The month of June is supposed to bring the southwest monsoons synonymous with the school reopening. But, if anybody is following anything, they can see that the rain gods are failing to shower us liberally up to now. If there are no rains, water problem is going to be acute, more power shortages, agricultural crises etc. Oh, Tansen, please bring back those rain showers with your magical voice in megh malhar raag. We are all starved for those cloudy, gloomy, hot pakoda-tea days.
We do not require a Tansen to tell us that music of any form has profound effect on our lives. Music transcends boundaries, languages, and acts as a therapy for the troubled souls and physical aches. As one who has learnt carnatic music from my childhood, (a common practice for tamil girls to learn carnatic music in our community) I have grown up to appreciate music of almost all the forms, irrespective of language and the genre it belongs to. From my personal experience, it has acted as a healer of pains(physical or mental) to some extent. For good or bad, I am more of a listener than a singer (though I have felt at times that my beautiful voice is wasted for the lack of practice). I listen to carnatic music, light music, film songs, ( Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Kannada) Western music, instrumental, and recently, becoming a lover of Hindustani or ghazal songs. I am not proficient enough in Hindi or Urdu, but my love for ghazal developed after listening to the carnatic songs for a long time.
Talking about the ragas in the carnatic music, some of them make deeper impact on us. Some of my favorite raagas are Reethi gowlai, Kalyani, Bhairavi, Vasantha, Rampriya, Lathaangi, Shanmughapriya, Kamaas, Aabhogi, Saveri, Shudhasaveri, Shriranjini, Ranjini, Mayamaalavagowla(first swaras of this raaga taught to children), SindhuBhairavi, YamunaKalyani. If I recollect more, I will put down here. Though I know very little about Hindustani music, I find that Hindustani and Carnatic forms have some connection. The raagas of Kalyani and Yaman(YamunaKalyani in south) are very popular in Hindustani and it is a pleasure to listen to the ghazals in these raags.
Music directors have used many of these raagas and incorporated in making film songs to give us some evergreen songs. Kalyani is one such raaga which has been liberally used by the composers in films because of its 'bright nature' and is supposed to reduce depression. Some of the well-known songs composed by Ilayraja based on Kalyani raagam are:
1. Kalaivaaniye from 'Sindhubhairavi.'
2. Devan thantha veenai from 'Unnai Naan Santhithen.'
3. Kaatril varum geethame from 'Oru naal Oru Kanavu.'
4. Vellai Puravundru from 'Pudhukavithai'
5. Vaidhehi Raman from 'Pagal Nilavu.'
6. Amma Endru Azhaikkatha from 'Mannan'.
7. Janani Janani from 'Thai Mookambikai'
From this, I pick up the 6th and the 7th songs and want to tell something about it. The song 'Amma Endru' was sung by KJ Yesudas and RajniKanth is shown carrying the sick mother and conveying the message that, 'there is no life without mother, millions can be paid to buy ornaments but the affection cannot be got, I am always indebted to you as I know the pains you underwent in bringing me up......etc.' Fine. But, I felt this song was over emotional and melodramatic. Did the film director make like this to suit RajniKanth's style in being a 100% son to a mother? Do we require an actor like him to show us that our mothers went so many hardships? It could have been in somewhat mellowed manner. But, I feel that the mellowed and understated acting does not suit the Kollywood audience. Anyway, I am yet to develop some liking for this song and this is Not in my favorite list of songs. But, my love for my mother does not diminish in any way.
Amma Endru Azhaikkatha from 'Mannan'.
The seventh song 'Janani Janani' from the film 'Thai Mookambikai' is also tuned by Ilayaraja in Kalyani raagam and sung by Krishna Chandran & Deepan Chakravarthy. In this song, Shankaracharya is shown praising the mother goddess as the mother of the earth, a savior of all. Some of the lyrics in this song are applicable to all the mothers. This song sounds more soothing to my ear and I keep hearing it over and over again. Yes, this is in my favorites' list. And, when I searched the 'Youtube', I found that this song(Janani Janani) has more visitors than the song 'Amma endru.' The real reason for liking this one is still not known to me.
Janani Janani from Thai Mookambikai.
Two compositions of Ilayaraja, in same raaga, almost the same theme, yet feels so different from each other!!!