An introduction song anywhere in India is usually a benediction. We have seen that in our schools and colleges. So when a filmmaker approaches Ilayaraaja to compose for his film and asks him to prepare an introduction song, Raaja, in tune with this tradition of our country, composes a benediction of sorts. The film is ‘Kumbakkarai Thangiah’ and the song is Ennai Oruvan Paada SonnAn and is written, composed and rendered by Raaja. Like he sings in the title of song of ‘Karagattakaaran’, “படத்தில் முதல் பாடலை பாட வைத்து, அது நல்ல ராசி என்றார்கள்”, it was a prevailing sentiment of sorts with Gangai Amaran, the director, to have his brother sing the title songs of films for supposed good luck.
So this song is a benediction to Lord Muruga and that is evident in only one line. Raaja’s effortless flair in writing is evident throughout the song. The other reason why I took this song is also to highlight a contrast in the compositions of his which is stunning, in that this song is set to the raga Kalyani, as was yesterday’s song, ILavattam Kai Thattum. Look for any similarity and you won’t find them. These were composed roughly a year away from each other, with him having already composed 500+ films and 2500+ songs and this mind boggling contrast in these 2 songs in essentially the same raga is a hallmark of Raaja whenever he takes up Kalyani. He is up there among the classical giants in my opinion while using this raga.
The song as such is simple and monophonic unlike yesterday’s intricate and polyphonic song. Yet this carries a quaint beauty about it that it takes you sailing in a travel so beautiful. Raaja’s mischief with Gangai Amaran is evident at aNNanukku thambiyAm Gangai Amaran and eventually dedicating it to aRutKumaran. You will notice the striking இயைபு (rhyme) with Amaran and Kumaran and it is not forced and sits rather beautifully with the tune. The first interlude is a pristine passage in Kalyani with a flute and piano evoking the rural beauty in only its tune.
The charanam brings a sense of yearning in us for the undisturbed life in villages and Raaja’s travel in Kalyani is sparkling with his poetry that draws an இயைபு with maN and paN, simultaenously evoking his roots, his current position, him doing his job across languages in broad, poetic strokes. Kinda autobiographical and all the more lovely. The following lines eventually tie up with the benediction to the Lord to whom the song is due by dedicating his thousands of songs that seemingly come effortlessly and the tune also ties up quite wonderfully to the pallavi.
The following interlude is a pure and monophonic folk delight in a flute that evokes the calm of an early morning the visuals seemingly evoke for a few moments and carries on underlining the life in a village, which is also calm with the film’s rural tone and proceeds on with the flute and violin in toto leading to Raaja for the final charanam where he dedicates his music also to people of all walks of life through some lovely Tamil and his duty done (to the source and the receiver), he packs his bags. The singing, by the way, is one of its kind in my opinion and I love every second of this rendition. Lilting, beautiful and flawless all the way.