Seperation or Viraha is a pet topic of poets.
All major literary works depict Viraha beautifully.
One of the major works in Sanskrit ,’Geeta Govinda’ was written by Jayadeva in the 12th century .It talks about Krishna and Radha -symbolizing the Supreme being and a devotee respectively- and has lot of philosophical connotations.
But it also depicts divine love at its best and therefore can be classified under Love poems. The poems are incredibly beautiful.
In one of the Ashtapathis(8th),Radha’s friend approaches Krishna and informs him of the agony of Radha owing to her state of separation(from Krishna):
‘She fears and reviles the dint of moonbeams as though they are the arrows of Love-god. She loathes the sandal-paste.
She reckons the cool and sandal-scented breeze from Mt. Malaya venomous, as though it has caressed the abode of serpants
Thus, now she is lovelorn, as you have left her in the lurch..’.
‘Nindati chandanam IndukiraNam anuvindati khedamadheeram
Vyaalanilayamilanena garalamiva kalayati malayasameeram
Saa Virahe Tava Deenaa..’
This is Viraha in poetic form!
One of the masterpieces of Raja describes separation in musical form.
The English Film ‘Man Woman and a Child’ inspired many film makers. It came out as ‘Masoom’ in Hindi, as ‘Olangal’ in Malayalam and ‘Oru Odai Nadiyagirathu’ in Tamizh.
The Tamizh film was directed by the great film maker Shridhar.
The story of the film is beyond the scope of this discussion and therefore let me try and explain the sequence.
One of the heroines-Sumalatha- has a past connection with the Hero Raghuvaran , a fact both of them do not know(pl do not ask me how..as I said it is beyond the scope of this thread).When she meets him after a while, she is attracted towards him-despite knowing he is married. Unable to take him away from her thoughts,she cannot bear the separation.
Let us focus our attention on the song.
The sequence itself is abstract and appears as a dream.
The song is ‘Kanavu Ondru Thondruthey..’ and is rendered by Janaki.
It is based on Revati, a pentatonic raga that evokes feelings of nostalgia, fear, sympathy , compassion and above all an unexplainable feeling.It is a more recent raga .
The structure is sa ri1 ma1 pa ni2 Sa—Sa ni2 pa ma1 ri1 sa.
The first thing that strikes us in 'Kanavu Ondru..’ is the rather unusual prelude.The string instrument sounds like a Tanpura and the feathertouch piano keys kindle our emotions.
The Bass guitar itself acts as the rhythm playing the three notes of Revathi repeatedly as the punchy western flute and the synthesizer join. Meanwhile the Bass Guitar continues to play nonchalantly.
Janaki sings ‘Kanavu Ondru Thondruthe ithai yaarodu solla’twice without any percussion instruments…And then the magic unfolds…The perussion starts as we hear ‘vizhiyorangaL..’and the 8 beats are divided as ‘Ta ka Dhi mi Ta ka Ta –‘.
Four things are to be noted here:
The stress is on ‘Dhi’ and the last ‘Ta’.
The last beat is left blank.
The Bass Guitar plays during Ta ka Dhi mi.
The percussion stops towards the end of the pallavi as ‘Kanavu Ondru’ is rendered again.
All these create a very different ambience.
The Bass Guitar plays with piercing sharpness supported by the punchy violins and the synthesizer.
Suddenly the piano appears from nowhere and moves decorously even as the bass guitar plays in the background. The violins join and just towards the end, the percussion reappears with a very interesting pattern:
Ta – Ta ka (gap) Ta – Ta ka (gap) Ta – Ta ka (gap).
Let me explain what this is.
24 is divided as 4,4,4,4,4,4.The gaps are filled with violins.
Cutting edge precision!
What one sees here is the heady shimmer of gold crust!!
The charanam is another beauty.Each line is sung with emotive intensity. ‘Poomagal Meladai.’.is sung with beautiful ‘podi sangathis’and as we tend to forget ourselves more things follow.
The violins stir us at the end of each word. It twinges our hearts when she cries ‘Kaamane Vaaradhe..’ first in the higher pitch and then in the lower pitch, and we too begin to cry.
In the second BGM(interlude), the vivacious violins, the double bass and the cello make us swivel and as the intoxicating flute plays we become dizzy. We are in a state of trance and we see illuminated brilliant flashes of divine light as the piano plays ..
Paradise on the Earth!
I have never seen a better Film composition in Revati nor will I see ever!
The Western arrangement and orchestration-without mixing even a single alien swara- combined with the Indian rhythmic calculations and patterns are possible only by one person!
கனவு ஒன்று தோன்றுதே அதில் இந்த தெய்வீக இசை கேட்குதே!
I listen to this Divine Music in my dreams …