‘Paattu Paadava’ has another favorite song of mine which I feel is a terrific take on the ‘Raaja genre’. The number of things he tries within a few minutes in Iniya Gaanam is something worth hearing. The character singing for an informal concert, an SPB in an asylum, is assisted by his friends from the asylum. They happen to rock the stage. This is the situation. How does Raaja approach this?
He starts the song with a guitar strumming gently to lead to a more prominent guitar-piano dialog and SPB begins the song with elements of rock in it. They are supposed to rock the stage, after all. The raga happens to be Kalyani, my favorite, and hence this is a bonus for me to indulge in. The interlude is a rap that mocks at rap with some meta lyrics from Vaali. From a rap with drums, the first charanam shifts scales to tabla and claps on to Surendar with the chorus singing a pure bred Qawwali in Kalyani with mad cap lines. As SPB takes the baton over at Nila adhu vaanathu mElE (the next line, sonnAn enga mEdhakki mEdha, an “I-totally-approve” take on Raaja himself, who wrote Nila adhu), the raga is explored beautifully in a mini-aalaap and suddenly, the scales change to Carnatic with just a Mridangam as SPB begins singing swaras at ri ri ri ri ma dha pa ma… on to the pallavi where he voice acts like a bhagawadar superbly, the ni dha pa ma ga ri between Iniya Gaanam and Pudhiya Vedham and more swaras between the following line and Pudhiya Vedham being supremely well realized.
We are back to rock all of a sudden at kavidhai theettalAm and the pallavi is done. In one stitch in less than 2 minutes, the mEdhai (indeed) has traversed 4 genres effortlessly. My humble take on this; the people singing this on screen happen to be out of their minds. There is no method to madness and so within the framework of a song, Raaja simply goes bonkers.
The second interlude starts with a shehnai in what is enjoyable folk and that’s joined by violins to lead us to the second charanam before which we have a thukda of heys from SPB and the chorus to enable the transition to Qawwali and we go on to the charanam where we see the seamlessness (which the wonder) from Qawwali –> Carnatic (swaras in the pallavi replaced by Mridanga jadhis this time) –> Rock to take us to the pallavi and end this aural delight. One number masterclass. Highly recommended.