Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chandanam Manakkunna Poonthottam - Achuvettante Veedu

It is probably every man's dream - a house to call his own. My Dad dreamt of it too. And he built one - the one which we have been calling 'home' for the past 18 years. We were living in Dubai, and 'our house' was a work in progress during our early childhood. We (my sister and I) always heard Dad and Mom discuss its construction, how he was saving for 'our house' and that we would be moving to India to settle down there. And since those days, the song that reminds me of this phase is the song 'Chandanam manakkunna poonthottam'. 

Almost everything visualized in that song has parallels with our lives. The only difference is that the song picturizes future events, as it may occur when the house would be constructed; and in our case, it happened for real. I remember us visiting the site during construction and wondering what this structure of bricks as we saw it then would look like in the future, just as in the song. I see my dad in Nedumudi Venu, when he's furiously scrubbing the wash basin, most likely blowing a fuse at no one being responsible about keeping things clean! I remember Mom when the 'Achutham Keshavam Ramanarayanam' bit plays; for Mom taught us that prayer, and there was a time when even we used to sing this hymn (and more) together. Dad also fulfilled his dream of bringing Ammamma to our new home, and she stayed with us for a couple of days. My wedding happened this year... and our lovely home witnessed that joy too! The song shows Nedumudi Venu learning to drive a car, and that's the only thing he hasn't done and doesn't intend to!

What I like about the song is how it captures the aspirations of wanting to own a home, of how elevated we desire it to be. The lyrics portray the house as a character, and describes the various elements/features in a poetical way. 

In fact, the essence of how a common man dreams of his own house (to the point of obsession!) is the basic premise of this movie; and how fate changes plans and the family moves forward is what the story is about. Does Achuvettan build his 'dream' home? Watch the movie to know more.

Credits - 

Movie: Achuvettante Veedu (1987) [This is Balachandra Menon's 25th movie]
Song: Chandanam Manakkunna Poonthottam [This is the only song in the movie]
Lyrics:  S. Ramesan Nair
Music: Vidyadharan
Singer: K J Yesudas, Chitra (there are separate male and female tracks)

Here's the video -

Chandanam manakkunna poonthottam
Chandrikamezhukiya manimuttam
Ummarathambili nila vilakku
Uchathil sandhyakku naama japam
Hari naama japam

Achutham keshavam raama narayanam
Krishna dhaamodharam vaasudevam bhaje...(2)

Muttathu kinattil kulir vellathodu
Muthum palunkum tholkkenam
Kaalikal kudamaniyattunna thozhuthil
Kaalam vidupani cheyyenam
Saundaryam melkkoora meyumee veettil
Saubhagyam picha vachu nadakkenam

Achutham keshavam raama narayanam
Krishna dhaamodharam vaasudevam bhaje...(2)

Makkalee veettil mayil peeli methayil
Maithilimaarayi valarenam
Avarude swayamvara panthalorukaan
kalayum kamalayum porenam
Varadhaanam pookalamezhuthumee veettil
Vasanthangal thaalamenthi nilkkenam 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Satrangi Re - Dil Se

Dil Se... is my absolute favourite movie - read more on why I love it, here. As is well known, the movie Dil Se... depicts the seven shades of love, namely - attraction, infatuation, love, reverence, worship, obsession, and death. And the one song that brilliantly conveys it - as the title indicates - is Satrangi Re. So how do we see the seven shades of love? The lyrics and the picturization of the song is what goes hand-in-hand to do it. So presenting to you, the seven shades...
...but wait, I'm confused as to how I'll put the lyrics, its translation and the images so that you'll get what it's all about! Nevertheless, follow me!

