Monday, November 18, 2013

Thoughts of illusion and Emptiness in Tamil Film Songs.

     William Shakespeare the poetic and dramatic voice of mankind said 'Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing'.The staunch Biblical faith of Christianity is 'dust thou art and dust thou shalt be'.The philosophical mood of man quite often opens the flood gates to the rapid flow of thoughts on the ultimate nothingness of life.Lyricists writing for film songs have time and again travelled to the realm of illusion and nothingness as a scenic requisite or dramatic necessity.Tamil film songs abound in such reflections pushing the otherwise materialistic mankind to the edge of emptiness for a close glimpse of everyone's funeral as the culminating point of life.
     The objective of this article is to enlist and elucidate some such songs that drew the attention of film lovers at different periods.These songs were from the fabulous voices of different singers giving mood thrust to  lyrics penned by different lyricists at different times for different films.The first of this kind that kindled my imagination long back, was from the film Devadas starring A.Nageswararao and Savithri.The film was a tragic love story and the love lorn,dejected lover is driven to drunkenness and in his extreme mood of grief and despair he sings a song.The song goes like this
உலகே  மாயம்  வாழ்வே  மாயம் .
உலகில்  நாம்  காணும்  சுகமே  மாயம்.
உறவும்  ஊராரும்  உற்றார்  பெற்றாரும் ,
ஓடிடுவார்  கூடவாரார்  நாம்  செல்லும் நேரம்
  The song actually means that the world and life are just illusions and all  neighbours relations and parents will run away and will not join any one at their departure from this earth.This sad number in the voice of Ghantasala, was a heart rending one. K.J.Yesudas then sang a similar kind of song in the film Vaazhve Maayam and the song also begins 'Vaazhve Maayam Vaazhve Maayam' But the song of Yesudas was for a youth who was suffering from a terminal illness and hence was not in a position to marry the girl he ardently loved.The hero was Kamalahasan and the girl, Sridevi. 
  It was in the film Padha Kanikkai, there came the profoundly philosophical song in the mighty voice of T.M.Soundarajan. It was a realistic and thought-provoking song depicting the mood of compunction of an elder brother [played by Asokan] who lived as an insensitive reprobate, for quite long.The death of his father and the loss of one of his legs in an accident, activate his qualms and make him understand what life is.The heavily worded song is,
  வீடுவரை  உறவு , வீதிவரை  மனைவி
  காடுவரை  பிள்ளை , கடைசிவரை  யாரோ ?.
  The song says that when a man is dead,no one can accompany the body until it turns into ashes or becomes part of the soil.Relatives may take leave from home,one's wife will come up to the street and the son can  accompany  the body only till the cremation spot or funeral ground to perform his mandatory rites.The same idea is repeated in another film Mugarasi starring MGR and this song is also from the stentorian voice of TMS.
 உண்டாக்கி  விட்டவர்கள்  ரெண்டுபேரு;
 இங்கே  கொண்டுவந்து  போட்டவர்கள்  நாலுபேறு.
 கொண்டாடும்போது  ஒரு நூறு பேரு ;  
 உயிர்  கூடுவிட்டு  போனபின்னே  கூடயாரு.
  There was another memorable song in Avanthaan Manithan, that portrayed SivajiGanesan as an embodiment of humanism and empathy, being ever ready to part with anything he has, to others and not being able to say'no' to anybody.Endowed with a philosophic frame of mind,he could fully understand the base of emptiness of life and the ultimate nothingness, as the imperishable truth of life.It is with this solid understanding of life he sings,
    மனிதன்  நினைப்பதுண்டு  வாழ்வு  நிலைக்குமென்று;
    இறைவன்  நினைப்பதுண்டு  பாவம்  மனிதனென்று . 
Translating the idea it means,''man would think that life will last;but God would think man is a poor thing''
 S.A.Asokan,the last generation's noted villain-cum-character actor has sung in his own voice,the following song that emphatically reaffirms the inevitability of death and the truth of nothingness of life.
 எறந்தவன  சொமந்தவனும்  எறந்துட்டான்.
 அத இருப்பவனும்  எண்ணிபார்க்க  மறந்துட்டான்.     
 The song focuses on the irony that the man who carried the dead is also dead;but the living never realize this fact.
   K.Balachander's excellent film Neerkumizhi telling the sad story of a patient ailing with a fatal illness, forcefully put forward the truth of emptiness of life.The film starring Nagesh as hero, was one of the earliest and most qualitative films of the director.The song in the sterling voice of Sirkazhi Govindarajan, created an acute tragic feel, in the following words.
ஆடி  அடங்கும்  வாழ்க்கையடா ,
ஆறடி நிலமே  சொந்தமடா .
முதலில்  நமக்கெல்லாம்  தொட்டிலடா .
முடிவில்  காலில்லா  கட்டிலடா .
  The song categorically states that when the furore of man's life comes to an end his body can own only six feet of land.Man's life begins in a crib but ends up in a bier,a footless cot in away.
  Later came the melodious number in the soothing voice of Jeyachandran in the MGR film Needhikku Thalaivanangu.The scene of the song showed a beggar in a train singing in a desolate mood on the dreams and desires of humanity which is unmindful of the fact, that finally,it is the soil meant for one's burial, that counts.
எத்தனை  மனிதர்கள்  உலகத்திலே !
எத்தனை  உலகங்கள்  இதயத்திலே !
எட்டடி  மண்ணுக்குள்  போகும்வரை,
இந்த  கற்பனை  ஊர்வல  வாழ்க்கைமுறை .  
  Poverty and rejected love are perhaps the potential sources of underscoring the bubble theory of life.The beggar here says, that there are as many worlds in one's heart as there are as many men in the world.Until man reaches the eight feet pit as his final home, his dreams and desires continue. 
 The same way P.Susheela sings that immortal song 'Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakkathile Kanavu Kandein Thozhi' and the lines from the song given below will corroborate the ideas in the song of Jeyachandran.
இளமையெல்லாம் வெறும் கனவுமயம்
அதில் மறைந்தது சில காலம்;
தெளிவும் அறியாது முடிவும் தெரியாது ,
மயங்குது எதிர் காலம் .
'A major part of youth' says the song, 'spills over in dreams and the future remains as a blurred vision'.
   Most of the songs mentioned here belong to the old archives of Tamil film music. It is not that the new generation does not know or is not interested in these thoughts of what life ultimately is.But they also believe that life is full of thrills,pleasures and challenges and the conquest of one's dreams forms the greatest, concrete reality, before one's final parting happens.The new generation knows to go with the flow and the flow continues until the final spot that it has to reach. As the matter stands, every one knows that,
விட்டுவிடும் ஆவி  பட்டுவிடும் மேனி .
சுட்டுவிடும்  நெருப்பு  சூனியத்தின்  நிலைப்பு .
    the breath will go,the body will perish and emptiness will prevail in the case of every living being as the grand cosmic law.After all, the most imperishable truth of life is its perishable form .



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