Thamizh Talkies: A song of life
The writer is a former journalist who has worked in the film industry for several years and is passionate about movies, music and everything related to entertainment
"Yaarukkum illeennu sollaama bhoomi yellaarkkum yellaam tharum; Indha chinnoondu chinnoondu poochikkukooda; Poo pooththu thena tharum..." (This earth doesn’t say no to anyone--it gives everything to everyone. Even a tiny insect is given honey by a flower.)
Aalankuruvigalaa, my latest earworm, is from an upcoming film, Bakrid, and has music by D Imaan, lyrics by Mani Amuthavan and sung by my favourite, Sid Sriram. It begins on a rather gloomy note but by the third line, picks up, and you are left teary-eyed and choked with hopeful emotions.
"Kaikku yettaadha yettaadha sandhosham yellaam; Unn veettil ukkaarumey" - (The happiness which was beyond your reach earlier, will now stay on in your house)
This simple song of hope has warmed many a heart. I wondered first if it was just a fad, considering how any song sung by Sid Sriram becomes a hit. The recent song from the SJ Suryah hit film, Monster —Anthimalai neram — is another example. It's what you can call an instantly likeable song. Sid brings an old world charm to his rendering. His slightly rustic voice and natural jazz timbre lends a certain 'those were the days' appeal to the song. Be it my all-time favourite Ennai Maatrum Kadhaley (Naanum Rowdy Dhaan) or Adiye (his debut song from Kadal) or Thallipogathey (Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada), he sounds like actor-singer T R Mahalingam (google if you have to).
It is a huge compliment to him, to be compared with one of the best singers in Tamil cinema from the 1950s. TR Mahalingam could hold a pitch so high that it had the power to make you feel like he was taking you through a walk in the clouds! Sid Sriram also brings supreme perfection in technique and instant emotional impact; he makes your heart twang in heartbreak. This perhaps explains why his solo songs are more popular than his duets. As I leave you to ponder more on that, now let's go back to the song we began with: Aalankuruvigalaa.
This song about sparrows teaches us how to live as one harmonious community; explains how the sun sets and rises without complaint every single day; tells you how life can be learned from nature. The tune harks back to the best of Ilaiyaraaja, but D Imaan keeps his signature violin crescendo intact as he rises up the interludes to meet the anupallavi and charanam. The lyrics by Mani Amuthavan (the word 'chinnoondu' to denote tiny is lovely!) caress our hearts and teach us to care for even an insect because that’s how this wonderful planet takes care of us. Every new blade of grass and life has a place on it. Each one of us —the smallest of lives included —will be provided for.
What a song of hope! If harmony is the soul of music, it is also the very foundation of good ethical living. Be in harmony, be one with nature, and all the elusive joy and happiness will live on inside your home.
This overwhelming note of positivity is how we human beings trudge on every day despite all odds. And what can capture this hope better than music? Listen to the song and smile some more when you see those ants crawling to eat kolamaavu (rice flour) at your doorstep. The earth indeed provides, for each of us and also through each of us, to our fellow travellers. Happy travels!