Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nan Kadavul

'Nan Kadavul' is Director Bala's latest effort. After a gritty 'Pithamagan', Bala again takes up an offbeat theme (which is infact a sort of extension from Pithamagan, thought-process-wise) of a man living away from the general civilized society. This time, the protagonist is an Aghori, living in Kaasi. The film, i heard, throws light on the life of Aghoris and beggar mafiadom. The success of Pithamagan, in critics circles and in commercial circles, has only cemented the relationship between Bala and Ilaiyaraaja. Ilaiyaraaja finds Bala's style of film-making to be pathbreaking while Bala swears by Ilaiyaraaja's music, for the theme and visuals conceived by him. The soundtrack of Nan Kadavul, with all the pensive hues, underlines the fact that their collaboration is unique because both appear to be taskmasters at what they want and expect from each other.


1. Maa Ganga Kaasi: Kunal Gunjawala

A hindi song in a tamil film is quite unusual. This song, which appears during the title credits, is a bhajan kind of melody, simple and humble. A typical Yaman-like composition, nicely laced with keyboard-chords which are raaja-like. The only drawback of this composition is the singer. A pop/jingle singer Kunal Gunjawala seemed inappropriate, for his voice sounds like Udit Narayan Version 2.0. A Sonu Nigam could have been a better fit.


2. Kannil Paarvai: Shreya Goshal / Oru Kaatril: Ilaiyaraaja

Right from 'Julie Ganapathy', Ilaiyaraaja has been giving gems to Shreya Ghoshal in many of the films. The genre of the songs ranged from soft haunting melodies (ennakku piditha from Julie Ganapathy) to funky (Ninni Vethiki from Anumanaspadam) to folk (Onnavida from Virumandi) to sugary stuff (Cheeni Kum, Shiva 2006).Kannil Paarvai is a melancholic melody, which is quite difficult to sing. Shreya excels under Maestro's baton. The song's rhythm is peculiar, for it has heavy drum as well a tin percussion whose beat cycle is difficult to decipher. The string section, in the interludes and counter-melodies, is a throw back at the 80s - Maestro's hallmark. The song, in Rasikapriya, transports the listener to a pensive mood, in which one can construct the images of desert and barren land. Ilaiyaraaja shines in every aspect of this composition, be it the tune or arrangements (the bass guitar, faithfully paints his signatures, all along the song). Oru Kaatril is the male version of the song, sung by Ilaiyaraaja. Although age is evident in the voice, the effort to render the gamakas perfectly, is not only visible but also pays off. This song, with all poignancy wrapped in it, is a stealer.


3. Pichaipaathram: Madhu Balakrishnan

This song is actually a rehash of one of Ilaiyaraaja's previous songs, which appeared in a devotional album composed by him. This song too is another pensive composition, reflecting the lives of beggars. Although the composition is haunting, i didn't find it appealing, to me, compared to other songs in the album. The song has Maayamaalavagowla feel to it.


4. Maatha Unkovil: Sadhana Sargam

Another devotional song of Ilaiyaraaja rehashed from this film. This song sounds more devotional because of the Sindhu Bhairavi tones in it and at the same time, the interludes reflect drama. The interludes, heavily resting on string section, have amazing pieces and it is not surprising since they come from the emperor of orchestral music. Maatha Un Kovil can be ranked alongside Kannil Paarvai, as a finest melancholic number from Ilaiyaraaja in recent times.


5. Om Sivoham: Vijay Prakash

Heavy traditional percussion instruments, chants on Lord Shiva, raw energy, gutos - all these mark this composition, in which ilaiyaraaja creates a powerful music atmosphere with strong vibrations. The rendition is wonderful, particularly in the high-pitch points. It could be difficult to count the number of percussions used, and as they dominate, one can also hear a faint strain of keyboard chords supplemented by bass-guitar, while the vocals are on. The song does have an ambience, of deep and wild surrender to the devotion it laces in and Ilaiyaraaja and Vijay Prakash pull it off with an elan.

Although i did not watch this film, the soundtrack does reflect the strong sense of visuality in the music and one can easily comprehend that Ilaiyaraaja has delivered music according to the mood and theme of the film. 'Kannil Paarvai', in my opinion, is one of his classic compositions and it has deserves its own place among the greatest pathos laden poignant compositions ever composed.

After Uliyin Osai, Ilaiyaraaja's score for this film is non-compromising, top-notch and highly intriguing. Hail the Maestro!


Random Walker said...

wonderful review... just read it. I love this album - particularly the Sivoham song...

Vajra Krishna said...


For the past few months I have been avidly researching/collecting ragas for very contemporary film music. The interest had always been there, but what made me take action was after seeing Rahman win the Oscars for his music. I then realised that the attention of the west is going to be on Indian music, particularly on south indian music, and I felt that it was pivotal at this time to establish a website where the ancient heritage of this music be made available to them by first definining the ragas for very contemporary tamil music that uses the pallatable sounds appreciated on an international level. To this effect, I began collecting, and in the process discovered your blog and your own passion to make carnatic ragas and interest in ragas available to the modern generation. So far I have collected Ragas for around 500 songs (And since I am very much a beginner in identifying ragas, I have been relying on the experts and their defintions).

However, even the experts often contradict each other, so I do an enormous amount of research at any time where I notice a contradiction in order to discover what the actual raga for a given song may be.

The reason for writing to you now is to ask for your collaboration on my little project. There are some songs that I am passionate about that are very contemporary to which there is no information about their ragas. As a starting point, I have put the first 108 that came to mind on a blog, (along with the audio of the song), for experts to take a listen and identify their ragas. Using this information, I would then set up a website where people from any country can come and become introduced to Indian film music, ragas - and finally to the carnatic renditions of the ragas themselves. I humbly request your assistance.

The webblog where I have posted 108 songs with audio is:

I would be happy to share the 500 songs to which I have already collected raga names with you. Besides, I would very much appreciate your confirmation if my information is correct.

With best regards,
Vajra Krishna.

New kenny on de block ;) said...

Excellent analysis! Very inspiring write-up! Thanks!


~~Raaja rules!

B said...

Waiting for your thoughts on Vaalmiki. I think this album exceeded even Nandalala in showing us the good ol' raaja.

Ramesh V said...

nice songs from the movie...telugu songs