Thursday, July 31, 2008

Swami Vivekananda's thoughts incorporated by Kannadasan

Who have read Swami Vivekananda's thoughts and reflections? I am afraid not all of us have read on him fully. This fact was known to Kaviarasar and he was saddened by the fact that this great Hindu monk who took the west by storm was not fully understood by his own countrymen. He decided to do something about this. As you know, when Kaviarasar writes he will ensure that it must reach the masses with simplicity of language. Thus the song "Aaru Maname Aaaru Anthan Aandavan Kattalai Aaru" was born (film "Aandavan Kattalai"). After this song was released even the layman was opportuned to learn about Swami Vivekananda;s thought.The entire philosphy made compact in just 6 stanzas! Thats the genius in Kannadhasan.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jovial Mood of Kannadasan

Kavinjar was in one of his jovial moods. One afternoon he disguised his voice over the phone and called up MSV to say that he is speaking from Kavinjar's house and that Kavinjar had just passed away! MSV immediately broke down on hearing the news and called up Sridhar and a few others to pay an immediate visit to Kavinjar's house. On reaching they found him happily sipping his favourite brew. Dumbfounded, they could not ask him straightaway. They then joined him for a few rounds. Only later. did Kavinjar intimate to Sridhar that it was he who called and in the same tone said that he was curious to know who will be the first to pay their respects should he really croak. He thanked Sridhar and MSV and at the same time jokingly said that he would not die now as only a handful had turned up!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greatness about Kannadasan

An Episode where MSV purportedly bad mouthed Kannadhasan, which news reached the latter. He was visibly upset to understand his 'other half' in the musical profession had made the disparaging comments.This happened when he was working on the film "Nenjil Oor Aalayam" by Sridhar. Typical of him he exploited his mood to vent his feelings through the song "Sonnathu Nee thaana Sol Sol Sol Ennuyire". MSV understood while composing and they made up after that. Usually Kannadhasan's temper is short-lived. He forgives and forgets. This is what I learnt from the various sources which includes media interviews, publications as well as those who were opportuned to socialise with him. The surprising fact is that none of these sources had never hinted or draw negative comments on Kannadhasan. Perhaps is it due to the fact that he has written his own biography with all those sordid negativities about himself so much so he did not leave room for anyone to comment? He himself had time and again reminded the general public that if one were to learn how to live life then he or she should not read his open book. A well known personality once said that next to Mahatma Gandhi it was Kannadhasan who spoke the truth.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vaali and Kannadasan

A great poet who prefers to be in the low profile. When he was struggling, his pal the late actor V.Gopalakrishnan proposed to Vaali to be Kannadhasan's assistant and he will see to that he becomes one. But Vaali politely declined saying that he wants to carve a name for himself by being independent. At one stage he even contemplated suicide as the odds were against him and he was practically penniless. The day he contemplated suicide V.Gopalakrishnan came to visit him and narrated the stanza 'maayakama kalakkama' written by Kannadhasan which was recorded in the studio just a few moments ago and witnessed by him. Vaali on hearing the line 'unakum keeley ullavar kodi ninaithu paarthu nimmathi naadu' was deeply impressed and motivated. It was as though Kannadhasan wrote the song for him. He changed his mind. No returning to his village or even thinking about suicide. Whether it was part of divine's plan only heaven knows because what I am going to narrate hereafter will make you ponder. Around this time K.S. Gopalakrishnan and Kannadhasan were having a great time drinking to celebrate the success of the film "Sharadha". A friendly argument took place between the two buddies. Kannadhasan was of the belief that "Sharadha" became a success because of his songs whereas KSG was adamant that it was due to a very strong storyline and theme. During this fiendly banter an impromptu decision was taken. The next film by KSG will be without Kannadhasan but with a new songwriter to see whether it will run full house. Around this time when KSG heard about the struggling Vaali he invited him to pen all four songs for the film "Karpagam". It was a god-send invitation for Vaali. He penned the songs 'pakkathu veetu paruva machan', 'mannavane azhalaama', 'athai madi methayadi' and 'aayiram iravugal varuvathondu' (the latter was a novel song as in between gaps the choice was given to listeners to fill in ). The rest is history. The film became an instant hit and Vaali became a celebrity overnight. Kannadhasan accepted his defeat to KSG and had another round of merry making with him. Typical of him! But for his subsequent films KSG used Kannadhasan. A real gentleman. When Kanndhasan first heard the line "velli nilaavil vilakaai eriyum kadalthaan engal veedu" from the songs "tharai meyl pirakka vaithan" (Padahotti)he inquired from his driver as to whether he knew who the lyricist was for this song to which the latter replied in the affirmative. He immediately asked him to drive up to Vaali's abode which was a ramshackled rented room. When Vaali opened the door he could'nt believe himself that it was his idol at the doorstep. Without mincing any words Kannadhasan took out his gold chain and put it around Vaali's neck and blessed him. The latter was dumbfounded. He once remarked that his life time achievement was the endorsement given by Kannadhasan to him as a lyricist.This is why he is not keen in any titles. Many a time his songs were mistaken to be that of Kannadhasan's like 'kan pona pokkile kaal pogalama' (Panam Padaithavan)which he was proud of for he had achieved the status of Kaviarasar.He did'nt mind being misquoted. Both of them were buddies sharing the same bottle. In an immediate tribute to Kannadhasan during the mourning period he described him as 'meesai illatha bharathi, thaadi illatha tagore'