Credits - 
Movie: Dil Se...
Song: Satrangi Re
Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: A R Rehman
Singers: Sonu Nigam, Kavitha Krishnamoorthy

Tu hi tu, tu hi tu satrangi re 
You, it's you -  you are the seven-coloured one
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu mann-rangi re
You, it's you - you are the one with a colourful spirit
Notice how they both are in black - even as the song begins on a 'colourful' note

Dil ka saaya hamsaaya, satrangi re... mann-rangi re
The shadow on my heart is your many colours
Koi noor hai tu, kyon door hai tu?
You are the light; but why are you so distant?
Jab paas hai tu, ehsaas hai tu... satrangi re 
When you are near, you are feeling itself (or he's continuing the comparison with light; and says when you are near, I can feel you - like I can feel the light)
Koi khwaab hai ya parchaai hai, satrangi re, satrangi re
Are you a dream, or a shadow? 
Is baar bata muh-zor hawa thehregi kahaan?
Tell me, where will this forceful wind come to a halt?

Ishq par zor nahin hai yeh woh aatish Ghalib 
Jo lagaye na lage, aur bujhaaye na bane

Ghalib was an Urdu poet. This is a shair, or verse, from one of his ghazals; a form of poetry in which the poet often finds a way to include his own name in the verse. The verse is brilliant because ghalib means 'overcoming', 'triumphant', 'dominant' or 'victorious'. And so the verse could literally reads:
"No one has control over love; it is a ghalib (triumphant) fire/firework;
It can neither be kindled on a whim, nor extinguished when you desire."

 Notice how he's in black (in the dark) and she's in white (the light) and he's yearning to cross over - to traverse from darkness to light, perhaps?

Aankhon ne kuch aise chua 
Her eyes, they touched me so...
Halka halka uns hua 
...Gently, and gently I was infatuated 
Dil ko ye mehsoos hua 
My heart felt it
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu  - jeene ki saari khushboo
You, it's you - you are the fragrance of living/life
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu aarzu aarzu 
You, it's you - you are my longing 
Teri jism ki aanch ko choote hi 
As soon as I touch the flame that is your body
Meri saans sulagne lagati hai 
My breath is ignited
Note the burning tree in the backdrop; a perfect prop to depict his fire

Mujhe ishq dilaase deta hai 
Love consoles/calms/comforts me
Mere dard bilakhne lagte hai 
 But my pain sobs noisily
 This is just to say that I love this 'twirling' technique! I've seen this in Alaipayuthey/Saathiya too - Mani Ratnam Trademark?

Tu hi tu, tu hi tu  - jeene ki saari khushboo
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu aarzu aarzu 
Chooti hai mujhe sargoshi se 
You touch me like a whisper
Aankhon mein ghuli khaamoshi se 
My eyes, with silence dissolved in them...

Can't you see it too? The reverence in his eyes!

Main farsh pe sajde karta hoon 
On the floor, I offer my prayers to you
Kuch hosh mein kuch behoshi se 
Some consciously, and some unconsciously


This bit is for the choreography - I am not sure, but to me, this appears like the 'two-bodies-one-soul' depiction. And this idea was (is?) pretty different.

 My interpretation - she's like the water; leaving him thirsty for more

Teri raahon mein uljha-uljha hoon
I am entangled in your ways
Teri baahon mein uljha-uljha 
I'm entangled in your embrace
The prop is (very aptly) the Rope. He's entangled by her.

Suljhaane de hosh mujhe 
Let me disentangle my senses
Teri chaah mein uljha hoon 
For, I'm so ensnared by your desires!
Mera jeena junoon, mera marna junoon
My life is submitted to your obsession; and so it'll be until death
Ab iske siwa nahi koi sukoon
Save this, there is no peace
A maddening frenzy and trance - the anticlimax
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu satrangi re 
Tu hi tu, tu hi tu mann-rangi re 
Ishq par zor nahin hai yeh woh aatish Ghalib 
Jo lagaye na lage, aur bujhaaye na bane
Mujhe maut ki god mein sone de
Let me sleep in the lap of death!
Teri rooh mein jism dubone de 
Let me dip my body in your soul
Satrangi re... mann-rangi re 
And note the end: both of them are in white (i.e. have found light; compare it to the initial scene). Death gave them salvation, perhaps?

