Thursday, June 19, 2008

Super Special

We all hear music during different times of the day under different circumstances and in different moods. Also, different people appreciate different aspects of the music because good music contains different layers built into it. One may merely say the song is good. Other may appreciate the significant lyrics behind it and a techie might talk about techniques employed in the song like counterpoints, Trill etc.

I have heard "Thamthana Thamthana" innumerable number of times in my lifetime and have always said "Good..Great song". Never tried to explore it beyond that. Once I start to get to the detail, it is absolutely stunning and I was floored because it had so many things special in it.

I sincerely request you to just prose-read the lyrics, especially the charanam.

thandhana thamdhana thaaLam varum pudhu raagam varum
pudhu bhavam varum adhil sandhana malligai vaasam varum
manamaalai varum subhavaeLai varum
mananaaL thirunaaL pudhunaaL unai azhaiththadhu

sillena melliya thenralum vandhisai solliyadhu
suvai aLLiyadhu manam nillena solliyum thuLLiyadhu
peNmanam poovilum melliyadhu thavikkum ninaivoa enaik kiLLiyadhu
malligai mullaiyil panjaNaiyoa mannavan thandhanan nenjanaiyoa
minniya minnalum kanniyin ennangaLoa ini kanavugaL thodarndhida

1) The lyrics is of great quality and neat. It was written by the same lyricist who wrote the most famous "Vaadi En Kappa Kizhange". (Kappa Kizhangu= Heroine - Whoe cares the logic ?). So, here are people who can write what you want. You want garbage, they can produce tonnes. You want Good Quality stuff, they can produce tonnes. Just that sometimes it takes more time to give quality stuff as they are used to giving garbage more. In this case, it is said that Gangai Amaran took 4 solid days to come up with this lyrics. Hats off.

2) Look at the charanam one more time. The chandam used in the lyrics (meter) is brilliant and it is rhythmic and uniform throughout the song. But, it poses a great challenge to the composer. When you start composing a tune for this, you might end up like a tune for chanting some Mantra.

3) Apparently, I read somewhere that the director and the assistant director (Manobala) gave a reference (baseline?) song for this situation:

Ayi Girinandini Nanditamedini Visvavinodini Nandinuthae
Girivaravindhya Shirodhinivasini Vishnuvilasini Jisnunuthae
Bhagavati He Shitikanthakutumbini Bhoorikutumbini Bhoorikruthae J
aya Jaya Hae Mahishasuramardhini Ramyakapardhini Shailasuthae

Can you imagine how Illayaraja has brilliantly transformed the baseline into a beautiful romantic melody?

4) Humming has always been a special weapon of Maestro's magic work. In this song, the humming is all over the song (backing even in the charanam), but without sounding jarring. The counterpoint technique has been brilliantly handled by Raaja.

5) The pallavi and the charanam due to its very nature needs the singer to have a better breath control during rendering.

6) On the lighter side, this song was also one among the firsts to have bunch of white-dressed Devathais dancing meaninglessly for a private affair of love-making of hero and heroine. Later, we got a chance to see many such devathais even in colors :)

Despite all these specialities, I read somewhere that Raaja was not satisified with the output especially the singing. He wanted a better output, it seems. My God!! As SPB always says, Raaja is a "Raakshasan".


Suresh Kumar said...

Emjay - Are you sure that this song was composed after writing the lyrics?

Emjay said...

I am this much sure that Manobala told in an interview about this inspiration incident.

முருகேஷ் said...

I'm surprised to know that this lyric was written by Gangai Amaran. It's really neat.

When new singers talk about IR in interviews, they invariably say that IR never gives freedom to use their imagination /style to sing a song. They say that in a complaining tone. Imagine what we would hear if IR had left this song to singer's own style.