Thursday, April 2, 2009

Raja's spectrum of moods with veena

As mentioned before, Veena was typically to signify an auspicious situation typically in Indian film music. Not after Raja came on board. He has used it in different situations, both in his classical as well as his light tracks. Specifically, Raja used the electric veena to produce some amazing moods.Let’s begin with tracks that invoke happiness mood. Ilancholai Poothatha from Unakaakave Vazhkiraen (1986) creates this mood along with synth, flute and violins. Thogai Ilamayil from Payanangal Mudivathillai (1982) created this veena magic with the support of guitars, synth and flute. Kadhal Oviyam from Alaigal Oiyvathillai (1981) uses the veena along with guitar and violins to create this mood. Kanmaniye Kaadhal Enbadhu from Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai (1979) creates this mood using veena along with violins, nadaswaram and synth. My top pick would be Ilancholai Poothatha

Let’s move over to the pleasant memories mood. Oru Raagam Tharatha Veenai from Unnai Vazhthi Paadugiraen (1992) is a track that creates this mood along with synth and violins. Amma enrazhaikatha from Mannan (1992) is another great track that evokes this mood. Kaalai Nera Poonguyil from Amman Kovil Kizhakaale (1986) is a great contender for this section. Tham Thananam from Pudhiya Vaarpugal (1979) is an innovative track using veena to bring out this mood along with violins and chorus. Thanga Nilavukku from Rickshaw Mama (1992) is another melodious track that uses veena along with flute, violins to create this mood. My top pick would be Tham Thananam

Used properly, veena can be used very effectively in romantic situations. Indraikku Ennindha Aanandhamo from Vaidehi Kaathirundhaal (1984) creates this mood using veena with support from violins and flute. Sanga Thamizh Kaviye from Manadhil Urudhi Vendum (1987) creates this mood along with violins and flute. Kadhal Mayakkam from Pudhumai Penn (1983) is a great example of usage of electric veena in a romantic mood along with flute, violins and chorus. Nee Oru kadhal Sangeetham from Nayakan (1987) uses violin to create a romantic mood along with flute. Nee Padhi Naan Padhi from Keladi Kanmani (1990) uses veena with violin, synth and flutes to create this mood beautifully. Hey Paadal Ondru from Priya (1978) uses veena along with veena is an innovative way to create a romantic mood. Another outstanding romantic song with Veena is a Malayalam track by Raja in the 80s in the film Aalolam which goes Veene Veene. My top pick would be Kadhal Mayakkam

Party mood with veena – sounds bizarre? Not for Raja. The track Vasantha Nilavin from Sooryan (2007 Malayalam) creates this unique blend of synthesizer and veena/sitar set to a catchy rhythm revealing another facet of Raja’s musical journey. In his earlier years, Raja created one of his all time best tracks – Pani Vizhum Malar Vanam from Ninaivellam Nitya (1982) where he used a unique blend of guitar, synth and violins to create a party mood. My top pick would be Vasantha Nilavin

Veena fits easily into the pathos mood and Raja has used it on many occasions. Poo malai vaangi vandhaan from Sindhu Bhairavi (1986) creates this mood along with violins. Kanna Varuvaya from Manadhil Urudhi Vendum (1987) creates this mood along with violins, guitar and chorus. Nee Pournami from Oruvar Vazhum Aalaiyam (1988) creates this mood along with flute very well. My top pick would be Kanna Varuvaya

Devotion, meditation mood is easily created using the veena and Raja has exploited the veena/sitar very effectively. Poovai Virijnu from Adharvam (Malayalam - 1989) brings out this mood extremely well along with violins and flutes. Vedam Nee from Kovil Pura (1981) creates this mood along with synth, violins and flute. Mouna ragam manaveenai, Kamalam Paadha Kamalam and Sollayo Vaai Thirandhu from Moga MuLL (1995) are all contenders for this mood using veena, ably supported by violins and flute. Mandhiram Idhu from Avaarampoo (1992) is another magical track that creates a sense of meditation extremely well. Kai Veenaiyai from Vietnam Colony (1994) set to Ameer Kalyani raga is my top pick for this section.


Concluding notes on the mood series

In our analysis, we looked at seven moods by way of seven colors and we tried to analyze it from seven main instruments that Raja has used. While this gives a perspective of Raja’s breadth and depth, it is by no means comprehensive. It is just an initial attempt. As mentioned before, there are many emotions beyond the seven that Raja has brought out with his songs and background music in films. Also, the seven instruments are just too limiting for this genius’ large body of work.

For instance, Raja’s work with solo violin alone deserves a separate analysis. Similarly, he has used unusual instruments (for South Indian music) such as saarangi, sitar, sarod, santoor along with his mainstream instruments to create a kaleidoscope of emotions/feelings.

There are many emotions/feeling that fall outside of our seven categories – jubilation (example, Ilamai Itho Itho from Sakala Kala Vallavan), intoxication (example, vaanam keele vanthalenna from Thoongathe Thambhi Thoongathe), maternal love (example, Chinna ThayavaL from Dhalapathi), Arrogance (example, Ennama Kannu from Mr. Bharat), competitiveness (example, Vaa Veliye from Paadu Nilave) and so on. Most of these emotions/feelings are created with lyrics, singing and excellent interludes.

Perhaps, at a later stage, we may want to expand this analysis to these moods as well. As this is an emerging area of research, with more information, we may either have to revisit our classifications or confirm our analysis.