If you didn't still realise, the seven colours do appear in the song (almost- and in the reverse VIBGYOR order, at that!) 

For me the magnificence of the lyrics, the visuals, the choreography combined is an overwhelming revelation. Of course, I don't know if I'm reading too much between the lines, but I find this a perfect harmony - what was intended to convey has been beautifully interpreted and presented. The credits have to be given where it's due - Gulzar, Mani Ratnam, A R Rehman, Sonu Nigam - take a bow!

P.S. I do realise that it's a tad too long, and different in structure from my other posts. But I bet you agree that this song deserves this elaboration!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gubbare - Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

It's not like I don't listen to any new songs. I do. But the old songs are everlasting and timeless; unlike very few songs of recent times - I doubt I'll recall them with as much fondness (if not more), say, five years down the line. You've got to admit it, they are like the new shiny toys you get - you are obsessed and engrossed for a couple of days. But then it's back to the old, tattered and bruised Teddy if you need some sleep. Okay, so maybe this metaphor is lame. But there's one I really liked. The post title says it all, doesn't it?

This song has a very Western and contemporary feel to it - which the movie obviously demands. And what I love is the metaphor - the lyricist likens 'moments' to 'balloons'. He maintains that metaphor throughout the song. Some balloons are filled a lot (indicative of abundance, perhaps), and some are flat (deflating moments in life) - but there's fun in each of it. What's more, take care - and hope that the 'pin' of sadness doesn't burst your 'balloon', 'coz you lose 'em balloons and they'll never come back again. There are so many colours, so why play with one? Take the whole bunch and have fun! Keep blowing the balloons and push the limit (make the most of each moment) and keep 'em all close to your heart.

Such a simple (yet different) thought put into simple words. 

And the video - here's two adults having simple, childlike, unadulterated fun (well, running an army tank over cars to destroy them isn't exactly childlike, and in the end they get back to drinking - but you get my point). That's in stark contrast to the title song of this movie, where they are completely sloshed and barely conscious. It really reminds one of how it were to be a child - walking into a carnival, all the joy rides, the games, the crowd, the fun, the prizes...
So here's the video and the lyrics. Enjoy!

Movie: Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012)
Song: Gubbare
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya
Music: Amit Trivedi
Singers: Nikhil D'Souza, Shilpa Rao, Amit Trivedi

Lyrics - 

Aasmaan se barse bhar-bhar ke
Neele, peele har colour ke
Tu khele jee bhar ke;
Aye dil tujhe pataa hai
Yeh lamhe aur kya hai
Jaan le; qism qism ke hai
Gubbare... Gubbare...

Koi thoda zyada bhara hai
Koi dheela phus padha hai, hawaa pe khada hai
Har ek mein mazaa hai
Aye dil tujhe pata hai
Yeh lamhe aur kya hai
Jaan le qism qism ke hai
Gubbare... Gubbare...

Dekho toh zara yeh, zara yeh kaise hai
Muskurahaton ke bahaane aise hai;
Janjhaton mein doobi doobi
Haan doobi duniya mein, duniya mein
Bulbule khushi ke, khushi ke
Khushi ke jaise hai

Zaraa sambhalke rehna, ghamo ka Pin chubhe na,
Kahin na phoot jaaye - dhatt teri!
Yeh pyaare se gubbare, na phir milenge saare
Bewakoofi hogi yaar yeh teri...

Ek se hi kaahe khele tu
Pura guchha lele tu
Sajaa le mele tu;
Bol kaisa lagta hai?
Aye dil tujhe pata hai
Yeh lamhe aur kya hai
Jaan le qism qism ke hai
Gubbare... Gubbare...

