This is very common with Raja and most Indian music composers. Traditional choir includes singing la la la or tha na na or the group repeating the main singers lines.
Raja has used this technique throughout his career. It is almost impossible to list all of them. As before, I am working from my favorite database of 1,500 tracks of Raja. Feel free to add the ones I may have missed. In order to do any justice to this female choir section, we have to divide the narration into 4 parts, covering the 70s, 80s, 90s and 200s. Within those, we will list them alphabetically, from all languages as no one track is superior to the other. Finally, we will provide one sample from each decade. In general, usage of this style chorus peaked in the 80s and slowly tapered off with only a few examples in the 21st century.
Ilamai Ennum Poongatru from Pagalil Oru Iravu (Tamil 1979) – one of the earliest Raja hits, known for the violins and acoustic guitar. The pallavi is backed by female traditional chorus partly. The 1st interlude is partly backed by female chorus. The charanams is backed by female chorus for some phrases.
Iru Paravaigal from Niram Maratha Pookal (Tamil 1979) – the song’s prelude is a female chorus supported by the bass guitar. Part of the 1st and 2nd interlude is backed by the female chorus.
Malargale Nadaswarangal from Kizhakke Pogum Rayil (2nd interlude). Parts of the 2nd charanam are supported by choir only.(Tamil 1978). This track is more known for its brilliant use of nadaswaram and Indian traditional chorus. The prelude of the song starts off with the chorus and the second interlude is very unusual and is fully executed with female chorus and nadaswaram. The second charanam also has sprinkles of chorus work. This will be the track we will sample in this section. Listen to the second pallavi and the chorus that follow it.
Let's hear Malargalile Nadaswarangal...
Aadungal Paadungal from Guru (Tamil 1980). This track known for some nifty violin and electric guitar usage has traditional female chorus all over the place. Starting with the prelude, the female chorus backs SPB in the pallavi.
Andhi Varum Neram from Mundhanai Mudichu (Tamil 1984). The prelude starts off with conventional female chorus. The second interlude uses the chorus.
Bhoopalam Isaikum from Thooral Ninnu Pochu (Tamil 1982). The prelude like Andhi Varum Neram starts off with conventional female chorus. Again, in the same format, the second interlude uses the chorus
Chinna Chinna from Mouna Ragam (Tamil 1986). The interlude 1 and 2 uses female chorus supported beautifully by the bass guitar. The use of the synthesizer supporting the chorus in the second interlude is noteworthy. The charanams have Janaki and the chorus voices in C&R mode for some phrases.
Deiveega Ragam from Ullasa Paravaigal (Tamil 1980). The track is fully executed between the main singer (Jensi) and the female chorus. The prelude, pallavi, the last 4 phrases of the charanams are all chorus backed.
Devan Kovil Deepam Onru from Naan Paadum Paadal with DC (Tamil 1984). This version’s pallavi is supported by female chorus. There is a Janaki only version that is supported by strings.
Engeyo Etho Paatrondru from Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal (Tamil 1980). The second interlude uses female chorus which is absent elsewhere in the track. Should be situational!
Enodu Paatu Padungal from Udhaya Geetham (Tamil 1985). One of the super hit tracks of Raja in the 80s, the second interlude alone uses female chorus.
Isai Medaiyil from Ilamai Kaalangal (Tamil 1983). The track is chorus rich. Starts off with the prelude with female chorus support. The pallavis and first interlude uses it brilliantly again.
Kadhal Mayakkam from Pudhumai Penn (Tamil 1983). Brilliantly executed with chorus in the 80s. Observe the pallavi – the female chorus backs Uma in some parts. The 1st interlude has the chorus in counterpoint with the synthesizer. The second interlude is arranged very intelligently as a C&R between Jayachandran and the female chorus.
Let's hear Kadhal Mayakkam...
Kadavul Ullame from Anbulla Rajnikanth (Tamil 1984). This song has female chorus all over it. The prelude itself starts off with the chorus. The pallavi/charanam is sung in parts between the main singer and the chorus.
Kadhal Maharani from Kadhal Parisu (Tamil 1987). The prelude uses the female choir before the pallavi begins. The second interlude again uses female choir before the charanam 2 starts.
Kalidasan Kannadhasan from Soorakotai Singakutti (Tamil 1983). This is a popular song from an obscure film. The song’s prelude has a nice exchange between Jayachandran and the female chorus and continues into the pallavi. The entire pallavi is arranged as a C&R between the main singers and the chorus. The interludes use female chorus extensively.
Kalyana Malai from Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal (2nd interlude) (Tamil 1989). This song is a masterpiece of sorts. Beautiful WCM strings. The second interlude starts off with the female chorus and starts off a C&R with the flute. The violins do the rest.
Kanna Varuvaya from Manadhil Urudhi Vendum (Tamil 1987). The track uses some brilliant chorus parts. The prelude that has the flute playing along is done very imaginatively. The second interlude has chorus parts with the exception of the last 4 seconds.
