15. Padma magan - Yet to be announced
    16. Fazil Movie - Prativiraj & Meera Jasmin staring - Yet to be released
    17. Adumkoothu - Cheran and Navyanayar - Yet to be released
    18. Jayakanthan documentary - Yet to be released

    In Malayalam

    01. SMS - Bala and Navya nayar - Audio released already
    02. Pazhassi Raja - Mamooty & Kanika - Hariharan directed - Mega Budget movie
    03. Kutty Shranku - Mamooty & Meera - Yet to be announced
    04. Swarnamalikka - Mohanlal & Kavya Madhavan - Yet to be announced
    05. Fazil Movie - Fazil movie - Prithiviraj & Mamtha Mohandas

    In Telugu

    01. Sunny - New faces - Audio released already
    02. Mallepoovu - Boomika casted - New director - Album released already
    03. Okkadasunnadu - Kalyanram & Genelia casted - Yet to be announced
    04. Guick gun Murugan - Jagapathi babu casted - Yet to be announced
    05. Teja new movie - Yet to be announced

    In Kannada

    01. NANNAVANU.
    02. Songoli Rayanna

    In Hindi

    01. Paa - Amitabh & Abishek casted - Balki Directed - shooting
    02. Mukhbir - Jackieshroff acted - Yet to be released
    03. Chal chale - Mithun chakravarthy - shooting
    04. Ajoy verma movie - yet not to be titled
    05. Mumbai Cutting


    01. Manikandan (Animation) - Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu & Hindi
    02. Namrata Ke Saagar (Bhajan by Gandhiji) - click here to see the clip

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Bhavathaarini Wedding Invite

    The best happiness is felt by sharing! I happened to hear the invitation of Bhavathaarini's wedding. Yes, I didn't see the invitation, rather heard.

    Raaja composed a song as an invitation for his daughter Bhavathaarini's wedding couple of years back. I was told that Vaali penned the lyrics. I recall this getting from one of Raaja's fan.

    Please enjoy! (I apologize for the bad quality of recording. This is the best that I got!)

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Science of Sound

    Thanks for all your responses for the posts on Carnatic music. As much as it might be interesting and new to you, it is the same here. And hence, I would like to reiterate that I am not an expert in this domain. I am merely trying to learn with you all and this series of posts will help us to get there, I hope.

    Some of you mentioned that there are 12 notes instead of 7 and some said even 16 and so on. True. I was about to discuss this in my next post and your responses prompted me to do little deep dive into this topic.

    In order to understand how many notes are there in the system, we need to understand the science behind the sound.

    Human ears have the capacity to sense variations in air pressure as long as the frequency is in between 15/20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Any sound below this 15/20 Hz is called infrasonic and any sound above this 20,000 Hz is called ultrasonic. While species like bats, dogs etc. can sense ultrasonic range; snakes, whales etc. can sense infrasonic waves. This could possibly explain why many species sensed TSunami and the loss of such species were minimal compared to human!

    Anyways, coming back to 7 swaras, this range of 20 - 20,000 Hz is broken into 10 segments. (See below)

    S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10

    So, S1 is closer to 20 Hz whereas S10 is closer to 20,000 Hz. Now, each segment is divided into 7 sub-segment leading to 7 swaras in each octave. Guys, trust me. I sweated to give you this picture in Excel.

    Due to the limitation of time & resource, please note that the frequencies against each note is not ACCURATE, however, it is very close.

    The point to note here is that the middle A (in C4 segment - highlighted in yellow) has a frequency of 440 Hz. This is like our J2EE specification. Any manufacturer globally has to comply with this requirement. So, Middle A is like a reference point. If you know Middle A's frequency, you can multiply by 2 to get the equivalent frequency of A in the upper octave. And continue divide by 2 to get lower octave's frequency.

    Each instrument has its own frequency range. Please see to know more details about the instruments and the frequency range.

    Anyways, back to our topic. How many notes are there - Theoretically INFINITE. Yes, if and only if our ears are capable of distinguishing such minute levels of frequency changes. Unfortunately, dwelling in this noisy world, we cannot distinguish minor variations. Hence, the notes are divided into 7 in each octaves. However, notes like Ri, Ga, Ma, Da, Ni have a variation. Like how we have even Tylenol coming in Vannila and Strawberry flavor, Ri has two variations - Ri1 and Ri2. Let me give a crude example (though not accurate). You can consider frequency of R1 = (Sa + R2)/2. In other words, R1 is a semi-tone. Similarly, we have variations for Ga, Ma, Da and Ni.