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kannadasan affection towards Kamaraj

Besides 'antha sivagamiyin maganidam' Kannadhasan has also written the song 'sendru vaa magane sendru vaa' for Kamaraj when the latter was invited to attend a meeting in the United Nations. Being illiterate in English he had inferiority complex but Kannadhasan prompted him through this song. The other song was 'ambigaye easwariye ennai aalavantha koil konda kungumakari' in 'Pattikaada Pattanamaa' where the line 'sivagamayin umayavale muthu maari un selvanakkum kaalam undu muthu maari, maharajan vaazhga endru vaazhthu koori intha makkal ellam koora vendum kottaiyeri' was aimed at Kamaraj to recapture the Chief Minister's seat.('kottai'in this context means the CM'S fort). Another song in 'Paadikaatha Meythai'was also meant for Kamaraj. The song is 'padipathinaal arivu petror ayiram peyr undu aanal padikaatha meythai ellam paarinil undu'

Extracts from Mahendra raj's pages

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rajnikanth and Kannadasan

When Rajni Kanth was in the prime of his career he was virtually working around the clock so much so that he was stressed out. Perhaps to relieve the stress he had been over indulging in drinks. It was about this time that he and MGR had a fallout. I do not wish to go into details but a fallout with MGR means one's downfall. Rajni approached K.Balachander, his gurunathar, about his predicament. KB reiterated that life would not be easy if one is not in good terms with MGR. He suggested to Rajni to run wild in Mount Road on a hot mid-day just to prove that whatever he had been doing against MGR was not of his own doing. Rajni did just that but then he was labelled a mad man after this incident. Although it helped the situation with MGR he nevertheless began to feel depressed again. He was acting in the film "Billa" at that time. It was here he met up with Kanndhasan who was doing the songs for the same film. He opened up his emotions to Kaviarasar and the latter grasped the situation well. He assured Rajni that this was a turning point in the life of the former. He further assured that the time was not far for him (Rajni) to overtake the popularity of MGR. In short he will be a superstar soon. It was Kanndhasan who gave him the title 'superstar' way back in 1979. He immediately penned the song "Naatil Enakoru Oor Oondu..." for this film and said that some day he will acknowledge this predictive song. If one were to hear this song in verbatim now he or she will understand Kaviarasar's "dheerka dharishinam". In real life Rajni became an admirer of Kannadhasan after this incident. He even went to Kannadhasan's house to hand deliver the invitation to his wife for his wedding although Kanndhasan was no more around. Such was his indebtedness to Kaviarasar. The above song along with the other song "My name is Billa" has some semblance to the lyrics

