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Song of the Day # 851

From: bb on:  Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:17 pm 

Song of the Day: Two Songs from paattum bharathamum.

- Saravanan writes:

Two songs from paattum bharathamum, showcasing the master’s astute skill in harnessing with judicious sagacity the unquestioned talents of two singers- a veteran who was staring defiantly at the beginning of the end of an illustrious career, and a youngster who was climbing rapidly up the ladder of fame and fortune….

Sugruta wanted to listen to it long back, and so we have SPB crooning ‘my song is for you, my love is for you…’, and while posting it, I couldn’t resist adding on my favorite number from the paattum bharathamum album as well.

‘paattum bharathamum’ (1975/Arun Prasad Movies) had music and dance woven into a storyline surcharged with emotion. Much against his wishes, a young business baron is persuaded to be the chief guest in a dance recital. Little does he realize then that his life would never be the same again. For the nimble feet, graceful steps and jingling anklets of the striking young danseuse offer him a glimpse of an intriguing new world quiet alien to his own. The tycoon falls in love with… the dance…and the dancer. As is the inexorable norm, the romance begins with a row, and our hero even learns and masters dance to prove a point! She relents finally, and he woos and wins her. But he had not reckoned with his wily father who cannot bear the bourgeois becoming a bohemian. The old man contrives circumstances that lead to our hero suspecting her morals. Hurt and humiliated, she goes away, carrying his child in her womb. Realization of his father’s machinations dawns on him rather late, and the years pass by as he waits with penitence and patience for her return… She returns, with their son accompanying her…. Music is in their son’s blood too…. The young man is a pop icon… The awaited rapprochement forms the climax.

Produced and directed by P. Madhavan, the movie starred Sivaji Ganesan in the dual roles of father and son. The pivotal role was played by Jayalalitha and her powerful performance matched that of the thespian. Sivaji’s portrayal of the businessman suffering the pangs of separation from his beloved was marked by his usual stateliness. Least said about the ‘son’ Sivaji, the better though. (How I wish P.Madhavan had chosen Kamal to play the son!) Playing the son’s love interest, Sripriya was cast opposite Sivaji for the first time. Gopikrishna, ‘Major’ Sundararajan, Vijayakumar, R.S.Manohar, M.R.R. Vasu, Sukumari and Manorama formed rest of the dramatis personae. Story and dialogues were by Balamurugan. Editing was by R. Devarajan and Cinematography by P.N. Sundaram. The dances were choreographed by P.S. Gopalakrishnan, Gopikrishna and Salim.

An impetuous hero who is goaded to mistrust by circumstances, an alluring danseuse as the heroine, and an engrossing story with music as the mainstay- P. Madhavan B.A. (1928-2003) must have thought excitedly that he had chanced upon another ‘thillana mOhanambaaL’ and mounted the movie on a lavish scale. However, though the magazine reviews hailed ‘paattum bharathamum’ as several shades better than the kind of movies that Sivaji was acting in that time, the movie did not fare as well as expected.

* * * *

Nevertheless, ‘paattum bharathamum’ has an enviable place in the annals of tfm history, for it is one of the finest albums of MSV in the 70s. A musical subject such as this would have filled the master with joy and he sat with the kaviarasar to extract the best out of the bard. The songs glitter with lyrical and musical magnificence. The album begins with the irresistible ‘mazhaikkaalam varugindRathu thEn malarthOttam therigindRathu’ that opens with MSV’s sonorous recitation ‘thirisoolam saththiyam puliththOlil thaththuvam naagamaNi mandhiram naanmaRaigaL sundaram’. Vani Jairam at her evocative best brings the lines alive with forlorn yearnings. The lilting ‘maanthOraNa veedhiyil mELangaL ragam’ by TMS and P. Suseela is a dainty duet wherein she expresses her surprise that this magnate should knows music! He proves that commerce can marry art in the next song, ‘ sivakami aadavandhaal natarajan enna seivaan, nadamaadi paarkkattumE – endhan udanaadi paarkkattumE’ (TMS & PS again)– a scintillating dance competition that ends with his ‘eye-opening’ triumph. ‘ulagam neeyaadum sOlai mugilgaL thaalaattum maalai’ is another winner- this one by TMS & Vani is as graceful as the movements of the peacock that the lines portray. TMS has another majestic solo, ‘aadhi sakthi vizhipOla vetRi nadamaadugindRa sivanaathanE’.