    If you are ever wondering what are those BLACK keys in keyboard, they are these variation keys of the above said swaras.

    Rest in next.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Namrata Ke Saagar

    This bhajan ‘O Namrata ke Sagar’ was chanced upon by the illustrious Aditya Birla family of India three years ago, who opine it must have been written by the Mahatma during one of his stays with them.

    The music for O Namrata ke Sagar is composed by southern maestro Ilayaraja, whereas Hindustani music exponent Pandit Bhimsen Joshi has lent his voice to the thought-provoking number. Sources inform that the Mahatma’s bhajan is more like a prayer or soliloquy without poetic meter.

    Illayaraja, however, has taken care of this aspect.

    Considering that it will be marketed by Aditya's group, hope it gets good marketing treatment like Vande Maataram and not the one like Thiruvaasakam in Symphony ! (This is yet to be released)

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Building Blocks

    Alright. In our last post about the roots of music, we paid our tributes to the "Sangeetha Mummoorthigal".

    We all know that the building blocks of music lies in the 7 swaras. It is believed that originally the hymns in the praise of God were sung in 3 notes and it later evolved into 7 notes. They are:

    Sa - Shadjam - Giving Birth
    Ri - Rishabam - Morality
    Ga - Gaandharam - Fragrant/Light
    Ma - Madhyamam - Middle
    Pa - Panchamam - Fifth
    Da - Dhaivatam - Of Gods
    Ni - Nishaadam - Sit/Lie down

    On the other hand, references to 7 swaras is believed to be found in Silapathikaaram. And according to Tamil literature, the 7 swaras are:

    kural = C (sa)
    thutham = D (ri)
    kaikilai = E (ga)
    uzhai = F (ma)
    iLi = G (pa)
    viLari = A (da)
    tharam = B (ni)

    Even references to scale, grahabedham etc. are believed to be found in the works of Elango Adigal. Let us keep the debate of Sama Veda vs Silapathikaaram aside and move on to what a scale means. Once we learn alphabets (A-Z), don't we try and form words & sentences to convey our emotions? The same way, these alphabets of music (7 Swaras) can be combined to form melody.

    Scale is a group of the notes in ascending and descending order that forms melody. Didn't we hear that Raaga is also group of certain notes in ascending and descending order? So, is Raaga same as scale? Look at the two pictures. Do you find any difference between them?

    Obvious, isn't it? Though both the graph are plotting the same points, the former is more fixed, discrete and rigid. Whereas the latter is more smooth and free-flowing. This is the best I could explain the difference between scale and raaga. Scale is the former, Raaga the latter.

    If both Raaga and Scale are based on the 7 notes, how does Raaga get the smoothness? It has a unique great weapon - Gamakams!! We will see more about this in the coming posts.

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Bésame Mucho

    Bésame Mucho is a famous mexican song written in Spanish. Bésame Mucho means "Kiss me a lot". One of the very famous song in Tamil was inspired from this song. Can you guess?

    Look at how MSV presented in a form that was so native to us, yet so foreign!!

    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம் - I

    Enjoy the small clip from the recording of a song in Mayilu (yet to be released movie) of Illayaraja.

    I am in a state of bliss hearing this !!

    Un isai kku munnal naan kai kooppi nirkiraen..

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Free for all

    Even though more than half of the things I read about "Classical Music" goes over my head, still the thirst to read and get to know more doesn't end. Having NOT been exposed to "classical music" in any form, where did this thirst originate from? Naan ariyaen..

    I really believe that classical music is not only for "Pattu Veshti" Vidwaans and "Haarathi Edukkum" Maamis. The roots of the fruits that we (as layman) enjoy today lies in the framework that our great ancestors had set. We often appreciate a song as "Soft number", "Very Brisk", "Divine" and so on. All these "Bhaavams" are extracted from the 7 Swaras. What do we actually mean when someone says "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" is set in Keeravani or "Kalaivaaniye Unnai Thaane" is based only on aarohanam? Knowing the roots will only help us to appreciate the music better. I will try my best to explain that I have understood and let us make some of these posts interactive so that we all shall learn together.

    Due to the British invasion and the political system in our country, we have often got a misinterpreted version of History. There is a debate on how the music evolved and a theory says it all originated from "Sama Veda" where it is believed that 3 fundamental notes were used to recite the hymns. Let us reserve this topic for a separate research study and let us first salute "Tri Moorthy" of Carnatic music. Who are these "TriMoorthys"?