Ke chaahe jitne aur tu phulaa le
Haan muskura ke seene se laga le...
By the way, did I tell you it can get pretty addictive? You'll keep humming it and it should help lift your mood. Works for me!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chandan sa Badan - Saraswatichandra

There have been innumerable songs that describe love and how it feels to be smitten. In that enormous category, a sub-classification (if I could call it so) is describing your lady love. I would say it's an enormous avenue for drawing comparisons. And it's an endless opportunity - enough is never said, when you talk of your lady!

One such song that stands our for me is Chandan sa Badan. The language and the metaphors are rich -  sample some words: chitvan, kaam-kamaan, bhaune- does anyone use such good language any more? We are increasingly defiling love by calling it Kambhaqt Ishq and the likes; that's the sorry state of lyric writing today - the more crass and vulgar it is, the better (Actually that's fodder for another rant -so let me save it). The music itself is tasteful (based on Kalyani raga, apparently) and needless to say, it's highly romantic. It illustrates dignity while courting, which is rare to see these days. Often love is portrayed as 'sexy', lustful, sensuous - but the elements of purity, innocence or divinity is amiss now. And this song reminds me of how poetic and creative one can get. How he describes her is lovely - 
Her body - as if sculpted from sandalwood
Her mind - restless and playful
Her eyebrows - finely pencilled and bent like a bow
Her eyes - like a pond, lined with kohl (the eyes are like the pond, and the banks are lined with Kajra)
Her forehead - emblazed with the vermillion of the sun (referring to the Bindi)
Her lips - like the glowing embers

With such poetry, which lady wouldn't be bowled over? And I'd even liken this song to a great persuasive sales pitch. The man heaps praises on her - evoking her Attention, Interest and Desire. And ends up by saying, 'I've already suffered a lot without you, now please don't make me suffer any more!' - that's the Action she's supposed to take. Ergo, the AIDA model. See?

The picturization is interesting (and a bit naughty too). You can call it a bit clichéd also (but who hates clichés in romance?): we've the heroine going chori-chupe for a midnight rendezvous with her object of affection. I am impressed with Nutan; I haven't seen much of her movies, but how she acts in this song is lovely. Though I'm not convinced about Manish. He has this poker face (I feel) and he doesn't seem like he's madly in love with her. By the end of the video I went, 'She took the trouble of meeting him?' So yeah - he don't impress me much!

Here's the video (take a look - I've hyped it up so much already!)

Credits -
Movie: Saraswatichandra (1968) [Apparently the last Bollywood movie made in B'n'W]
Song: Chandan Sa Badan
Lyrics: Indeevar
Music: Kalyanji -Anandji
Singer: Mukesh

Chandan sa badan, chanchal chitvan,
Dheere se tera yeh muskana,
Mujhe dosh na dena jagwaalon,
Ho jaun agar main deewana.

Yeh kaam kamaan bhaune teri,
Palkon ke kinaare kajraare;
Mathe par sindoori suraj,
Honthon pe dehakhte angaare.
Saaya bhi jo tera pad jaaye,
Aabad ho dil ka veerana.

Tan bhi sundar, mann bhi sundar
Tu sundarta ki moorat hai;
Kisi aur ko shaayad kam hogi,
Mujhe teri bahut zaroorat hai.
Pehle bhi bahut mein tarsa hoon,
Tu aur na mujhko tarsaana. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perariyathoru Nombarathe - Sneham

This is probably a song which has not got its due. 
As simple as it may appear, the song conveys a strong sense of pathos - it's hard not to be moved by the undercurrent of pain that prevails. I just love the simplicity of the lyrics - have you noticed?
The entire poem that is this song follows a single pattern -
<Metaphor>-ne <Subject> ennu vilichu.

