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Song of the Day # 1018

From: bb on: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:51 pm 

Song of the Day: aadhi ushas sandhya from pazhassi raja.



- Shankar writes:

Hariharan + MT Vasudevan Nair + mammookka gave us a brilliant movie + album in “oru vadakkan veera gAdhA” (Chandana lEbha sugandham, to name one – by Bombay Ravi, Hariharan’s regular MD). After 18 years, they are back, except this time, Raja scores for them, and my personal expectation was very high because Hariharan doesn’t compromise on quality, and Raja doesn’t disappoint.

After a long time, I found a Raja album where each song had something interesting in it unlike an “elankAthu veesudhE” here, and “maa ganga” & “kaNNil pArvai” there.

While many people swear by Chithra’s “kunnathE konnaikkum”, I found this song pretty interesting for two reasons:
1. This is set to a pre-written poem by ONV Kurup
2. This song captures the essence of this movie (the lyrics, and the dynamics of the song clearly sets the context of the movie)

The prelude with its Keyboard rhythm, violins, and the Horn sets the stage for KJY to start:
Adhi ushas Sandhya poothadhividE, (ONV shows his class with the very first line – “the first dawn/dusk blossomed here”)
Adhi sargam thALamArnadhividE” (the first canto got its rhythm from here – experts correct me if I’m wrong).

He talks further about the beauty of this land…
bOdha nilA pAl karan-n-u,
mA munimAr thavan cheidhu,
Nadha gangai ozhugi vannadhividE
“ (check the percussions brought in to augment the primary rhythm….kalakkals!!)

Raja brings the ominous signs of invasion, creating an eerie mood (including the hissing female voice). I’ve no idea what Raja had in mind while composing this interlude, but to me, it looked like the Snake (satan) slithering into the Garden of Eden.

The first charaNam starts lamenting about the chaos created by the invaders in the God’s own Country
ArividE kooriruLin MadagaL theerthu,
ArividE thEnkadaN-N-aL koodu thagarthu
ArividE churangaL thANdi chooLamadichu
Ana kErA mAmalathan mounam udachu

[who disturbed the honey comb, who created noise in the Ghats (of wayanad), who broke the silence of the mountains that aren’t treaded even by elephants]

The next lines explain the anguish of people to whom freedom is as unreachable as the Sky, and Raja aptly introduces the chorus to create the right mood:
swAdhandriyam mElE neela AkAsham pOlE

Till now, the anguish is represented by a solo male voice (with MGS repeating KJYs lines).
The second stanza talks about the uprising, and Raja brings back the Horns, and the violins, and KJY starts with (there’s a very quiet bit, depicting their night camping, right before KJY begins – donno if Raja added this piece after the song was shot)

Edhu kaigaL araNikkol kadannjirunnu,
chEdhanaiyil, aRivindE agni yuNrnnu,
soora tEja sAksharadham jeeva NALam pOl
nooru mana vAdhalgaLil jwalayuNarnnu

[How many hands worked on getting the ‘araNi (“samith” - small sticks used in Yagna), and gave life to the (fire of) knowledge, Like the life line of the intellects (brave & sharp literates), the fire of freedom touched the minds of 100s of people]

When the song reaches the climax, Raja uses his tested technique of chorus repeating the male lead, leading to a crescendo denoting the uprising, to end the song.

There are a few glitches like KJY going off key in places like (uNarnnu, and losing clarity in places like sAksharadham/vAdhalgaLil etc).
Except that the song left a lasting impact, making me listen to it in repeat mode (which hasn’t happened to me for any song in recent times except masakali from dilli-6)

The movie itself is well-shot, with good production values. More than the songs, Raja, as expected, shows his class in the BGScore. His usage of silence, as always has been exemplary.
A motif lasting just 3 bars, has some 4-5 variants, depending on the mood of the scene, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many variants of such a short motif (the best is when Mammootty visits Captain Raj’s place, and the one towards the climax comes a close second).
There’s a tribal theme, played during the thalassery fort scene, which remains etched in the memory.

I was tempted to draw parallels with Guru, but given that Guru was a fantasy, and this a period movie, it made no sense whatsoever to compare the songs (and the mood they depicted). Guru was a landmark album and any good Raja album relying primarily on Western classical form, would be compared to Guru. While, Guru scored in its variety, this scores purely on Raja freaking out in the rhythm/percussion sections :)

Tags: Ilayaraja , K.J.Yesudas

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