    Is it KJY, MS, Balamurali Krishna? It reminds me of a joke - There is a movie where Vivek asks "Who got us the independence?". A boy replies "Puratchi Thalaivar Vijaykant"!! Ada paavi makka !!

    Between 1750 and 1850, thousands of compositions were done, new raagas were manifested and performance styles were established. Big three, who contributed towards this massive effort were - Sama Syama Sastry, Tyagaraja and Muthuswamy Dikshitar, called as "Sangeetha Mommoorthigal".

    I heard in an interview recently where Illayaraja said: "I decided to get copyrights enforced strictly for Thiruvaasagam in Symphony unlike all my previous projects where many music directors lifted my tunes...". I only wonder, if the "Sangeetha Trimoorthigal" had met in a conference and decided to "copyright" their work, what would all these composers do? But then, that was 1750 and today is 2008, dynamics have changed and we need "Dabbu" for everything!!

    (This is a new domain for me as well, so I love to be corrected when I am wrong)

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Another Day

    I do not remember exactly, but, I was talking about something with my friend.

    I asked him: "What is the guarantee?"

    My friend replied: "Mohan, the only thing one can guarantee in this life is death".

    Words of wisdom, isn't it?

    Again, I recently heard Jaggi Vasudev's speech about life and he mentioned that only thing that our body knows is to walk every day, every year towards the graveyard. Rest all that we do is Maya.

    This is one reason why I am not fond of celebration in the name of Birthdays! But, for sure, we all can hear my favorite song today when I declare to the world that I have crossed the average age of a donkey by 2 years!

    Raagangal Thaalangal Nooru
    Raaja Un Per Sollum Paaru

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Back to Metrics

    One more reason why not to compare ARR and IR is the sheer style of working. IR works on spontaneuity and ARR works on improvisation.

    Look at some metrics here on number of movies that Rahman did by year:

    Let me now overlap the Raaja's metrics against this:

    That means a world of difference in them. That's why I call them apple and oranges.

    Monday, August 4, 2008


    I was listening to one of the evergreen song written by Kavignar Kannadasan today (Song - Unnai Kaanadha Kannum):

    Engu Nee Oru Paadhi Naanoru Paadhi

    Many poets have attempted this "nee paadhi naan paadhi" theory to portray the intimacy between two souls. But, Kannadasan is always different. Look at the next line:

    Edhil Yaar Pirindhaalum Vedhanai Paadhi

    Wondering what is so special about it?

    It is quite common to write about the helplessness of the living soul. But here, Kavignar says that even the soul that passed away from this world would share the pain with the living soul. Isn't this the immortal love?

    Can anyone explain better than this about the essence of immortal love? Do we have any parallel to this genius when it comes to philosophical lyrics?

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Ilamai Enum Poongaatru

    If you had ever watched this song (Illamai Enum Poongaatru) for just the visuals, you missed a great deal! Kannadasan's lyrics and Illayaraja's music were no-less sexier than Sridevi and that poor hero grazing over her.

    I haven't watched the movie, but, having watched so many of our movies, I can take a rough cut at it. The car that Sridevi must have been driving would have broke down in midst of a scary forest and predictably, hero rescues her from an animal or rowdies...and the hero gets hurt in that process. She tears her skirt and helps the hero back... Now, we have got two young souls in a forest, none of them knew each other. The environment acting a catalyst, the flow goes on.

    I don't want to be hypocritic to dismiss the song and its lyrics. Lets face it. Its practical. Instead of describing heroine as Manga, Thenga etc. , look at how our Kavignar describes.

    Angam Muzhudhum Pongum Illamai
    Edham Padhamai Thondra

    Sridevi couldn't resist and falls for the hero, even though they don't know each other much. Can anyone write a better lyrics than this?

    Ketka Ninaithaal Marandhaal
    Kelvi Ezhum Munn Vizhundhaal

    Kavignar describes the power of sexual urge against all the caste, Khan Dhaan etc.

    Mannan Enamum Mangai Enamum
    Kulam Gunamum Enna?
    Dhegam Thudithaal Kann Edhu?

    I bet, no-one else can bring the substance any better than this. Anyways, coming to 7 swara...

    This song is special because this has 3 charnams against the usual norm of 2 and further all the 3 charanams have the same tune against the norm of Illayaraja to chose a different tune for either the 2nd or 3rd charanam. The guitar usage in the interludes is simply stunning.

    Was Kavignar's lyrics so mesmerising that Raaja kept on repeating the charanam after charanam without a break or was it that Kavignar kept writing charanams for a out-of-world tune of Raaja's. Whatever be, we got a wonderful song as the byproduct.

