Monday, January 29, 2007

Thillana Mohanambal

No words to express my awe for these doyens of Tamil Film Industry.

A little bit of background on this movie. This was a story that came as a serial in a Tamil Vernacular Ananda Vikatan, written by Kothamangalam Subbu. The story was conceived and converted into a movie format by AP Nagarajan. He has directed some of the best movies on Tamil Film Industry like Thiruvilayadal, Raja Raja Chozhan, Thirumal Perumai, ThiruvarutChelvar, Navarathri. In my opinion movies like this one, can never be made here after. Interestingly, most of us would think that the reason is, no one can enact the role of Mohana. I beg to differ, I feel all it takes to enact the role of Mohana is dancing skills with a little bit of histrionic ability. I think there a lot of actresses who would be able to perform it without any difficulty. The challenge is with the other roles. Could we find an actor for Sikkil Shanmuga Sudaram (Sivaji), or T.S Balia’s role (I forget the name), Jil Jil Ramamani(Manorama) (well, I guess we could accept Kovai Sarala with a pinch of salt ‘cos I think she did a similar role in Karagattakaran, and did a good job too), Vaithi (Nagesh), Nattuvanar (Thangavelu). Well, I think there are other important roles in the movie but they are not roles for which you can never find any other actor could play. AVM Rajan, did an excellent job in the movie playing the second fiddle (literally too), but hey he knows to play the nagaswaram, so no full points for him. :-)

This is a scene where Mohana dances in the Temple for a Thillana. Most important scene in the movie. If I am not wrong, this is followed by Nalamdhana song.

What is so great about the scene?

  • Check out Baliah and Sarangapani on the Thavil, especially Baliah. Being a percussionist, I can tell the body language and the expressions cannot be more perfect than this. It makes me wonder, even with a trained eye for percussion, if he has enacted the role or does he really know to play the instrument. Let me point out the finer details, his facial expressions, and the stroke length for every single beat (the swing distance of his arm from the instrument before he strikes it), the aggression and vigor while he plays it. My god!! mind blowing!!
  • Sivaji has acted exceptionally well in this scene. I am not sure if the fingering was correct. Otherwise, I think he has scored an A in all the other departments. The way he swings his body when he blows out, the way he gasps in some air without loosing the thalam. The way he shakes his head in tune with the thillana piece.
  • There is not much I want to talk about Padmini ‘cos I would take her for granted in doing this role. She ought to perform this scene with perfection. Period.:-)
  • Other subtleties that caught my attention. Check out CK Saraswathi and party. Everybody follows the thillana with the thalam. Thangavelu with the jalra as the nattuvanar performing all the gimmicks (it looked so real, the male nattuvanars do a lot of seshtais to attract the attention of the female artiste, any dancer can vouch for this). TK Ramachandran, this was the most interesting part. A percussionist can never have his hands still even for a second when listens to music, and if it was a rhythm oriented piece like a thillana!! Notice him. You can see him playing mridangam in air. LOL!! This thing particularly impressed me from a directorial perspective. :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007

N.S Narayanamurthy on Math

I was watching the valedictory function of the Ramanujam Math Club in Infosys. Yet another reason for me to be impressed with the company. NSN has given an amazing speach to his fellow Infosysians. I have always been a fan of his speaches.
There is one thing he mentions that was very interesting and very true.

Like the old Chinese proverb, a picture is worth thousand words; a mathematical equation is worth thousand words.

How true!! A simple math equation can express most complex theories, that when you want to explain it in any other form would take pages and pages.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Geethopadesam scene from Karnan

First of all, I should say the movie had the best star cast, with Karnan played by Sivaji portraying the strength, confidence, honesty and pride at its best. Asokan playing Dhuryodhana perfect body language for false pride and vulnerability, scheming sakuni played by Nambiyar and the physically strong

though mentally confused and weak Arjuna by Muthuraman, and who else can you think of as the Lord, NTR.

This scene in my opinion gets an A+ for its direction, music direction and histrionics.

Direction: ‘cos, it was very intelligent of the director to have made the dialogue between the Human (Arjuna) and the Lord (Krishna) to have it the way it is. Arjuna speaks out his woes, doubts and confusions to the lord and the Lord gives him the Geethopadesam in short and sweet verses. I thought, it perfectly portrayed the state of mind Arjuna was in and how the Lord clarifies everything for him. Also I will have to mention the scene did look like a battlefield without any of the graphics gimmicks that is used today to show any action sequence. I thought this scene proves the fact that BGM and the body language of the actors is more than enough to carry out any scene in a movie.

Music Direction: The ragas he had chosen for the Geethopadesam. There are three verses in the sequence, with the first one in Natai. The ragam is usually used as a prelude and a raagam to set-up a war scene. It is the raagam which is used for “Swami purappadu” (well it is gambeera nattai, but hey it is close) in temples and the style of music is called the mallari. The mood conveyed is valor and also marks the beginning of the event that is to follow. The next one is Sahana. It conveys sympathy and consolation. It sounded like the Lord is sympathizing with the confused Arjuna and tries to console him and convince him to go ahead with the task in hand. The last one is Madhyamavathi, a raagam chosen to end any kutcheri. Here the MD uses it convey, “ok! Enough is enough I think this is it now, have faith in me and go ahead with what I tell you, and shall not entertain any more questions.”

Histrionics: The actors Arjuna and NTR have done perfect justice to the role they were assigned.

Not to forget, this dude Seergazhi Govindarajan, I really do not have any words to express how wonderfully he has sung the verses. There are other songs in the movie which are also haunting, “ullathil nalla ullam, enna koduppan”. Amazing voice and expressions (swara gnanam and bhavam).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

enna samayalo, en ulle en ulle

Ahaaa!!! Back to blogging after a loooooooooong time. ;-)

This time I have a couple of songs in mind, I want to write about.

The first one is enna samayalo from unnal mudiyum thambi. Raagamalika, consisting of Mohanam, Vasanath, kalyani, madhyamavathi, did I miss anything?

Man, the lyrisict has to be commended more than the music director himself. Excellent lyrics, that makes absolute sense. The beauty lies in how the swara sthanams and the names of the ragas that are used, appropriately, to make sense with the flow of the song.


“Sa dha ma ga dha ma dha ma”, meaning sadham aga dhamadhama!!

Notice how the ragas have been hand picked to render swarams which would lead to words that could be used in the lyrics. In the above example the verse is sung in Vasantha with its raga latshanam kept intact. This is followed throughout the song.

First I thought it ought to be Vaali or Pulamaipithan who penned the lyrics for the song. To my surprise it was IR himself. Excellent is the word!!

The second one is en ulle en ulle from Valli. The movie produced by Rajnikanth. He has also acted in the movie in a guest role.

I think the song was sung by Swarnalatha, but some sites have it listed under Latha Rajnikanth’s name.

Boy!!! I have not heard any other song in Indian film music arena that is anywhere close to this song. The way he has used rhythm chords and base chords is exceptional. Both are of classic style. I guess this is one of the very rare songs where IR has used classic style with Bass guitar. In the charanams, check out the harmony. Mindblowing!! Yet another song that never got its due credit.

enna samayalo

en ulle