There are two other songs, of course, and they are the ones that form today’s SOTD.

* * * *

What is the worst of woes that wait on age?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
To view each love one blotted from life's page,
And be alone on earth as I am now.

- Lord Byron (Childe Harold)

He has acted in haste and is now repenting at leisure… But all his repentance is not going to bring her back. All his attempts to locate her have been futile. So he waits resignedly, for she would surely return some day… Oh the aching emptiness!

kaRpanaikku mEni thandhu..kaal salangai pOttu vittEn
kaal salangai pOna idam ..kadavuLukkum thOndRavillai…
deivaththin thEreduthu dEviyai thEdu
dEvikku thoodhu solla thendRalE Odu
aavikkuL aavi ananda yEdu,
avaLillai endRaal naan veRum koodu
paavaikku pOttu vaithEn naanoru kOdu
paadi paRandhadhamma iLankuyil pEdu

He dons the anklets again in her memory, and as his ruminative steps resonate on the rostrum of life, the years pass him by… season follows season in unfailing monotony… he knows them not, for he experiences each of them within- he is scorched by the summer of remorse even as memories of their spring of romance come flooding in. Monsoon laden clouds find hospitality in his grieving eyes, while her smile seems as beguiling and just as fleeting like a drop of dew in a winter morning…

neer vatRi pOnadhendRu, ninaivinil vedippu
nenjathil thOndRuthamma vasanthaththin thudippu
maamazhai mEgam indRu kaNgaLil iruppu
margazhi paniyandRo avaLadhu sirippu

Absence makes the heart fonder, and filled with shame at how he had wronged her, he draws parallels to the virtuous women of the great epics who had suffered similar separation – Seetha and Shakuntala. Like Kamban and Kalidasa who immortalized their tragic heroines in their works, to him she is the epitome of his art. And though age had caught up with his outwardly appearance, his heart remains youthfully athirst in love…. It is not time for the curtains yet… the show must go on…

kambanai koopidungaL seethaiyai kaaNbaan
kavi kaaLidasan avaL sakunthalai enbaan
nayagiyE enathu kaaviya ellai
narai vizhunthaalum nenjil thirai vizhavillai

Listen to his soulful self-reproach here

The kaviarasar dips his pen in angst and the lyrics cascade in poetic analogies. The mellisai mannar weaves the lines into a heart tugging chakravagam, and whom else could he entrust the ballad to but TMS! The seasoned songster opens his account with lines redolent with contriteness, and MSV’s Shehnai responds like drops of tears shed hurriedly. Hark at the unobtrusive percussion that lends its reassuring support throughout the song- the hallmark of the master! The interludes mark the passage of time, and each one is remarkable in its arrangements. The song stores surprises till the very end…. A pulsating postlude lasting for more than a minute, ending with TMS reciting jathis with inimitable majesty…

Yes, TMS was already past his prime then. Yet, I would rank this song as among his very best. I remember listening to it so often on radio in the late 70s, and recall an inexplicable sense of loss engulfing my childish thoughts…

* * * *

I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg

- Sir James M. Barrie

Arun is a youth icon. Born and brought up in distant shores, he knows nothing of his father. He has become a famed pop singer, and his doting mother brings him to their native Madras. His Indian fans greet him with frenzy and he is invited to perform in his hometown. The hall is packed with his hysterical young fans, but his song is for a pretty girl who catches his eye in the crowd…and she is delirious with joy when he calls her to the stage…the carnival continues …

Listen to him serenade her in seductive style

The master rises valiantly to the occasion here too. He crafts a youthful western number filled with zest and summons SPB to do the rest. If ‘deivaththin thEreduthu’ needed the august sedateness that only TMS was capable of, for songs such as these that demanded spry ebullience, SPB was his master’s voice. The guitars, trumpets, drums and bongos add to the jazzy revelry and the young SPB croons with joyful abandon, punctuating his song with the impish mischief and nonchalant improvisations that made him the new star on the tfm horizon in the 70s… The genius of MSV comes to the fore with the unexpected jugulbundi towards the end, followed by the startling twist in the tail…SPB breaking into a rollicking ‘ennadi raakkamma!

* * * *

MSV is convalescing well after a bypass surgery. Let us wish the mellisai mannar a long life filled with good health and cheer!

* * * *

Chandru noted the lyrics of ‘my song is for you’ here:


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