Kasturi Maane from Pudhumai Penn (Tamil 1983). Raja’s use of chorus in Pudhumai Penn is excellent. Apart from female chorus, this track uses claps very innovatively. The first interlude starts off with the female chorus. The second interlude ends with the female chorus. Observe the last few seconds where the synthesizer plays its own tune when the female chorus sing.
Kodai Kala Kaatre from Panneer Pushpangal (Tamil 1981). One of the all time great hits of Raja, this song uses female chorus at the appropriate place. Raja uses the female chorus instead of strings in the pallavi. Observe closely, that the notes are for violins! The first interlude has female chorus in C&R with the electric guitar. The second interlude has a special place for the female chorus. Raja cuts out all instruments and uses two sets of voices to weave the interlude magic. Also, notice that the last two bars of each charanam uses the organ instead of the chorus. He carefully avoids excessive use.
Kulliradhunnu Manathu from Olangal (Malayalam 1982). The prelude starts off with female chorus.
Malarthopithil Kilikonjalai from Dhooram Arike (Malayalam 1980). The prelude uses female chorus along with the guitar and violins. The pallavi and the charanams have Yesudas and the female chorus sharing the lines.
Muthumani Sudare Vaa from Anbulla Rajnikanth (children) (Tamil 1984). The prelude has children in chorus. The first interlude has two sets of children singing in a C&R mode. The charanam uses female chorus instead of strings for the first 4 bars. The last 4 bars have violins backing the singer.
Oh Vanampaadi from Saathanai – prelude and second interlude (Tamil 1986). The prelude uses female chorus in a very conventional 60s style. The second interlude uses the chorus again in the conventional 60s style. Very typical of MSV style.
Oru Poocholai Aalanathe by Vaathiyaar Veetu Pillai (Tamil 1989). Splendid female chorus execution. The track starts off with very melodious female chorus. The chorus execution is very Rajaish. The 1st interlude uses female chorus in a C&R with violins. The second interlude uses claps, the guitar and the female chorus very imaginatively.
Let's hear Oru Pooncholai...
Paada Vandhadho from Ilamai Kaalangal – prelude and interludes (Tamil 1983). The preludes uses female chorus in a typical Raja style. The 1st and 2nd interlude has some parts for female chorus.
Paaramal Paartha Nenjam from Poonthota Kaavalkaaran (Tamil 1988). The prelude has female chorus in typical Raja style. The 2nd prelude has a large part executed as female chorus.
Pani Vizhum Iravu from Mouna Ragam (Tamil 1986). The prelude is executed beautifully with a female chorus. The 2nd prelude has some nice female chorus parts executed with two sets of voices.
Poonthalir Aada from Panneer Pushpangal (Tamil 1981). A song that is a masterpiece every way you look at it – tune, lead guitar, bass guitar, staggering counterpoints, great singing and finally great female chorus. The last few bars of the prelude is beautifully done with female chorus. The pallavi is a nice C& R between SPB and the female chorus. The first prelude has a special place for the female chorus. Raja creates total silence for a second and has the bass guitar and the female chorus with the background violins. There is nothing to match this imagination in film music that I have heard. The second interlude is the only one that can beat the first one. After some great guitar work, Raja lets the chorus blend with the bass guitar and transports you out of this world. It does not get any better.
Let's hear Poonthalir Aada...
Tella Cheeraku from Aakari Poratam (Telugu 1988). The prelude starts off with the female chorus. The second interlude uses the female chorus in a special way – Raja tries to match the background violins that make it indistinguishable.
Then Mozhi – from Mella thiranthathu kadhavu prelude and the pallavis are beautifully crafted. (Tamil 1986). The prelude starts off with the female chorus. The pallavi has the female chorus backing the main singer where violins are not.
Unarumae Ganam from Moonam Pakkam (Malayalam 1988). The first interlude uses the female chorus extensively. The second interlude uses the female chorus initially in a C&R with the flute and switches to a beautiful counter melody between two sets of female voices.
Aalapol Velapol from Ejamaan (Tamil 1993). The first interlude has the female chorus singing the initial few bars. Some parts of the first charanam have the female chorus responding to Chitra’s lines.
Diana Diana from Kadahal Kavidhai (Tamil 1998). The prelude has female chorus for the later bars. The pallavi has the female chorus singing some parts and backing the main singer at times. The first interlude has the female chorus doing some scat singing. The charanams are executed with some bars with the female chorus backing. The other bars have the saxophone backing the singer.
Enna Varam Vendum from Nandavana Theru (Tamil 1995). The prelude has the female chorus singing some of the lyrics. The first interlude is executed with some fantastic female chorus parts. The synthesizer and the female chorus blend so beautifully. The second interlude has some spectacular harmony pieces with the violins. This is one of Raja’s best use of female chorus.
Let's hear Enna Varam Vendum...
Kalaiyil Ketathu from Senthamizh Selvan (Tamil 1994). The prelude starts off with the female chorus. The second interlude uses some beautiful female chorus parts.