Thursday, July 24, 2008

KB affection towards Kannadasan

KB wanted very badly to introduce this unique pair into one of his films and he found it two years later in the film "Varumayin Niram Sigappu". Here Kamalhassan acts Kannadhasan and Sri Devi as MSV for the song "Chippi Irukuthu Muthum Irukuthu Thiranthu Paarka Neram Illadi Rajathi". At the end of the song one line goes like this "kavithai ulagam unnai kenjum unnai kandaal kavingar ullam konjum" which was a fact because Kannadhasan and MSV lived like a husband-and-wife team with all the antics! KB was satisfied that he managed to do his part for this team in celluloid form. This also reminds me of the film "Aboorva Raagangal" where KB was at a loss as to how to conclude this controversial story. He approached Kannadhasan to pen a suitable round-up song for the conclusion and thus the song "Kelviyin Naayagane Intha Kelviku Bathil Ethuya" was born in a jiffy. The film became a hit winning regional and national awards. Incidentally KB insisted that Kannadhasan acts himself in a small role in this film. He obliged him. These two genuises were buddies respecting each others' talents. When Kannadhasan's body was lying in state in Chennai after being brought back from Chicago KB refused to pay his last respects. The reason? He could not bring himself to see his lively buddy lying motionless. Even after his death KB makes it a point to infuse Kannadhasan's quotations or songs in his later films and tv serials. So the next time you listen to the song "Chippi Irukuthu..." try and visualise the Kannadhasan-MSV pair.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tidbits about Laa Song

As we all know K.Balachander was a trend-setter with controversial story themes in the late sixties and seventies. When KB commissioned Kannadhasan and MS Viswanathan into his team masterpieces were churned out in the likes of "Arangetram" "Aval Oru Thodarkathai" "Aboorva Raagangal" "Moondru Mudichu" "Avargal" "Pattina Previsam" "Nizhal Nijamagirathu" "Thappu Thaalangal" "Ninaithale Inikkum" "Nool Veli" "Varumayin Niram Sigappu" etc. Ever noticed that in each of these films the theme songs will tell the story of the whole film in a nutshell? That is Kannadhasan's speciality according to KB's specifications. While directing the film "Pattina Previsam" MSV came out with a unique tune which KB was instantly impressed. He requested MSV to use his good offices to persuade Kannadhasan to pen a suitable song for this unique tune. Until the late fifties it was the music directors who called the shots when composing songs. The song writers were at the mercy of the former. But Kannadhasan changed all that. When the order was reversed Kannadhasan stuck to it vehemently. Knowing Kannadhasan's principle and temperament MSV cautiously approached him by throwing a challenge to him to equate his tune with a suitable lyric. Kannadhasan, after the initial berating, asked MSV to play the tune on his harmonium. Whilst MSV's fingers were busy with the hamromium keys Kannadhasan completed the whole song in just 15 minutes. The song is "Vaa Nila Nilaa Alle" where every line ends with the syllable "laa". KB, known for everything novel was immensely impressed. When the song was completed at the recording studio Kannadhasan jokingly said that he forgot to include three imprtant "laas" in the song - they were "mother-in"la"w, "father-in-"la"w and "daughter-in-"la"w!

Many of Insights are the Extracts from Mahendraraj's Pages

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

மே Song

The producers of 'Avanthan Manithan' were rushing our poet laurete to pen the songs for their film which was scheduled to be shot in Singapore in the month of May 1973. Each opportunity they remind him of the month of May knowing Kaviarasu's attitude of taking everything easy and lightly. Finally, one fine day they insisted that he pens them the songs then and there. Without choice all the songs were written in a jiffy in a suite at Hotel Artlantic, Chennai. Before taking leave Kavirasu requested the producers and Music Director M.S. Viswanathan to take extra care on one particular song. Then he was gone. The group tried to decipher that particular song for a very long time until M.S.Viswanathan found the answer. All the songs in the film to name a few were hits such as 'Attuvithal Yaar Oruvan" "Manithan Ninaipathondru" "Engirintho Antha Kural" "Anbu Nadamaadum Kalaikudamae" etc. The code was broken by MSV. Yes, Kaviarasu got cheesed off with the verbal reminders by the producers when they emphasises the shooting schedule in Singapore in the month of May. He deliberately penned the song "Anbu Nadamaadum Kalai koodumae". To listeners it is just like another of the many romantic songs Kaviarasu has penned. But if you hear the song carefully each and every line ends with the word "May"!! Such is the compensation for incurring the wrath of Kaviarasar. The whole group had a good laugh over this incident whilst acknowledging Kaviarasar's acute sense of literacy and good ஹுமௌர்