That's it - whether it's the Pallavi or Charanam. Actually, there's just six sentences - that's all of it! And in spite of the same structure, the tunes are different. And what metaphors! 
  • A nameless (or indescribable) pain is Love.
  • The pot of honey that breaks as it falls is a Tear (And just think it through - we'd say tear is saline, at best. And yet the lyricist calls it sweet - by comparing it to honey! And the imagery - a tear drop breaking is compared to a pot breaking - just superb!)
  • The golden, ephemeral sun's ray is Imagination (It probably hints at how attractive and yet fleeting imagination is - here before, gone now.)
  • The injured bamboo that cries is called a Flute (here, I love how the lyricist compares the sound of the flute, i.e. the music that comes from it as a painful plea; possibly also indicating that the bamboo goes through pain as it transforms into a flute - and the music that comes out of it is indicative of that pain).
  • The colours mixed into the tears of the clouds forms a Rainbow (I think this metaphor is sheer genius - it's like combining Science and Art! We know that light when refracted and dispersed by moisture droplets in the air causes a rainbow. He draws the metaphor in such a way that it looks poetic, and yet is logical in some ways).
  • The unforgettable 'silent' song (note the oxymoron) is the Mind (I am not sure I've got the essence of this comparison - maybe the lyricist is trying to say that the mind remembers all - and yet it holds all of the memories, which remain in our hearts like an unforgettable song).
This song is indeed a case of less is more.

Credits -
Movie: Sneham (1998)
Song: Perariyathoru Nombarathe
Lyrics: Yousuf Ali Kechery
Music: Perumbavoor G Ravindranath
Singer: K J Yesudas

Lyrics -
Perariyathoru nombarathe Premam ennaro vilichu,
Mannil veenudayunna thenkudathe Kannuneer ennum vilichu.

Thankathin niramulla maayamareechiye Sankalppam ennu vilichu,
Murivettu kezhunna paazhmulam thandine Muralika ennum vilichu.

Manimegha bhaashpathil chaalicha varnathe Maarivil ennu vilichu,
Marakkuvanavatha mouna sangeethathe Maanasam ennum vilichu.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nee En Sarga Soundaryame - Kathodu Kathoram

There are many songs you really don't notice, although you have been hearing it on and off. It doesn't really strike you. Then comes a moment, when the beauty of the song unravels and suddenly you understand the song much better, or hear it with a different set of ears. And then you say to yourself, 'Gosh, how hadn't I noticed this!'

A few days back, one such song revealed itself to me. I was watching Idea Star Singer on Asianet, and in the segment involving celebration of Dr. K J Yesudas' 50 years of singing, one of the contestants sang this song. And that's when I listened to it carefully. And I was moved. Nee en sarga soundaryame has a very 'Christian choir song' flavour to it, and truly so - because it's meant for the same, in the movie. Just watch the video below, and you'll see how it didn't become a typical 'choir' song, at that! But even without that distinction, the song very strongly evokes devotion and sense of surrender in front of the Almighty. It's beautifully composed, and there's not a single time since then, that I haven't felt something stir inside me on listening to it.

The trademark bit, of course, is the tune that is played on the Violin. I watched Ouseppachan's (the Music Director) interview on TV the other day, and he discussed this song. This was his debut movie as composer, and the first song he tuned. Being an expert violinist himself, he recorded a rough version on tape using the violin and sent it to Bharathan (the movie's director) who immediately liked it. Call it a coincidence of sorts, but the movie's lead character, Louis (played by Mammootty) was supposed to be a violin artist, and this song fell right into place! Divine intervention, if you could call it. This song, and two others from the same movie (Kathodu Kathoram and Devadoothar Paadi) went on to be huge hits.

And even though it has the strong 'Christian choir' feel to it, what's noteworthy is that the lyrics aren't. They are quite religiously neutral. And in many ways, that makes it universal - I love that. And most importantly, the comparison it draws - The Lord is the real Beauty, He is the Music. We are all nothing but His manifestations (=man-veena ) created by Him to sing His praise in different tunes. It was probably so written, keeping the lead's character in mind; being an instrumentalist, this could be an analogy that meets the situation.
(Probably atheists and their ilk would want to debate on this comparison. But of course, I don't want to digress; I am here to say  why I like this song).
I also liked the part where he compares the sky and the earth to His Devalayam, and the stars to the burning candles(okay, so here maybe they are indeed referring to a Church, after all! But hey, it's subtle, right?).