Kalaiya Nizama from Collie No. 1 (2nd interlude is scat singing) (Telugu 1991). The prelude starts off with violins and when the female chorus joins the party, the bass guitar and the violins support the female chorus nicely. The second interlude is executed with a lot of female chorus who shift into scat singing backed by the guitar and the flute. An unusual treatment from Raja.
Let's hear Kalaiya Nizama...
Kaattu Kuyilu from Dhalapathy (Tamil 1991). Some parts of this track uses female chorus. The pallavi has some parts sang by the female chorus.
Kalakalakkum Maniyosai from Eeramana Rojave ( very innovative use of choir to repeat phrases in the pallavi in different channels). (Tamil 1991). The prelude of the song has the female chorus in an echo mode. The female chorus is given the regular lyrics but Raja uses a recoding technique where the main singer sings on one channel and the same lines are sang on another channel by the female chorus - pallavis. Also notice that the female chorus changes from left to right channel alternatively. Notice the way the charanams are executed with the synthesizer moving from right to left and then back to right progressively for about 6 bars. The second interlude uses the female chorus in a traditional way.
Kannirendil Etri Vaitha Neivilake from Avatharam (psychedelic treatment of choir) (Tamil 1995). The prelude is very haunting – two synthesizers out of phase does its psychedelic magic – “surreal and dreamy feeling" – this is a genre that the Western world embraced by accommodating the East – sitar and guitar creating the surreal feeling along with mind bending drugs. Raja goes several steps beyond what the basic definition of the genre was – he uses two Western instruments – synthesizers and also uses the female chorus to sing in a devotional style and still gets that surreal psychedelic treatment. Another proof of why he is the genius in Indian film music. Observe the female chorus closely. There is a set of foreground female chorus singing the lines and another set of female voices humming in the background. The entire song is executed as a female chorus. Two synthesizers out of phase with a female choir. The entire song has two sets of choir - the one in the foreground singing the song lines, the background choir that hums with the gliding synthesized guitar. In the psychedelic world they used sitar playing out of phase with the electric guitar. Raja uses a beautiful combo of choir-choir-synth guitar to deliver the same effect. For all the new wave composers of today, you do not get such stuff in samples and software manuals!
Let's hear Kannirendil Etriya...
Kungumam Manjalukku from Enga Mudhalaali (Tamil 1993). The prelude starts off with the female chorus. The use of female chorus in the first interlude is grand with the violins playing in the foreground. The second interlude uses female chorus for some parts.
Muthumani muthumani from Adharmam (Tamil 1994). The prelude arranged with the female chorus. The second interlude has some spectacular arrangement with the female chorus and the violins.
Malai kovil vaasalil from Veera (Tamil 1994). The prelude arranged with the female chorus singing a nice humming after the main singer. Parts of the pallavi are sang by the female chorus. The first and the second interlude has parts executed by the female chorus.
Mannan Kurai Selai from Siraichaalai (Tamil 1996). The first interlude has parts executed by the female chorus. Some parts of the charanam have the female chorus responding to Chitra. The second interlude has male chorus singing some parts.
Mayil Aadum Thoppil from Chinna Pasanga Naanga (1st interlude) (Tamil 1992). The first interlude has some nice traditional female chorus and some good violin work. The second interlude has the female chorus in the background with the flute in the foreground.
Sandana Marbile from Nadodi Thendral (Tamil 1992). The prelude has some neat female chorus arrangement. The pallavi has some parts for the female chorus. The charanam is backed by the female chorus instead of any strings for the first few bars.
Vanam Ennum Thaye from Villu Paatukaran (Tamil 1992). The prelude is done using a female chorus with some background violins. The second interlude has some parts with female chorus with the shehnai. The second charanam has the female chorus backing Chitra. The second charanam’s tune is different from the first charanam.
Vandhadhe Kunkumum from Kizhakku Vaasal (Tamil 1990). The prelude is done using a female chorus with grand violins. The pallavi has the female chorus singing counter to Chitra. Parts of the first interlude have some brilliant parts between the female chorus and the violins. The second interlude is a C&R arrangement between the female chorus and the flutes with violins backing both parts in full waltz.
Raja did reduce the use of chorus in his 2000s compositions. He has refrained from synthesized choir as he does not have any such handicap of not knowing how to conduct one.
Kekalayo from Kasturimaan (Tamil 2005). The prelude has nice female chorus in bhajan format. The pallavi is initially sang by the female chorus. The second interlude is executed with the female chorus to begin.
Koda Manjin from Kochu Kochu Sandhoshangal (Malayalam 2005). The prelude starts off with the female chorus. The pallavi has the female chorus backing the main singer. The second interlude has female chorus parts.
Let's hear Koda Manjin...
Malar Villile from Ponnar Sankar (2011) sees the return of the 70s style female chorus arrangement in Raja’s compositions. Nicely executed, this track has other goodies, already described in the post titled ‘All Music is One’.