Monday, June 9, 2008


If you are a regular visitor of TFM page (, you would notice that there is constant bashing of IR by ARR fans (read fanatics) and ARR by IR fans (read fanatics). A fierce battle goes on and on, a war of words and expressions. Sometimes it looks very funny and sometimes you feel that these folks miss a point completely.

Nevertheless, there is one man who is bashed all the time by everyone for plagiarism, but stands naked and doesn’t have anyone to speak for him. Yes, I intend to talk about “Thenisai ThendralDeva. Deva stands like a whipping boy in the forums and blogs and everyone has an easy go at him.

To understand more about this man, I will take you two decades back. As many other artists, Deva had to struggle against all odds before he could give his first hit – “Vaikaasi Porandhaachu”. I remember two songs that become quite popular – “Thanni Kodam Eduthu Thangam” and “Chinna Ponnu Thaan Vekka Paduthu”. For the most part, it had the entire IR flavor in it. (Usually the IR clones get exposed in their inability to match His brilliance in interludes and re-recording. Few examples are Shankar Ganesh, Chandrabose, Gangai Amaran and Deva)

He rose as one of the top and popular composers in Tamil industry after “Baasha”, “Annamalai” and “Aasai”. Agreed, he lifted many of the tunes and beats for even the movies mentioned before. His shop could customize your album with 3 songs that sounds IR’ish, 2 songs that sounds Rahman’sh along with a native grown state-of-the-art Gaana. Directors and Producers who couldn’t afford Rahman and convince IR to score music for their film found it a blessing. They paid way less than what they had to pay otherwise and walk out with some hit numbers. He scored more than 30 movies a year back-back, a phenomenon.

He is not known as “Thenisai Thendral” for nothing. Within a span of 20 years, he has composed for 400 movies!! A rare feat, indeed. He was able to dilute some of the pop, rock albums and present to the mass. If we don’t take the hypocritical approach, we can acknowledge that despite lifting many beats and tunes, he gave some of the wonderful melodies. My favorites are:

Konja Naal Poru Thalaivaa (Superbly diluted Anandha Bhairavi raga to give a light number)
Thanga Magan Ingu Singa Nadai
Kaadhali Kaadhali (Avvai Shanmugi)
Manam Virumbudhe (Some carnatic song transposed)
Vaanil Kaayudhe Vennila (Vaali)
Many many of his Gaanas

He became an authority for a genre of music that he mastered – Gaana. After a stressful day of work, daily wage workers used this form of song to relax. They used to sing a metrical structure (may not be with significant lyrics) with “Dappanguthu” beats. The ending words in each line must be very rhythmic. Deva brought this Gaana to limelight by giving different flavors. Some of them had great philosophy in it, no kidding.

Recently, I paid attention to “Alwarpetta Aandava” lyrics (scored by Bharadwaj) and what a great explanation on distinction between love and infatuation.

Indha Ezhavu Ellam Hormone Seyyum Kalagam Thaanada

He indeed reached a bigger segment of people with his “Gaana”, though some hypocrites might feel embarrassed to admit that they too enjoyed the same. These hypocrites are those who would rather watch something they don’t understand and prefer to be called “A” class, as box office prefers to.

In my book, I would rate Deva way ahead of plethora of other music directors we have today who can’t even have their singers sing in Shruthi.


Suresh Kumar said...

Good post on Deva. Though I wouldn't call myself a fan of Deva, he did suprise me quite a lot with his melodies in 90's... 'Nalam Nalamariya aaval' can also be added to the list of deva's melodies you have mentioned... I still admire his copying and mixing skills, especially who would have thought of 'Kaakai siraginilae nandhalaala' and Michael Jackson could go togather in a song and he did it in 'Nilavai konduva' song

Emjay said...

I agree. Nalam Nalamariya Aaval is a beautiful song... Unfortunately, Anuradha Sriram who sung so well has been used for all junk songs with a stereotype recording !!!

J said...

Nice post. I completely agree with you. Vaali, Aasai, Kaadhal Kottai, Avai Shanmugi, PKS, Baasha, Annamalai, Kaalamellam Kaadhal Vaazhga, Kushi, Neruku Ner, Ninaithen Vanthai, Priyamudan, Mugavari - ippadi neriya fav songs iruku.