Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ilaiyaraaja-Maniratnam : Pallavi Anupallavi-1

Pallavi Anupallavi

About the film:

Maniratnam set the ball (or his reel) rolling with Kannada film Pallavi Anupallavi, in the year 1983. Anil Kapoor played the lead role. With great difficulty, maniratnam managed to persuade the already established film-maker,Balu Mahendra, to handle the camera-work. BM was apprehensive about working with a newbie(with no prior tryst with Cinema), that too,a management graduate from the prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Inst of Management studies, Mumbai. But, Maniratnam's zeal & screenplay compelled him to shoot the film. Maniratnam recollects in reference to his business school background,"When I started `Pallavi Anupallavi,' I had flow charts, budgets and cash flows all written up, One week later, I tore it all apart".
The story is interesting too. Lakshmi's husband,an estate manager, deserts her, unable to face her, when she finds him with another woman.that forms the pallavi i suppose. Anupallavi is when Anil kapoor, a young man, visits a neighbouring estate, for work, and meets her. a friendship is born between them, which is mistaken by people, including his girl friend. I heard that the focus of the story is more on the relationship between the young man and the middle-aged lady. whatever! this film was dubbed into telugu & tamil also, the soundtracks of which are not available anywhere. i watched the songs on E-Tv, which have typical Maniratnam picturisation.

Maniratnam got Ilaiyaraaja,who was already a phenomenon, to score the music. And together, they just nailed it right! mani couldnt ask for more, for ilaiyaraaja came up with fantastic numbers, though, the score didnt become very popular in tamil/telugu circles. Many believe that mani-IR combo began to excel from mounaraagam, which i completely disagree. In my opinion, every film had a different touch and the first film is no exception. The album has 4 songs, of which, i will be writing about 3 songs(the 4th one is ignorable).

I wish start my discussion with the song, "hrudhaya Rangoli".
Situation: picturised on anil kapoor's girl friend, after she mistakes him & lakshmi.

The song begins with heavy violins, in two sets..the 2nd one starts after 1st is reaching lower note. they end with piano backed by violins again..with cello work. The flute followed by violins... this brief prelude itself is very ilaiyaraaja-ish.very majestic entry.S.P.Sailaja starts off in a sad mood. the tune is closer to hindhusthani style, including the rhythm part on tabla. its classy no doubt, but what i like is the piano keys when she sings the word "manadhale"..he starts a piano loop exactly at the end of that word, the loop continues till "nauvondhu thanthu" and the last note of piano ends exactly after the last syllable of "thanthu" has been sung. i mean, the over-all placing of those set of piano-notes...i was floored when i heard for the 1st time.

The 1st interlude opens with flute and guitar strumming, giving way for violins..which play along with flute..but in different tune, reaching a high note. the electronic passage in between, connecting to charanam is his signature ofcourse. Charanam starts with same rhythm again, on tabla, which is S.D.Burmansque..i like the violin counter-melody which takes off when she sings the words "valumeyanu meetidhey" and "kanasugala thumbidhey"..and then..the violins play as counterpart to her rendition, while she scales to higher notes. here, somehow i am led to believe that S.D.Burman's high-pitched"chupke chupke" hovered in some corner of IR's mind.

The 2nd interlude is very heavy and tedious. Major part is played on sitar & veena with repetitive notes, thus testing the skill of the player (btw, do u know: Veena Gayathri used to play for IR). after touching high notes, exploring the raaga, the tune comes down and IR weaves his piano chords. same notes..played again and again..overlapped by a melody on string section. 2nd charanam has same ideas, same counter-melody..which acts like counterpoint..till she reaches high note of the song.

By all counts, the composition is very mature and difficult to perform kind. should we clap for maniratnam,for extracting such a song from IR or for IR,for dishing out such a wonderfully orchestrated song,which, unfortunately didnt get the applause it deserved.

Other songs of pallavi anupallavi : to be continued...


Padmasani said...

Aakarsh, many times the most brilliant compositions go unrecgnised.Imagine how difficult it would be for the music director who puts a volume of his mastery into a song....Sad, but a painful truth.

Arvind said...

Humble request to maintain consistency in the 'fonts' of the post