எக்ஸ்ற்றக்ட்ஸ் பிரோம் மகேன்றராஜ் Pages

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Pledge Song for Eelam from Tamil Poet Laureate Kannadasan

Introductory Note
For millions of Tamils who are over 40, numerous movie lyrics of Tamil poet laureate Kannadasan (1927-1981) provided special delight in times of happiness and solace in times of sorrow. When Kannadasan wrote lyrics for action-oriented movies of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran (MGR; 1917-1987), in 1950s and 1960s, there was undoubtedly an extraordinary ‘punch’ in his lines to provide courage and uplifting spirit to the masses who struggled with daily chores.

Kannadasan-MGR combination in real life had vibrant streaks of friendship and infrequent spats as well. But both, each blessed with strong individuality, recognized and respected each one’s talent. Among the dozens of songs which fill my memories, I have a fondness to the following song which appeared in MGR’s movie Nadodi. For the movie, MGR lip-synched this song with a harmonium hanging around his neck. In my opinion, this song of Kannadasan has unequal merits as the pledge song for Eelam. Kannadasan’s play on the word ‘Naadu’ (both its noun form and the verb form) is indeed a beauty.

Peering into the Future

I predict that Eelam will be a reality in the first quarter of the 21st Century (before Prabhakaran reaches 70 years). Whether it will happen before the year 2010 or after, depends on multiple geo-political factors. To illustrate with a chemistry principle, a set of factors functioning as catalysts can bring out a quick completion of a reaction. In my opinion, the second and third generation of Tamils who are currently growing up in the USA, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia and other European nations can (and should) function as catalysts to influence the policies of their adopted nations.

Let us learn from a page in the history of the 20th century. Israel became a reality for Jews in 1948, largely because of the influence wielded by the second and third generation American Jews (whose parents and grandparents escaped from the pogroms in European and Russian ghettos). Since the times of Harry Truman, the Jewish interests (in academic, business, bureaucratic and Hollywood circles) have made sure that American politicians support the birth and sustenance of Israel.

Thus, it is the duty of those who have settled now in affluent nations to instill the message of Tamil heritage to their offsprings and grandchildren. Of course, there are many methods to provide such instruction. I wish to propose one song which can serve as a pledge song for Eelam Tamils in the diaspora.

In the mid 1960s, long before the struggle for Eelam was in the thoughts of Sri Lankan Tamils, Kannadasan, the uncrowned poet laureate of Tamils, penned a lyric to one of MGR’s movies, aptly named Nadodi (The Vagabond). The word Nadodi itself is an apt one to describe the status of the Tamils who left their ancestral land, though one need not interpret it in a derisive context. Kannadasan’s poignant song began with the lines,

Naadu – athai Naadu – athai naadaa viddaal, ethu Veedu?

In a play on the word Naadu, which means ‘homeland’ (as a noun) and ‘reach the goal’ (as a verb), Kannadasan superbly highlighted the folk wisdom that one’s real heaven (home) is in his or her homeland.

Even when I hum the lines of this particular lyric, I’m still astounded by Kannadasan’s mastery of thoughts, words and vision, and he wrote these lines for MGR to mouth these lines (actually sung by T.M.Soundararajan) in that movie. The Tamil poet laureate stressed it to us, that ‘even if our homeland is a desert, let us have boundaries with rock and mountains. There are rivers which flow into the fields, and lets be proud of our heroic traditions.’ [The original lines are as follows:]

Paalaivanam enra pothum Nam Naadu
Paarai Malai kooda Nam ellai Kodu
Aaru Nilam Paainthu Vizhaiyadum Thottam
Veera Samuthayame Engal Kooddam.

The next four lines of this lyric also shows that Kannadasan had anticipated the emergence of Tamil Tigers, a decade ahead. One can call it as a poet’s flight of fancy for word play or premonition to things to follow. But, these lines glitter like gems, and need no further explanation from me.

