This is about the interview between Gautam Vasudev Menon and Ilaiyaraaja. The interview is available online and one may look it up.
My takeaways from the interview were two.
One; the revelation about Aathirambile’s source being Poovarasampoo Poothaachu. In retrospect, it seems pretty clear. But unless Raaja mentioned it, it wouldn’t be so obvious.
The second one was more interesting for me; in the sense of what it threw out. He spoke of the Hindi masters. Touched on SD Burman’s mastery of tune composition; and quoted Khilte Hain Gul Yahan (Sharmilee, 1971), and went further. He touched on Stree’s (1961) O Nirdayi Pritam, composed by C Ramachandra, as being the inspiration for SDB’s Khilte Hain. Nirdayi Pritam has Shakuntala writing a letter to her lover on a lotus leaf and setting it afloat in the river in a forest.
He went further. Sang the scales of the raga (Shudha Dhanyasi) and gave another revelation that the raga is best suited for the nature of a forest and its associated climes! Where is Khilte Hain Gul Yahan set? In a forest of course! Raaja’s tone of reverence is to be seen. Now neither Raaja nor GVM mention this but my mind was already mapping the scale to Maalaiyil Yaaro Manadhodu Pesa. Where is set? Forest and river. Of course!
O Nirdayi Pritam:
Khilte Hain Gul Yahan:
Now Raaga_Suresh was telling me that they have discussed on TFM long back on Khilte Hain being a possible inspiration for Maalaiyil Yaaro. But hey, so much depth!
PS: As I was looking up stuff online, I came across a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar in Sudha Dhanyasi (there is no Youtube of the kriti in Shudha Dhanyasi): http://www.sangeetasudha.org/dikshitar/vol2/d42.html; called Somasundareswaram,
Which has the lines;
karuNAmrutarasa jalESvaram varam
kadamba vanasthita kapAlESvaram
Great Lord Somasundaresa showers nectar of compassion. As Kapalesvara, he resides in Kadamba forest.
Mind = blown.