Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Some Scenes of song contests in Tamil films

   The success of any film depends on a large scale,on its screen play.Screen play would include a plethora of ingredients such as promotion of themes through powerful narration of events,portrayal of characters,dramatic efficacy,delivery of dialogues, cinematography, choreography and necessary stunts and song sequences all elegantly edited to reach a compact, convincing,and saleable mega hit final product.But not always these diverse elements are compatibly mixed to make a film a block buster.
   Most films are remembered for some special scenes and some films are recalled for their beautiful blending of all relevant dynamics.Among special scenes,apart from enlivening display of scenes of action, one could recall special stage performances included in a film,by way of lifting fascinating portions from literary and historical pieces, as Sivaji Ganesan was made to demonstrate from Shakespeare's Othello,Hamlet,Julius Caesar and other memorable scenes from the lives of men like Emperor Ashoka,Socrates,Saleem,Bhagat Singh and several others.
   In the same manner, to mark a note of difference, some of the film makers would relevantly,or conveniently,include a scene of stage competition of song and music in order to provide a dramatic relief to the audience.In a film pronouncing the celebration of music{for instance a film like K.Viswanath's Sankarabaranam or K.Balachander's Sindhu Bhairavi}the entire course of narration will be focused on the musical ecstasy.However,in some films,a musical or song contest will be inserted as an easing factor, with healing components.It is possible for any one from the experienced Tamil film audience, to call back adequate scenes in this regard and perpetuate them in their memories.
   The earliest such scene of a song competition that I watched on the big screen was from the enchanting romantic/situation comedy Adutha Veettu Penn{1960}starring Anjalidevi which was produced by Anjali pictures and directed by Vedantam Raghavaiah.The film had a high spirited cast of actors like T.R.Ramachandran,K.A.Thangavelu.K. Sarangabani,A Karunani dhi, M.R.Santhaanam,TP.Muthulatchumi, M.Saroja and P.D.Sambandham.The rich entertainment factors of the film made it a mega hit.The film also had commendable musical scores thanks to the lyrics of Thanjai Ramaiah Das and the musical composition of Adhi Narayana Rao.The heroine was a music lover but the the hero who was after her,was a total stranger to music.However,in front of her he proved to be an excellent singer through the borrowed musical voice of his friend {K.A.Thangavelu}.
   There was a scene in the film that demanded the hero to compete with a musical teacher and prove his musical mettle.As the hero and the heroine were neighbours,the stage for the competitions would be their adjacent homes.It would be a scene of laughter ruckus to watch the hero moving his lips to synchronise with the song sung by his friend and saviour,to prove his vocal 'wealth' against that of a professional music teacher.The song was" Kangalum Kavi Paadudhe" and the two playback singers who rendered the sweet song were Tiruchy Loganadhan[for the music teacher} and Seerkazhi Govindarajan{for K.A.Thangavelu}The song carried enormous vibrations with carnatic touches, bordering on a jovial note.
  The next song contest scene that I witnessed was also in a wonderful comedy film named Bale  Pandiya{1962}produced by Padmini Pictures and directed by B.R.Panthulu. It was breezy story of fun displaying the casual performance of Sivaji Ganesan in triple roles and the uproarious  villain M.R.Radha playing dual roles.The film was a minced mix up of romance,comedy and abortive moves of villainy.All the songs written by Kannadasan which were musically enriched by the duo Viswanathan Ramamoorthy, became a bonanza for the ears.But there was one hilarious scene of rib tickling musical show,with  tremendous energy flow in the fantastic voices of T.M.S and M.Raju. The mighty song was "Neeye Unakku Enrum Nigaranavan"{Only you are always equal to you}Even now if one who watched film recalls the scene,the song and its  vibration would conquer their imagination,with a timeless flow of the power of vocal grandeur and musical vigour.   
    Then came the famous film Vanambadi released in 1963.This film was co produced by the illustrious lyricist Kannadasan in association with M.Murugan and was directed by G.R.Nadhan.It was a thriller film known for its precious story line and outstanding songs like Kangaikarai Thottam, Thookanaangurivi koodu and Oomai Pen Oru Kanavukandaal,all in the sterling voice of P.Suseela.But in that film there was a scene of poetry cum song contest, with connecting links to the story.The song was"Aan Kaviyai Vellavandha Pen Kaviye Varuga"It was composed with quiz like literary elements and the entire song beautifully brought out the poetic skill of Kannadasan, besides involving the hero S.S.Rajendran and the heroine Devika in a spirited contest as a college event.This song was from the voices of T.M.S and P.Suseela under the musical composition of melody kings Viswanathan Ramamoorthi
     In the same year there was another film bearing the title Kungumam and starring Sivaji Ganesan along with a cluster of talented actors.It was released by Sivaji Ganesan's family production house,the Rajamani pictures, two years after their block buster Pasamalar.This film was also a thriller with a twisted story line and the film included a beautiful song contest in the great voices of TMS and S.Janaki.The throbbing song was "Chinnanjiriya Vannaparavai Ennathai Solluthammaa"The chevalier and actress Sharadha were seen on stage,rendering the incomparable song with immeasurable energy,as if they  were rendering the piece of vocal  magnificence. This was also a song by Kannadasan and the high pitch notes of the song. composed by Viswanathan&Ramamoorthi rendered in the immortal voices of two legendary singers,was a splendid musical treat,besides being a competitive celebration of music.
