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Song of the Day # 503

From: bb (@ on: Wed Sep 15 07:02:50 EDT 2004

Song of the Day: eppO varuvaarO from vENugaanam.


- Saravanan writes:

eppO varuvaarO..’ from vENugaanam. Sung by N.C.Vasantakokilam.
Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s original lines suitably altered by Kambadasan, and set to music by Govindarajulu Naidu.

* * * *

vENugaanam (1941/ Jewel Pictures) was scripted by the legendary K.Ramnoth. Dialogues were written by Ki.Ra. The film was directed by the famed Murugadasa, who had earlier directed films like sundaramoorthi naayanaar (1937). The film starred N.C.Vasantakokilam, V.V.Sadagopan, K.Sarangapani, G.Sakuntala and others.

The film was based on the story of princess Mitravinda, who hears of the wonderful deeds of Lord Krishna and pines for his love. Her determination sees her through seemingly insurmountable hurdles, and she finally marries the Lord.

I believe the film was a great success, the wonderful songs rendered by Vasantakokilam and Sadagopan acting as bewitching catalysts in drawing the crowds to the movie halls. Viravanalloor Vedantham Sadagopan was a gifted singing star who glittered for a brief while in the late 30s and early 40s. All the songs were written by Kambadasan. Over the years I managed to collect the following songs from the film, but I guess there would be some more songs in the album. ‘yEzhai chelvan jaadhi bEdham’ (VVS), ‘inbam inbam jagamengum inbam’ (NCV), ‘puNNiya dhinamindRE srikaNNan piRandha puNNiya dhinam’ (NCV), ‘seyal purindhidavENdum’ ( VVS, set in Reethigowlai!), ‘vindhai maandhar seyalE’ (VVS) are all vintage treasures, soaked deep in the pristine classical heritage of early tfm.

* * * *

Gopalakrishna Bharathi (1810-1896), a great savant, social reformer, and prolific composer of devotional songs, had written ‘eppO varuvaarO’ as a paean to Lord Siva, setting it in Jonpuri. While retaining the essential flavor of song, Kambadasan made a few alterations to suit the milieu of vENugaanam. Thus ‘thillai chidambara dEvan’ was supplanted by ‘dwarakai parandhaaman’; and ‘kaRpanaigaL mutRak kaatchi thandhaan’ gave way to ‘poRkodi en thuyar pOkki maNandhida’

* * * *

G. Govindarajulu Naidu was an acclaimed MD in the early years of tfm, held in reverence by even stalwarts like G.Ramanathan, S.V.Venkataraman and S.M.Subbiah Naidu. His landmark albums include sathi anasuya (1937), sri kandha leela (1938), vijayalakshmi(1945), andhamaan kaidhi (1952), manithanum mirugamum(1953), kaLvanin kaadhali (along with Ghantasala/ 1955), baghdad thirudan (1960) and rajabhakthi (1960). Few may be the films that came his way in a career spanning 3 decades, but Govindarajulu Naidu has left a lingering impact in his creations like the unforgettable ‘kaaNi nilam vENdum’ (C.S.Jayaraman & MLV), the soulful ‘vaazhvin jeevan kaadhalE’ (Ghantasala/ Leela versions), the breezy ‘anju rooba nOttai’ (T.V.Rathinam), the melodious ‘inba kuyil kuralinimai’ (AMR & MLV), the stately ‘imayamalai chaaralilE’ (MLV), the philosophical ‘kaalamenum siRpi seiyyum’ (CSJ), the seductive ‘sokkudhE manam, suththudhE jagam’ (PS)…

