Wednesday, 10 September 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Conjuror!

காதலினால் மானுடர்க்குக் கவிதை யுண்டாம்;
கானமுண்டாம் சிற்பமுதற் கலைக ளுண்டாம்;
ஆதலினால் காதல் செய்வீர்;உலகத்தீரே
அ.'.தன்றோ இவ்வுலகத் தலைமை யின்பம்.

Love Gives Poetry;
Love Gives Music;
Love is the Source of Fine Arts;
Therefore, Please Love!
Is it not the Eternal Bliss!!

Subramania Bharathi, was a multi-faceted, multi dimensional personality. His poems covered a gamut of topics like Patrioticm, Feminism, Spirituality, Philosophy, Socialism and many more. His ideas were revolutionary and his language simple. He was also a visionary and his approach was scientific.

Though he was a Believer, he condemned the Division of people in the name of Religion, and Caste. He gave a clarion call to the youth to build a new India and wanted people to burn all their superstitions.

He strongly believed in the dictum ‘Love is God’.

He simplified the language of Tamizh –mainly its poetic form- so that even a layman could understand what is being said.

That is why he is called as the Mahakavi!

I find lot of parallels between ILaiyaraaja and Bharathi.

Like Bharathi, Raja revolutionized Cine Music.His music is also multi dimensional and he has used all the major forms of World Music.

He simplified Classical Music so that it reached the Common Man.His approach to Music has been both Scientific as well as Artistic.

Innovation and improvisation have always been his forte.

That is why he is called as ‘IsaiGnani’.

Both ILaiyaraaja and Bharathi are Geniuses in their own way and have made our country proud.

Now let us turn our attention to a Composition that is one of the (many) Masterpieces of Raja.

It is ‘Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru’ from the Film ‘Thambikku Entha Ooru’.

This is based on a Raga called Charukesi-literally meaning the Woman with Beautiful Hair!

Raja used this Raga for the first time in ‘Amma Nee Sumantha Pillai’(Annai Oru Alayam).It was a melancholic cry of a son who had just then lost his mother.

And here we have the same Raga being used in a Romantic situation!

No doubt any Raga has many dimensions but it is also a fact that Raja’s Music has many dimensions.

Charukesi is a Classical Raga and is the 26th Melakartha.

The structure is-sa ri2 ga3 ma1 pa dha1 ni2 Sa/Sa ni2 dha1 pa ma1 ga3 ri2 sa.

The Raga has a unique beauty and flows very smoothly like a River.

Now the Composition…

Though the entire Song is very beautiful, two things stand out.

First is the Tala structure.

The Composition is set in the 8 beat cycles and the rhythm follows the pattern - Ta Ki Ta Ta (Ka) Ta Ki Ta.

The first akshara (ka) in the second cycle is almost silent.

The ‘eduppu’(beginning) of the pallavi is after ¾ count(called as Mukkaal Idam).

Generally in any song if the pallavi starts like this, it also ends in the same place in the Tala cycle. In this case, it does not end there but ends at another point.

We see such unusual patterns in the charanams as well.

But finally the cycle is completed at the end of the whole song.

I cannot remember any other song with such a unique design.

Second is the design of the Pallavi.

Only five Swaras of Charukesi –sa ri ga pa dha- are used in the pallavi making it sound like Vaasanthi, a pentatonic raga.

Maya (theory of illusion)?

In fact, the entire song was composed in a Hospital.Raja was recuperating from his surgery and he whistled the entire tune- including the BGM-while his assistant took notes.

Let us now look at the song…

We see the Flamboyance in the brief Aalap followed by the Violins.

Celebration of Love at its best!

In the first interlude, Violins exult with the small Flute playing with effulgence. It is like the twittering of the Birds.

The Charanams are intricately carved and delicately etched.

‘Netru Pol Indru Illai’ also has only the five Swaras and the sixth Swara ‘ma’ makes its appearance only in ‘Indru Pol Naalai Illai’.

‘Anbile Vaazhum’ is glorious with the sangathis that have an ineffable effect!

And ‘Ennam Yaavum Solla Vaa’ resonates and reverberates.

The Second Interlude starts with a solid and melodious percussion followed by the Guitar.

We see a Panoramic Valley. We see bursts of wild endless colours - Minty Green, Wine Red, Sunny Yellow, Woody Brown, Lemony Orange, Snowy White, Dreamy Blue…

It is a riot of Colours…

Various Colours of Love…

The Composition is a Marvellous Condensation of the Raga..

It is the unraveling of the Mystic Beauty of the Raga(and Tala as well).

It is a Delectable Improvisation..

It is an Unostentatious presentation of Love..

It is the Light of Music.. glowing Forever!

இது அவர் ஏற்றிய காதலின் தீபம்..இசையின் தீபம்..அணையா தீபம்!

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Archana said...

Anna, once when I was watching sun TV Saptaswarangal, one of the contestants sang this song "Kaadhalin". As per the round's rule they have to choose a ragam, sing a carnatic song in that and sing a relevant movie song. He sang this song and said it is raaga Vaasanthi. Then I thought that it maybe vaasanthi as Ive not heard it. Your stand on this?

Raj said...


As I have mentioned in my post, he has used sa ri ga pa dha in the pallavi only.
Charukesi being a sampoorna raga, there is absoultely nothing wrong in this.

One finds all the swaras in the BGM and in the Charanams.

Therefore, it is Charukesi only!