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Friday, April 23, 2004

Musical Musings - 3 - Nalam vaaza

S.P.B - the three letters that boast the power of trinity in film music.? Be it the naive adoloscent voice which enthralled us in "Iyarkai enum iLaiya kanni" or the eve-teasing cocky voice in "namma ooru singaari" or the silky ride that he takes you through "nilavu thoongum nEram" - SPB is inimitable and epitome of playback singing.? I will in a later blog write in detail about my perspective of SPB, but for this blog I shall post an excerpt of the analysis that I did in one of his songs "nalam vaaza ennaaLum en vaazththukkaL".? This was posted at

Looking back, I am wondeirng how deeply attached I had been to some songs some of which I do not associate myself with me any more.

The topic I shall take for discussion is "Nalam Vazha Ennaalum en vazhthukkal". This is one of the brilliant songs in terms of lyrics and music. It is supposed to be the favorite of KJ. I do not seriously know if it had been discussed before. Any way I would like to present before you some of my interpretations. This song is aptly blended with the situation of the film and is really a gem. It can also be discussed from the BGM point of view.

The song starts after Revathi (R) breaks up with her husband and tries to find solace in the words of Arvind Swamy (AS). When she enters the room of his,she finds him waiting anxiously with the birthday candles lighted on the cake. She is very much surprised to know that he - a man, had taken pains to give her a party on her Birthday.She feels uncomfortable as she had suffered a setback from
her husband just before. She is of the opinion that "Male chauvinism" had really ripped her off. This is exemplified by the lines of the song "Nalladhor Veenai Seidhae" which read "Poomaalai Oar tholil thaan poda ninaippaaal penn...Aaan kooda penn vazhvadha , adhai naamum panbenbadha, idhu nyayama?" Hence she is not able to digest the unprecedented love coming from an unexpected corner.

The "Nalam vaazha" song starts with the guitar note slowly flowing and we find that though there is an initial overtone of sadness in the notes the concluding piece of the guitar is indicative of celeberation.

"Nalam Vaazha Ennalum Envazhthukkal"

and the other lines are normal lines in the praise of the B'day girl. If we have noticed properly the joyous tone is reflected when SPB sings "Oho ho O hoho". OBSERVE that this humming is NOT repeated in any other part of the song later. It was included to just emphasize on the fact that AS is still in a happy mood. Next comes the flute. This still has the jumpy overtone. Till that moment the
divorce document had not been shown by R to AS. Hence the mood of AS is still is happy. Once she shows, please note that there is a sharp rise and fall of violins which represent the tides in the heart of AS. He is distressed that his girl is in distress. At the same time there comes a way to fulfill his own wish of having her. A mixup of emotions - relief and sadness with each peaking alternatively is beutifully spoken through the violins. But at last he is reminded that he is the only form of solace for her. It is his duty to mollify her rumbled feelings. Once he decides to do that, the violins take a smooth return to the normal consoling mood.

"Manidhargal sila neram niram maaralaam
Manangalum avar gunangalum thadam maaralam
Ilakkanam sila neram pizhaiyaagalaam
Ezhudhiya anbu laakiyam thavaragalam"

These lines are the poetic way of expressing the consolation. We would have observed at any death, the relatives say "Ellaam oruppolae irukkama, adhu adhu vidhippadi nadanthay theerum, naethikku eppadi irundhavan innikku ippadip poyittarae". Try seeing this line from that angle. The things change and change is an inherent property of the nature. Anything may happen at anytime is the philosophy.

"Viral galaith thaandi valargindra pozhudhu
Nagangalai naamum narukkuvathundu
Idhilenna paavam,Ethrkindha kolam,"

This line, if I am right has been borrowed from Kannadhaasan. The example is highly practical and is probably the best poetic interpretation of the fact that once something on its own accord goes unchecked need to curbed and this is no sin. This tells R that her snapping her ties with her husband is a natural outcome and there is need for expiation or regret. Please note that he first convinces her that what she has done is for her good - though he does not make that explicit it is for his good too. It is on this platform that he tries to put before her his proposal which is given by the next part of the song. It is preceded by an interlude which starts with a romantic air about the guitar piece
but culminates in a slow flowing violin orchestration. There are no sharp ups and downs but only smooth crests and troughs. This shows the serenity and maturity of the mind of AS who is all set to show his incline.

"Kizhakkinil dhinam thondrum kadhiraanadhu
Maraivadum pibu ezhuvadhum marabaanadhu
Kadalinil uruvaagum alaiyaanadhu
Vizhuvadhum pinbu ezhuvadhum Iyalbaanadhu

These two lines stress that;

"It is natural for the sun to rise and set
It is natural for the tides to rise and fall
Why in the world are you sad as all these are as natural as the sadness and happiness of life? they are bound to come in cycles. Nothing shall be permanent in this ever changing world."

The forthcoming lines are the mildest forms of proposals that a man can place
before his lady love.

"Nilavinai Nambi iravugal illai
Vilakkugal Kaattum Velichchaththin Ellai
Oru vaasal modi maruvaasal vaippan Iraivan"

"My dear lady? Does the night shine by the sheen of moon? The moon shall in due course, wax and wane, but the lanterns are there to lead thy life. When a door closes, it is by the will of the almighty that the another , a better one, opens and life shall be eternally peaceful."

By this he tries to convey that what if her husband had deserted her, he is always present to take her in his hands to give her a life full of affection and content. He is the another Gate which shall open if she wishes.