Last but not the least, I'd like to hand it to Dr. K J Yesudas - he has sung it with absolute reverence, respect and devotion. That goes for any religious song he has sung - Harivarasanam, to Oru neram enkilum or any other.

Credits -
Movie: Kathodu Kathoram (1985)
Song: Nee En Sarga Soundaryame
Lyrics:  O N V Kurup
Music: Ouseppachan
Singer: K J Yesudas, Lathika

Here's the video -

Nee en sarga soundaryame
Nee en sathya sangeethame
Ninte sankeerthanam sankeerthanam
Oro eenangalil paaduvaan
Nee theertha manveena njaan

Poomaanavum thaazhe ee bhoomiyum
Sneha laavanyame ninte devaalayam
Gopuram neele aayiram deepam
Uruki uruki mezhuku thirikal chaarthum
Madhura mozhikal kilikal athine vaazhthum
Melle njaanum koode paadunnu...

Thaalangalil deva paadangalil
Bali poojakkivar pookkal aayenkilo
Poovukal aakam aayiram janmam
Nerukil iniya thukila kanika chaarthi
Thozhuthu thozhuthu tharala mizhikal chimmi
Poovin jeevan thedum sneham nee...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vrishchika Poonilave - Thacholi Marumakan Chandu

Today as I was walking back to my apartment, from the bus stop, I looked up.
It's natural I think; to observe how the moon's looking today. We all do that.

  • Is she revealing only half her beauty? (Somehow, I can only personify the moon as a woman - so it's a she!)
  • Does she look like a nail cutting? (yes, a friend from school actually compared the crescent moon to that!)
  • Is she beaming in all her glory? 
Today was indeed a full moon. And as I felt the cold moonbeam on me, a song immediately came to my lips. And it finds its way onto this blog - Vrishchika poonilave. The poet/lyricist refers to the 'Vrishchika nilavu' and I am quite curious as to why he refers to the moon of Vrishchika (assuming he meant the month). If anyone has a take on this, please tell me. 

I find this song  both cute and naughty. And also as an attempt by the man to please (impress?) his lady love. After all he's asking the moon, aren't you ashamed of peeking into our privacy? And this being a period film, I felt that the words, metaphors and imagery has been carefully chosen to make it realistic. And the two comparisons I adore in this song -

Vaanathe valarmazhavillu pole
Ente maarathu mayangumee
Mangalangiye ......
(Likening the lady love resting on his chest, to the rainbow in the sky)

Vathilin pirakile navavadhu pol nilke
Vaathayanithiloode nokkaruthe...
(As my lady love stands near the door, coy like a newly wed - don't peep through the window)

Credits -
Movie: Thacholi Marumakan Chandu (1974)
Song: Vrishchika poonilave 
Lyrics: P Bhaskaran
Music: Dakshinamurthi
Singer: K J Yesudas

Not the best of prints, but it will have to do.

And the lyrics (P Bhaskaran was one amazing man, I tell you):

Vrishchika poonilave
Pichaka poonilave
Machinte melirunnu olichu nokkan
Lajjayille lajjayille
Ninakku lajjayille

Ilamavin thayyu thalirtha pole
Vayanadan vaakathai pootha pole
Vanathe valarmazhavillu pole
Ente maarathu mayangumee mangalangiye
Aruthe aruthe... Nokkaruthe

Naakiya sundhari manjani rathri
Nanichu nanichu nakham kadichu
Vathilin pirakile navavadhu pol nilke
Vaathayanithiloode nokkaruthe
Aruthe Aruthe... Nokkaruthe