After the spectacular commercial success of Yajamana, the visibly ageing Vishnuvardhan is the
most-in-demand hero in Kannada again. When that film was still in
the middle of its record run, the trade papers were raving about its
profits: Rs 20 crore.
Shabdavedhi was Rajkumar's last film, after which his life has taken many unexpected turns. The Kannada superstar hasn't yet made a film after he was kidnapped and released. Younger heroes like Shivarajkumar and Ravichandran are acting in big budget films, quite a few of them remakes. Sudeep has turned himself into a hot new hero, after his Sparsha and Huchcha became hits.
Kotigobba is a remake. This Vishnuvardhan starrer has music by Deva. I don't know if all these tunes have been lifted from the Tamil -- I definitely know one of them is.
The album opens with a song in praise of god Nanjunda, which is the name by which Shiva is worshipped in the temple town of Nanjangud near Mysore. It begins with a chant, and then goes off into folksy-sounding rhythm patterns. Deva must be a specialist in this genre. He made a similar song in Tamil, Kavalepadaade sahodara, which is considered his trademark number. That song begins catchily enough, but Deva is no singer. In the Kannada song, he gets S P Balasubramanyam to do the honours.
Kaverige kalungura is a love song which has a strange line:
Namma preetigerade akshara
(Our love needs only two words
It's deep as the Gowri-Shankara)
K Kalyan ambushed me with this line that sounded absurd. All these years I had imagined Gowrishankara to be a snow-capped mountain in the Himalayan range. Kalayan makes it out to be something that's "deep", so either I am wrong, or Kalyan is wrong, or the mountain has become a valley.
The first song on Side B, Are thai thai thandana, has some Hindi lines sung by a male and a female voice, both not given credit. The song is credited only to SPB.
Saahasa simha is a replica of Autoraja autoraja from a Tamil film starring Rajnikanth, and praises Vishnuvardhan as a great action hero and upholder of justice. There's a lot of such trash about the incredible virtues of the hero in all these hero-dominated melodramas that Vishnuvardhan stars in these days.
The last song on the album, Vardhana Vishnuvardhana , makes references to the real-life personalities of the star and his wife. The heroine (playback by Chitra) calls hims by his real-life name, and he in turn calls his heroine by the name of Bharati (the actress he is married to in real life).
An ad jingle at the end of Side B gives you an interesting sidelight. Mars Music has produced a non-stop disco version of old Vishnuvardhan hits. It includes songs like Preetiye nannusiru (music: Bappi Lahiri), Naa haadalu (music: Rajan Nagendra) and Baare baare (music Vijayabhaskar). It's sung presumably by "orchestra" singers and is not from the original soundtrack. In fact, it brought home to me some much loved Vishnuvardhan melodies from yesteryear. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend that tape, but maybe you could pick up his old songs in the original if they are available in a compilation.
The title Kotigobba means "one in a crore", but its album has nothing to make it so precious.
Published on 15 November 2001
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