Saturday, October 4, 2008

The unique Raja experience

In his long career of 3 plus decades, one of the striking possibilities is repetition of earlier successful tunes – Raja has carefully avoided them for the most part. However, there are several occasions, where there have been lyrics that have been repetitive. No other composer in Indian music has faced so much repetitive lyrics and come out with different tunes for them every time. Let me provide 10 examples from Raja’s career that I am aware of. I am sure that there are a lot more that I am not aware.

  1. Kaatrinile Varum Geetham has been one of the yester years super hit song sang by MS Subhalakshmi. No other composer ever managed to unseat the glory of this song till Raja arrived. Raja has three songs which have these three words with minor grammatical differences in three different tunes – all of them super hits! The first one was from the film Kaatrinile Varum Geetham - Kandaen Engum (1978) where Raja had both Janaki and Vani Jayaram sing the song . The highlight of the song is the phrase Kaatrinile Varum Geetham. In the film Johny(1979), Raja had Janaki sing Kaatril Enthan Geetham in a completely different tune than his earlier one. Later in the 90s, Raja had Hari, Shreya, Bhava, Sadhana and himself sing to the song Kaatril Varum Geethame from the film Oru NaaL Oru Kanavu (2005). You have to hear the three songs in sequence to see how they are each great but different melodies.
  2. Kuyile Kuyile from Aan Pavam (1985) is set to a particular tune. The same phrases from Kadhal Oviyam (1982) is set to a completely different tune full of pathos. Both these are duets. For the third time, the same phrases are set to another very happy tune in the film En Bommukutty Ammuvukku
  3. Unnai Thedi from En Mana Vaanil (2002) is set to a tune (sang by Hari and Raja separately). The same phrases are set to a different tune when Sadhana sings it in the film Konji Pesalam (2003). The third variation of this is another tune in the film Housefull (1999).
  4. Manadhil Uridhi Vendum is set to a particular tune in the film Sindhu Bhairavi (1986) and the same words are set to another tune in the film Manadhil Utithi Vendum (1987). Both are sang by Yesudas.
  5. Vaarthai Thavari Vittai are words set to tune in the film Ilamai Oonjaladukirathu (1978) as part of the famous song Ennadi Meenachi. The same words are set to another tune in the film Sethu (1999).
  6. Kadhal Oviyam from Kavikuyil 1979) is set to a particular tune (solo) and Kadhal Oviyam from Alaigal Oiyvathillai (1981) is set to another completely different tune sang by Raja and Jensi. Both turned out to be hit songs.
  7. Thom Thom from Sindhu Bhairavi (1986) is set to a particular tune and the same phrases are set to a completely different tune from the film Oorellam Un Paatuthaan (1991). Both are tracks sang by Yesudas.
  8. The song Vaaranam Aayiram from Keladi Kanmani (1990) is set to a tune and the same phrases are set to a completely different tune in the song Vaishnav Janato in Hey Ram (2001).
  9. Vaa Vaa Anbe from Eeramana Rojave (1991) is set to a tune and the same phrases are set to completely different tune in Agni Natchathiram (1988). Both are tracks sang by Yesudas and Janaki.
  10. Vaigai Nadhi from Rickhaw Mama (1992) is a duet of SPB and Janaki set to a particular tune. The same phrases are to a different tune when Hari sings it in Nilave Mugam Kaatu (1999).
These are 10 examples from the wide body of work that demonstrate the innovative way in which Raja comes out with new tunes for the same phrases over and over again. There is absolutely no influence of an earlier tune in the later tune (s). Such is the work of a genius!


Anonymous said...

Vaarthai thavari vittai set to a pathos tune in Sethu.

ravinat said...

Thanks for pointing the error.


Unknown said...

on the same line, i observed how Raaja Sir has used the phrase "Roja Ondru" in Komberi Mookkan and Oh Manne Manne movies respectively.
Both Have SPB sir and Janaki Amma in common.

As u had highlighted, Only a Genius can give so many interpretations for a single phrase.

Also if we can recollect Raaja sir had given 3 different tunes for the phrase "Maankuyile Poonkuyile" in one of his concerts. He even went a step ahead imitating his son Yuvan.

Anonymous said...

While I'm a great fan of IR and his masterpieces, my understanding is that the almost in all cases, tune is composed first and then the lyricist writes the song's lyrics. That said, the uniqueness is that of the Vaali et al.

sandy said...

Nallathor Veenai from the movies Bharathi & Marupadiyum is another example where both songs demonstrates more or less the same mood(deepest sorrow) for the listener. And not to what a composition these two songs were by the GENIUS!!!

Kannan said...

Reply to anonymous - How about Thiruvasagam in Symphony? How difficult is it to set classic literature poems to tune? You cannot change a word there. Also, Ilayaraja has penned down lyrics for several songs by himself. He said, for many songs by other lyricists, at least the pallavi, he used to suggest verses. That way, many pallavis of others are his own. Vaali and Kamal have mentioned about this.

Mahesh said...

Heart melting songs and bgms from great genius