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 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gata Rahe Mera Dil - Guide

I woke up groggily this Sunday morning and switched on the TV while having my cereal. That's when the news channel were flashing the unexpected news - Dev Anand had passed away.

Since then, all the channels have been swarming with reactions of the film fraternity - co-stars, directors, actors, et al. Numerous recent (and past) interviews are being aired and lots of movie clippings are being shown. But most importantly, a lot of songs! Indeed he had a number of super hit songs picturised on him. This post would prolong into a blog in itself, if I had to write on all the good Dev Anand songs (heck, that might as well be the compilation of all songs from his filmography!). So no - I won't. True to this blog, it's just one song that will be here. And I guess you figured it from the blog title!

My memory of this song is that I would inevitably sing this first if the letter 'ga' came whilst playing Anthakshari with friends or cousins. It was effortless. And when I was a kid, I didn't like this song much. And singing it for the letter 'ga' was the only purpose this song served (yeah, as strange as it sounds). But later on, I actually started listening to it carefully - and started loving it. It has this fresh, young feel to it and it's the kind of open-throated song you should sing out in the open - like in the jungles or the hills (as it has been picturised in the movie). I've heard that Dev Anand had a fascination for the hills and he often chose it as locations for his songs (I bet now you are doing a mental recap of his songs).

I think this song best embodies how optimistic love seems at its onset - it seems everlasting, you wish your partner is always by your side; that he/she never changes and you'll walk into the sunset of your lives - together. Of course, it was not meant to last, in the movie. I think I should catch it soon.

Why this song? - you didn't ask. But let me tell you anyway. Mom had called me today morning. After the usual chit-chat, as she was going to cut the call, Dad insisted he be given the phone. The next thing I hear is him singing 'Gata rahe mera dil....'! I hadn't expected it and my immediate reaction was to laugh. But then I knew. He had paid a little tribute when he sang that one line in the best way he could. So here it is - 

Credits -
Movie: Guide (1965)
Song: Gata Rahe Mera Dil
Lyrics: Shailendra
Music: S D Burman
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar 

And to sing along - 

Gaata rahe mera dil, Tu hi meri manzil
Kahin beete na yeh raatein, kahin beete na yeh din
Gaata rahe mera dil

Pyaar karne waale, arre pyaar hi karenge
Jalne waale chaahe jal jal marenge
Mil ke jo dhadke hai woh dil, hardam yeh kahenge
Kahin beete na...
Oh kahin beete na yeh raatein kahin beete na yeh din
Gaata rahe mera dil

O mere hamrahi, meri baah thaame chalna 
Badle duniya saari, tum na badalna 
Pyaar humein bhi sikhaladega, gardish mein sambhalna
Kahin beete na ...
Oh kahin beete na yeh raatein kahin beete na yeh din
Gaata rahe mera dil

Dooriyan ab kaisi, arre shaam jaa rahi hai 
Humko dalthe dalthe, samaja rahi hai 
Aati jaati, saans jaane kab se gaa rahi hai, 
Kahin beete na ...
Oh kahin beete na yeh raatein kahin beete na yeh din
Gaata rahe mera dil

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Debut Post - Chandrikayil Aliyunnu

It's been quite some time since I created this blog. One fine day, I felt that I just had to start this - but somehow, the maiden post never really kicked off. I tweaked how the blog looks (numerous times). Every time I sat to write, I kept postponing it. I wondered which song to start off with. I wondered what format the posts should take. But looks like today is the day - and I begin this, just as spontaneously as I created this blog.

So....I am no great singer myself, but music means a lot to me. I have, of course grown up on a staple diet of film music, be it Malayalam or Hindi. And I have to thank my Dad for that. He made sure that we (my sister and me) were exposed to music, right since childhood. We were born and brought up in Dubai, and good Indian entertainment was hard to come by in those days.No, I'm not revealing my age here; just so that you know, it was when Dubai wasn't as much a mini- India (or mini-Kerala?!) it is today. So, what he'd do was buy Video Cassettes of Malayalam songs. It was quite popular back then - collections of songs from movies released then. And we still have those back here, in various stages of dilapidation; have to convert them to CDs before all's lost... but I digress.

So as I was saying, we caught up on the goodness of Malayalam songs and movies in our apartment back at Dubai, with the songs unfolding on our mini-screen. The very mention of this brings back memories of my childhood as I watched and re-watched those cassettes in my spare time. And that's how we soaked in the beauty of Malayalam music and movies. As for Hindi songs, my Dad was an ardent fan of Hindi movies and music too. Also thanks to Zee TV and Annu Kapoor's Anthakshari (an iconic show, I tell you - nothing matches that show yet... my all-time favourite), we heard a lot of the old classic Hindi songs. And I love and respect that show because it was the only show where I saw lyrics being given as much importance as the music. I've seen a lot of people neglect the lyrics - but for me, that's anathema! How on earth can you neglect the beautiful thoughts and imagery that a song contains? But that might be an altogether separate rant/post - so let me save it for later!

I remember Dad once taking us to a music store in Dubai to get us some audio tapes and CDs (it was quite making an entry, and was pretty expensive back then). And we saw the shopkeeper's jaw drop when we were spewing out our list of old Hindi songs, and demanding Mohd. Rafi and Kishore Kumar collections. We were barely 9 years of age, and he was surprised to even know that we knew those songs!

Okay, so enough of me bragging. In short, that's how my love for film music began.

So.... why this blog? What's it going to have?
I am not sure of any format yet. I am just going to choose a song I like, per post. And share my memories with it - like: where did I hear it first? Why is it special to me? What do I like about it - the lyrics, the rendition or the picturization?... and so on. So basically, it's going to my personal association with the song; or quite simply a song will be here 'coz I like it! I am hoping that as the blog evolves, it will also find a personality of it's own. Till then, I'll be experimenting.

And  since I can't thank my Dad enough for having triggered my interest for film music, I am going to begin this blog with one of my Dad's favourites!

The song is 'Chandrikayil aliyunnu chandrakaantham'. Now I am not entirely sure if this is his favourite, or one among his favourites. But of the rare times that I've heard him sing (rather hum), he used to sing the opening lines of this song. So any time I hear this song, it reminds me of my Dad. Or rather, it's one of the songs I associate with him.

So here's a video of the song I could find on YouTube.

Credits -
MovieBharyamar Sookshikkuka (1968)
SongChandrikayil Aliyunnu
Lyrics: Sreekumaran Thampi
Music: Dakshinamurthi
Singers: K J Yesudas, P Leela

And if you feel like singing along, here are the lyrics:

Chandrikayil aliyunnu chandrakaantham
Nin chiriyil aliyunnen jeeva-raagam
Neela-vaanil aliyunnu daaha megham
Nin mizhiyil aliyunnen jeeva megham

Thaarakayo neela thaamarayo nin
Thaarani kannil kathir chorinju
Varna-mohamo poya janmapunyamo nin
Maanasathil prema-madhu pakarnnu

Madhavamo nava hemanthamo nin
Mani-kkavil malaraay vidartthiyenkil
Thanka-chippiyil ninte thenalar chundil oru
Sangeetha binduvaay njaan unarnnuvenkil