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Song of the Day # 599

From: bb on:  Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:14 am

Song of the Day: anju rooba from andhaman kaithi.

Listen to the song

- Saravanan writes:

anju rooba nOttai’ from andaman kaithi. Sung by T.V.Rathnam. Lyrics by Ku.Sa. Krishnamoorthi. Music by G.Govindarajulu Naidu.

* * * *

Circa 1947. The unscrupulous Ponnambalam Pillai helps himself to the properties and riches of his brother-in-law Chidambaram Pillai, who is settled in faraway Karachi. Ponnambalam is aided in his unsavory activities by his sidekick Jambu and the court clerk Muniyandi. When the gullible Chidambaram Pillai returns home and starts questioning Ponnambalam, he is bumped off without much ado.

In the aftermath of the horrifying partition, Chidambaram Pillai’s family manages to escape from the strife torn Karachi. His wife, son Natarajan and daughter Leela reach their hometown, only to find Chidambaram Pillai dead. They are driven away by the heartless Ponnambalam. An honest youth Balu, who watches this sordid drama, is moved by their plight and offers them shelter in his house. And as expected, falls in love with Leela. Cupid strikes Natarajan too in the meantime- pity for Vallikannu, who had been a victim of Ponnambalam’s lust, soon turns to love.

The scheming Jambu gets Natarajan arrested on trumped up charges, and succeeds in getting Leela married to Ponnambalam. Leela pretends to be haunted by a ghost, and manages to postpone consummating the coerced marriage. But Jambu sees through her pretences and makes bold to molest her. Balu rushes to save Leela from her ordeal, but when he reaches her house, he finds Leela torn and bruised, and… Ponnambalam is lying dead! Balu is charged with the murder and arrested…

This mournful, meandering (literally, from Karachi to Trichy to Andaman!) story by Ku.Sa. Krishnamoorthi was adapted for the stage by T.K.Shanmugam, and ‘Andaman Kaithi’ was a hugely successful drama. Its success must have prompted its celluloid adaptation. Ku.Sa. Ki wrote the script himself and penned the lyrics as well for the movie Andaman Kaithi (1952/Radhakrishna Films). The film was directed by V.Krishnan and had a galaxy of stars in its cast. MGR (this was the first film where he was referred to as M.G.Ramachandran in the titles; he was called M.G.Ramachandar in his earlier ventures) played Natarajan. Others in the cast were Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair (Balu), P.K.Saraswathi (Leela), M.S.Draupadhi (Vallikannu), K.Sarangapani (Ponnambalam Pillai), T.S.Baliah (Jambu) and T.N.Sivadhanu (Muniyandi).

* * * *

The proceedings were punctuated with a surfeit of songs. Each song that Govindarajulu Naidu created for the film is worth cherishing. Among those that I recollect, Bharathiar’s ‘kaaNi nilam vENdum’ finds emotive delineation by C.S.Jayaraman and MLV. ‘vaazhvin jeevan kaadhalE, vaLarum anbin nilaiyaalE’ has two versions by Ghantasala (happy) and P.Leela (pathos), each one enthralling in its way, glittering with Ku.Sa.Ki’s alliterative wordplay. ‘vaNNa malar thannai kaNdu’ (beginning with ‘O…Balu, O…Leela’), is a fetching Ghantasala/ PL duet. Chandrababu and Ratnamala have a quaint ditty ‘ I love you..I love you.. aasaiyanEnE un mElE’. CSJ’s high pitched ‘ inbam illadha illara vaazhvil’ raises sorrow to heartrending proportions. P.Leela, A.P.Komala and T.V. Rathnam have a blast in ‘college padippukku goodbye; nam kaadhal vaazhvukkini welcome!!’ And even before any old-timer could quiver with indignation at the (then) presumably bold lyrics, Ku.Sa.Ki clarifies in the lines that follow: ‘ B.A. pareetchai mudinju pOchchu, result first class-ilE pass seidhaachu!’ T. V.Rathnam had two other solos too: the breezy ‘mayangaadhE.. mathi mayangaadhE..’ and the melancholic ‘inbam nEruma, en vaazhvil inbam nEruma’

More on Govindarajulu Naidu:


* * * *

‘Then why doesn’t the Govt. just print more money?’ was my naïve question when our Economics professor was striving hard to drill into us the complex concepts relating to inflation. And as the entire class laughed, that venerable man threw up his hands in frustration and despair.

I am sure Ku.Sa. Ki never had to labor with never ending pages of Inflation (neither the Cost-Push nor the Demand-Pull kind!), Deflation, Stagflation, the Phillips Curve or the Keynesian Cross, yet what an astute and simple précis he presents of the entire gamut of those time-tested concepts- truly a dissertation that Keynes himself would have been proud to own up to!

anju rooba nOttai
konjam minnE maathi..
michamillai..kaasu michamillai..
katharikka vilai kooda kattu meeRalaachu..
kaalam kettu pOchu..