* * * *

Sitting in the verandah in my friend’s house in Adyar, we could hear some nondescript singer traverse the ragamalika passages of ‘yEn paLLikoNdeerayya’ in the Ananthapadmanabhaswmi Temple across the road. My friend’s grandmother gave a wistful sigh and exclaimed ‘Aaah, NCV indha paatta ennamaa paaduvaa..’ That was the first time I heard the name of NCV, and the very name ‘Vasantakokilam’ sounded so musical. A few months later, I found a HMV cassette of a NCV compilation “Old Gems” in the annual music sale in Shankara Hall. And listening to the songs, I was instantly hooked! ‘aasai koNdEn vaNdE’, ‘thithikkum senthamizhaal dEsaabhimaanam enum’, ‘ananda nadanam aadinaaL’, ‘andha naaL ini varumO’, ‘varuvaanO vanakkuyilE’…magic was in the air as I listened to her songs. That she had sung in films too was a revelation, the compilation included ‘paanganachOlai alankaram’ and ‘kalaivaaNi aruL purivaai’ (Gangavatar/1942)!

Nagapattinam Chandrasekar Kamakshi (NCV’s real name) was born in 1921 in Irinjalakkuda, and the family soon shifted to Nagapattinam. Sensing his daughter’s inclination, Chadrasekara Iyer got her to train under Nagapattinam Gopala Aiyyar. In the late 30s, he took his talented daughter to Madras, so that she may get the opportunities she richly deserved. She soon won critical notice, and started giving concerts. Her father got her married, but the marriage proved to be short-lived as she found her husband not inclined to encourage her music pursuits.

It was at this juncture that C.K. Saachi, who had earlier worked with Ellis Dungan, and also had independently directed radha kalyaaNam (1935), took her under his fold. He soon set about directing chandragupta chanakya (1940/ Trinity Theatres), with NCV playing the role of the princess Chaaya. vENugaanam followed next. The success of vENugaanam heralded NCV as a singing star, and Saachi embarked on gangavathaar (1942/ Sundaram Sound Studios). The film had NCV’s songs like ‘anandam, aLavilla miga anandam’, ‘idhuvenna vEdhanai’, ‘ananda maya vaanulageedhE’, ‘kaavin manOhara kaatchiyin maanbe’ helped make the film a grand success.

NCV next appeared as MKT’s wife in the famous Haridas (1944/ Royal Talkie distributors), and sang ‘kathiravan udhayam kaNdu kamalangaL mugam malarum’, ‘KaNNa vaa maNivaNNa vaa’, ‘enathu manam thuLLi viLayaadudhE’, ‘enathu uyir naathan hrudayam nondhE ennai pirindhaan’, and even a unique duet with MKT: ‘thottadhaRkkellaam thappeduthaal’. Vaalmiki and kuNdalakEsi, both 1946, followed and NCV had significant roles in both films. Her last film, krishNa vijayam (1950/ Jupiter Pictures) had her singing songs like ‘navaneetha kaNNanae radhamOha, karuNanidhE madhava nithya kalyaNa guNa madhava’, ‘porumai kadalaagiya bhoomadEvi. Even while she was donning the grease paint, NCV had steadfastly pursued her career as a classical singer, and was ranked among the top performers of the time. Many records were released containing her classical/ semi-classical songs, and NCV rose to dizzying heights of popularity. No less a personage than Tiger K. Varadchariar conferred upon NCV the august title ‘madhura geetha vaaNi’. Her personal life however, was far from happy. NCV fell victim to a severe attack of tuberculosis, and passed away in 1951 when she was just thirty years old.

Listen to NCV’s rousing delineation of Periyasami Thooran’s ‘aadu raattE’; follow it up with her moving rendition of Sudhdhanandha Bharathi’s ‘andha naal ini varumO’; savor at leisure her exquisite treatment of Dikshithar’s ‘saarasa dala nayana’; hark at her nonchalantly lift to divine heights Vedayanakam Pillai’s ‘indha varam tharuvaan’; and top it up with her soulful interpretation of Thyagaraja’s ‘needayarada’….and you will discover the enchantment of this long lost nightingale of yore. The nightingale, who, borrowing from Macbeth, “should have died hereafter…”

- niththiraiyil vandhu by NCV: http://www.dhool.com/sotd2/274.html

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