    Two years later in 1965,The Modern Theatres came out with a crime thriller with S.A.Asokan as hero and Gemini Ganesan as a sweet coated villain.There was a humour mixed song competition scene in the film to provide not only comic relief but also an escape formula for the hero who was under the clutches of a crime thrust upon him.It was a beautiful song competition starting with the line 'Paaradi Kanne Konjam Paithiyamaanadhu Nenjam'To add pep and prominence to the scene,Savithri appeared in a cameo as herself,for the song event programmed by a Music club.The hero had to appear on stage as a singer in order to escape from the police.It was a robustly entertaining scene and everybody among the audience would have enjoyed the scene as well as the song.Interestingly,R.S Manohar playing the role of a police inspector in the guise of a rowdy called Pichuva Pakkiri,would also join Asokan for the song competition.Like the other two songs mentioned above,this one was also written by Kannadasan and music was scored by Vedha.
   During the same year A.P.Nagarajan presented in his mythological film Thiruvilaiyaadal, an anecdote dealing with a song competition between Lord Shiva and one Hemanadha Bhagavadhar,during  the Pandiya regime in Madurai.The competition between the two was necessitated by Lord Shiva's intention to save his devotee Panapathrar,who was asked by the Pandiya King to compete with Hemanadha Bhagavdhar and save the pride of the Pandiya empire by quelling the  musical arrogance of Hemanadha Bhagavadhar.Lord Shiva who came in the guise of a wood cutter,casually sang a brilliant song{Paattum Naane Bhaavamum Naane} that went to the extent of stalling the vibrations of the universe in addition to surmounting the song of Hemanadha Bhagavadhar{Oru Naal Podhumaa}.On hearing the song,Hemanadha Bhagavadhar would ask the wood cutter,who sang such a never-heard-of song.
  When he came to know that an ordinary wood cutter had rendered such an infallible song he would ask the wood cutter who taught him music.To this the wood cutter would say that he used to hear the songs sung by Panapathrar in the temple and what he sang was one such number that he heard from the voice of Panapathrar.Hemanadha Bhagavadhar would become dumb founded and immediately leave Madurai with his musical arrogance mellowed.
     In this context A.P.Nagarajan had included the two epoch making songs one sung by Dr.Balamurali Krishna for Hemanadha Bhagavadhar and the other for Lord Shiva rendered in the majestic voice of T.M.Soundarajan.The actors who played the characters were T.S,Balaiah as Hemanadha Bhagavadhar,Sivaji Ganesan as Lord Shiva in the guise of a wood cutter and T.R.Mahalingam as Panapathrar.One of the immortal features of Tiruvilaiyaadal was  this musical show in the form of a sequential competition,one overtaking the other.
  There was another film released in 1967 that had a stage event with a song competition arranged as an annual event in a college.The film was Pattanathil Bhootham starring Jai Shankar,K.R.Vijaya,Nagesh,K.Balaji and Javer Seetharaman.In that film directed by M.V.Raman the song competition was among the hero,heroine and his friend.First the friend would sing about the theme of money lending to prove how one's wealth grew on interests collected on the principal amount lent to the debtors.Then the heroine  would sing about the grandeur of man woman love as the governing factor of life.But this would be surpassed by the hero's song glorifying the nobility and might of motherhood.The content of his song would inspire the judges and make him the winner of the song competition.
    The last instance of song competition in Tamil cinema that strikes my memory was from the film Sindhu Bhairavi{1985} released twenty five years later.This film made by the veteran film maker K.Balachander was a musical feast exuberantly served by the musical prophet Ilayaraja with songs of vibrating width and depth, in the masterly voices of K.J.Yesudas and the mind blowing voice of Chitra. The film showed Sivakumar as an expert carnatic singer with an over bearing attitude,that no other form of music can surpass the grandeur of his musical genre.In a particular scene when the hero was enthralling the audience with an invaluable piece of carnatic score, there would appear an ordinary woman{ Suhasini,who was of course a dedicated fan of the singer}to contest the supremacy of the carnatic genre,claiming that folk songs were as much grand as carnatic tunes.She would sing also a folk song as a sample to prove her argument.The way she sang the folk song and finally got it blended with the Telugu carnatic song "Marimari Ninne Muralidha"sung by the hero, would take the audience to an overwhelming mood of joy and bring in thunderous applause .It was quite an usual film for KB and he made it in his own way of classical grasp and classic narration.
   The scenes of song competitions included in this post are mere tapping of my movie memories and I am sure this is neither comprehensive not nor exhaustive.But it is just a rejoicing way of looking at yet another layer of film making,amidst its various creative fundamentals.All those who enjoy each and every component of film watching,would I am sure, happily welcome this other interesting point of focus of film watching, brought in to their perspective.

1 comment: