Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
  Site search Web search
Discernment. Online

















Sudha needs to do nothing more than she has already been doing: she sings playback for a classical vocalist
  The maestro disappoints severely. Not a single line or snatch of melody stays or haunts
'Kaifi Saab did not believe in what the Naxalites did. His poetry was initially supportive of the Telangana movement'


A debut and an absence

Best Audio
Rs 47

Ivann is touted more as Sudha Raghunathan's crossover into moviedom and less as Ilaiyaraja's effort 

It was with great eagerness I picked up a much talked-about album and sat down to listen to it. I had heard about Sudha Raghunathan, a successful diva on the Karnatak classical stage, being keen on getting into films.

Classical vocalist Nithyashree Mahadevan's popularity, everyone knows, had soared after she did a couple of popular numbers (Kannodu kaanbadellaam based on raga Abheri in Jeans and then that long-running title song from the television serial Chitti). Bombay Jayashree hit the bull's eye with her Vaseegara in the film Minnale. Sudha has recently sung a TV serial title song for Dhina. And Ivann, I told myself, was going to be a spectacular crossover for her into movie songs.

Parthiban, hero and director of Ivann, has worked on off beat themes before, and with Ilaiyaraja. In Azhagi , where he had Nandita Das debuting in Tamil, we heard some haunting lines from the maestro.

Sudha sings three numbers. Two of them, Kannane nee (in raga Bageshri, lyrics by Muthulingam) and Enna enna seiday nee (Vali), are both about love of music and love through music.

I wish Sudha had approached her numbers with some patience. Like a nerdy student out to impress the teacher, Sudha reaches breathlessly for stardom. She sings familiar, fast swaras and clever kannakku phrases. There is no space for any expression of the kind one has heard in P Susheela or, more recently, in Bombay Jayashree.

Sudha's guru, the great M L Vasanthakumari, also sang for a few films. Her songs were mostly classical dance numbers.

In classical music, we look for improvisational expertise and grace of expression. In films the lyrics and the characters demand a different set of skills from the singer. But all these factors have been ignored, for Sudha seems to be singing playback for a classical singer. So we don't discover any new facet to Sudha's singing.

The slant of the film is classical music, but there's also an item number to make up for those who are not tuned to this genre. Karthik and Sujata sing Thoolu podu thoolu, where women's lips are described as tasty pickles (words by Na Muthukumar). And then Ulagame... nee manithanai berates the world for transforming men into animals. In their male chauvinist insularity, the poets pickle women's body parts and reserve earth-shaking transformations for the men! The song is by Mu Metha.

He writes:

Ulagame... nee manithanai, miragamai aakuvadenu
Amaithiye... nee irrukkavorideminri alaindu vidalaamo?

Oh world... why do you transform man into an animal?
Oh peace... can it be that you wander with no place to stay?
Kapilan writes a number for Karthik and Malgudi Shuba: Mutham enbadu tea kudipaddu pol (A kiss is like drinking tea).

Unnikrishnan and Mathangi sing Pazhanibharati's Apdi paakrdunna venam, which begins promisingly with Ilaiyaraja's trademark harmonies and then dwindles into vagueness.

Ilaiyaraja has written two songs Bhajane seyvom and Pattukku pogadingo. Bad news for his fans: he disappoints severely. Not a single line or snatch of melody stays or haunts. The old touch does not surface except in very distracted, lost patches in some interludes and intros. Sad let-down from a genius.
S Suchitra Lata

Posted on 19 June 2002

Write to the editor

Music alert!

Want updates on The Music Magazine's latest stories? Send us your e-mail ID, details of genres you are interested in, and any other information you think is relevant. We plan to alert you to new stuff on your favourite magazine

Top  | Home

Press Ctrl D to bookmark The Music Magazine

Media praise for your favourite e-zine from India:

*For fans of Indian music, there is no better resource on the Web -- CNet
*Well researched -- India Today
*Fantastic site -- Hitbox
*Web's best -- Britannica
*Superb coverage... worth tuning in to -- Rediff
*Classy -- Deccan Herald