    Click here to listen

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    ஒரு கற்பனை - II

    Well, extending my imagination is not going to cost me anything. Here you go:

    Kamal: Raaja.. Raaja.... Konjam nillunga.. Situation'e kekkama eppadi ezhudhi kuduthuttu pona eppadi?

    Raaja: 800 padam paathaachu.. Pudhusa enna erukka pogudhu situation?

    Kamal: Enna eppadi solliteenga? Romba vidhyasamaana situation... Heroine romba rich and arrogant type.. Hero heroine'a tease pannara maadhiri oru situation..

    Raaja: Hmm. Hmm... Edhu podhum

    Kamal: Lyrics? Yaara paada vekka poreenga, Raaja?

    Raaja: Varigal Vaali ...Matrapadi Karthik paarthupaan... Bhava vere summa thaan erukkaen pa veetula nnu sonna... paarthukkalam

    (Raaja walks out, while Vairamuthu and Vaali enters the room.)

    Kamal: Paadal varigal illamal tune varadhavargalukaaga kavignargal vandhurukaanga...

    Rahman: Vanakkam Vaali Sir.. Arambikkalaama..

    Vaali: Oh.. Beshaa pannidalaam..Edho pidi...

    "Kuzhaloodham Kannane
    Vennai Thirudiye...."

    Rahman: (scratches his head) Illa Illa.......Vennai Yennai ellam vendam....Konjam...

    Kamal: Idhu "Andha" maadhiri situation.... Konjam Paarthu ezhudhunga...

    (Rahman gives some basic chord and rhythm; Vaali is transformed to a different world and starts tapping his feet)

    Vaali: Hmmm......Edhu eppadi erukku?

    "Jackson Magale Jackson Magale
    Jackie Chan Machaan Naan
    Kambanukku Machini Nee"

    Rahman: Yes.. Feel varudhu....We are going in the right direction...Go on...Tamil Jaasthiya erukku....Konjam English please...

    Vaali: Done..

    "Up & Down poga naan Gear'a
    Nee Miss World Model Figure'a"

    Vairamuthu: (looks at Deva) Kavithai pozhiya naan thayaar, neer?

    Deva: Illa Anne.. Namma paatukku vere maadhiri venum.. Vaali sir vara varaikkum naan wait pannaraen..

    Harris: VM Sir! Hello.. Please join me...

    Vairamuthu: Sollu nanba, Harris. Endha karu nira kaagathin magimai umakkavadhu purindhadhe...Arambikkalaam..

    "Smile Smile Edhu Smile'a
    Nenjai Thulaikkum Missile'a
    Gundu Vedi Gundu Un Kannam
    Unnal sidhariyadhu En Nenjam
    Un Idhazh Oram Naan Thee Kulippaen..."

    MSV:(whispers to Kamal) Ayyoo....Enna YEZHHAVU da edhu...Vedi gundu, Saavu, Sangu, Paalai nnu enna paattu edhu..

    Harris: Wow.... Its shaping up well.. I think....Hmm.... Kamal Sir, shooting for this song ... Iraq le try pannalaam.. My 2 cents..Romba different'a shape aitrukku

    Kamal: Yeah.. Romba different'a erukku...

    Harris: Regarding tune vandhuttu..."Vaseegara" maadhiri venuma? Illa "Suttum Vizhi Sudare" maadhiri venuma?

    Kamal: Adhaan rendum kettutome..vere maadhiri edhavadhu mudiyuma... illa...?
    Harris: Why not? "Paartha Mudhal Naale" maadhiri ? ..I will try...

    Kamal: Sutham...

    Vaali: (turns onto Deva) Ungalukku enna vedum?

    Deva: Namma enne aNNe.. Gaana vecha endha situation kku super'a erukkum nnu ...

    Vaali: Edho pidi Gaana...

    "Saidapetta Julie
    Unnala classroom'e gaalee
    Enga vidadhadee look'ku
    Pasanga padikkaraanga book'u"

    Deva: Edhu podhu aNNE...Nan Ready....

    Yuvan: (shakes his body vigorously and murmers the tune to himself)

    "Ye PeNNNNNeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    Enai Kattttttikkkkkkkkooooo Kattikkkkkooooo
    Illai ... EndraaaL....
    Thotttttukkoooooo Thotttukoooooo
    (rap bit)Everyone wants a change, BabeeeHooooo
    HaaaHooooo Haaa"