And after shaking his head gloomily on this unhealthy trend, Ku.Sa.Ki goes on to lament the plight of the poor and condemn the vicious circle of inflation, hoarding, black- marketeering, adulteration, empty promises of politicians…

And remember, this was in 1952!!

Ku.Sa.Ki had worked in various ‘boys companies’ from an early age (This rich experience came handy when he wrote ‘thamizh naadaga varalaaRu’, a veritable treatise). He wrote a few film songs in the 50s. Popular among them are ‘kutRam purindhavan’ (rathakkaNNeer- this song was originally written for Ku.Sa.Ki’s drama ‘en kaaNikkai), ‘ennamellam inba kathai pEsuthE’ (chakravarthi thirumagaL), ‘peNNin perumaiyE perumai’ (pathiyE deivam), ‘nilavOdu vaanmugil’ (rajarajan), ‘adhi madhura anuraga’ (engaL kudumbam perisu) and ‘azhagaana chinnappoNNu pOgudhu’ (thirudaadhE).

* * * *

When the great G.Ramanathan decided to bestow a rare honor upon the album of ponmudi (1950/ Modern Theatres) by singing the songs himself, the female singer he chose to pair with was T.V.Rathnam; and the dazzling duets ‘neelavaanum nilavum pOlE’, ‘vaan mazhaiyindRi vaadidum payir pOl’, aaruyirE prEmai amudha vaariyil’, and ‘meikkadhal arumbu vaazhvinilE poothadhE indRE’ continue to cast their spell on listeners to this day. TVR stands out in her solo as well ‘inbathin ellai idhudhaana’. That then was the kind of regard that TVR commanded in her hey day.

Tenkasi Vallinayagam Rathnam learned music from the tender age of seven under a guru called Ramalinga Aachari , and gave her first full-fledged concert in Sri Lanka. She was barely 10 years old when she acted in Bhaktha Chetha (1940/ Madras United Artitstes). She then acted as the child Kannagi in Kannagi (1942/ Jupier Pics) and also sang her own song. In the meantime, she had continued her training under Ramnad Krishnan, and later trained under Chembai Vaidyanatha Bagavathar.

TVR blossomed into a much sought after singer in the late 40s and was an integral part of tfm in the 50s. Most of her works became very popular. All the ruling MDs summoned her repeatedly and in that glorious period TVR rendered a staggering variety of challenging songs. C.R.Subbaraman (‘aada varuvaaya kaNNa’ /vElaikkaari, ‘vaan nilavE’/ paarijaadham), T.G.Lingappa (‘naagareegama idhu naagareegama’/ kalyaaNam paNNiyum brahmachari), S.M.Subbiah Naidu (‘manathiRkisaindha raja’/ marmayOgi), C.S.Jayaraman (‘aaLai aaLai paarkiRaar’/ raththakkaNNeer), Ghantasala (‘kochimalai kudagu malai’/ vaazhkkai oppandham, ‘gOvindan kuzhalOsai kELeer’/ parOpakaaram), S.V.Venkataraman (‘nilaavilE ullasamaaga paadalaam’ / manOhara, ‘kalyaaNa vELai vandhu kaathirukkuthu’/ nannabikkai), S.Dakshinamoorthi (‘ketta peNmaNi’ / mangaiyar thilakam, ‘andha naaLum vandhu sErum’ / yaar paiyyan), KVM (‘sollavallayO kiLiyE’’/ kooNdukkiLi, ‘maamiyaarukku oru sEdhi’ /panithirai), T.R.Papa (‘aayarpaadi kaNNa nee’ / rangOn radha), ‘Oviyanin ullamthanai’ / aasai) and V-R (‘manamudayorE manithargaLennum’/ paNam- TVR was part of their very first album, ‘anbE nam deivam’ / neethipathi) constitute merely a random selection of the various MDs who wrought wonders with TVR’s voice.

For a quick tour of TVR’s breathtaking capabilities, look up 3 of her songs in Miss Malini (1947/ Gemini). Listen to the scintillating ‘jagamE oru chithira saalai janani parasakthi thiruvaruL leelai’- while you’ll doubtless be spellbound with TVR’s arresting devagandhari opening, you’ll sit up and applaud at her seamless and swift sojourn in gowlai in between. From there, TVR’s alluring aarabi essay ‘sri saraswathi namOsthuthE’ would be a great next stop. And just when you decide that she is a just a great classical singer, switch on ‘paadum radio button-ai thiruppi vittaa’, a hilarious village vs. city argument- listen to TVR sound so haughty in ‘ kuzhaayai thiruppi vittaal kottuthu water, kudam thookkum thollai illai theerndhadhu matter’.., and reach a comical crescendo in ‘galagalavena kulukuluvena mazhai pozhiyum shower bath’- her consummate artistry would be an joyous revelation!

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