Pasi enru Varuvoorku Virunthaha Maarum
Pahaivar Muham Paarthu Puliyaaha Cheerum
Nilathil Uyir Vaithu Urimai Kondaadum
Ethirthu Varuvorai Urama Podum.

The poet has noted, ‘We will provide food for those who come with hunger; to our adversaries, we turn into tigers; We will cherish our dear land, and will turn enemies into fertilizers for our land.’

It is my view that the brothers and sisters who have stayed in Eelam have been doing their share in turning the last three lines of Kannadasan’s vision into reality. Those of us who have left Eelam and living elsewhere should contribute to make Kannadasan’s line ‘Pasi enru Varuvoorku Virunthaha Maarum’, a reality.

Extract fromSachi Sri Kantha
[Originally appeared in the Hot Spring, Jan-Feb.2000]

Friday, July 18, 2008

Insights போர் Yaarai nambi naan poranthaen pongadaa போங்க

In the mid fifties Kannadhasan and NSKrishnan (another legend)were boozing in the latter's house. NSK related to him as to how is gardener cried to him over the latter's son who left him after getting married. NSK added that the gardener, out of spite, preferred to tend to coconut trees which was part of his profession instead of tending to his own off-spring. ("thennaiya petthaal ilaneeru pillaya petthaal kanneeru"). This line invoked much thought in kaviarasar and he was awaiting a suitable film song to incorporate it.

Nearly 15 years later he infused this line into the song "yaarai nambi naan poranthaen pongadaa ponga" (Enga Oor Raja 1968.) That was a terrible long period all of you might think. But the accompanying incident puts to rest your opinion.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"ADI ANTHATHI" -that is every line of the song begins with the last word of the previous

There is a song in moondru mudicchu-vasanthakala nadhikalile- that is written with "ADI ANTHATHI" -that is every line of the song begins with the last word of the previous லைன்.

Vasantha Kaala NathikalileVariramani Neeralaigal
Neeralaigal MeethinilaeNenjirendin Ninaivalaigal
Ninaivalaigal Thodandru VanthalNaeramellam Kannavalaigal
Kanavalaigal ValarvatharkuKaamanavan Malarkanaigal
Malarkanaigal Paainthu VittalMadi Irandum Panjanaigal
Panjanaiyil Palli KondalManamirandum Thalaiyanaigal
Thalaiyanaiyil Mugam PuthaithuSarasamidum Pudhu Kalaigal
Pudhukalaigal PeruvatharkuPoomalai Manaivinaigal

Friday, July 11, 2008

William Wordsworth connection with Kannadasan

Once the daughter of the reknowned English poet William Wordsworth (referred to as Nature Poet and he was the one who said that poetry is a spontaneous over flow of powerful feelings), who herself was a poetess paid a visit to Chennai and was staying in a star hotel. Kannadasan, who came to know about her presence in Chennai, wanted to call on her at the hotel. Consequently he went to the hotel but there he was denied permission to meet the distinguished guest by the authorities of the hotel. Kannadasan then kindly requested one of the room boys to just hand over a bit of paper, in which he wrote something in English for her, and get back to him with her response post that.

The room boy obliged to do so and after the poetess went through the contents in the paper, she forced the room boy to take her to Kannadasan. The conversation between the English poetess and the Tamil poet then lasted for hours together. Can any one guess what there was in the paper which forced the English poetess to meet Kannadasan? It is as under:

"An Outstanding Tamil Poet is Standing Outside"

Dictation of a song in a telephone by Kannadasan

Kavingnar Kannadasan has dictated a whole song (lyric) on telephone, creating it (lyric) word by word at the time of telephonic dictation itself! It was for his own film (produced by Kannadasan), "Karuppu Panam". He had written the story, dialogue and lyrics for the film and had acted also in it! For creating a particular lyric for this film he sat down with the music director. First he created the following 'pallavi': "Kaiyile Panamirunthaal Kazhuthai Cooda Arasanadi....Kaithatta Aalirunthaal Kaakkai Cooda Nadiganadi"--- as he was dictating this, an urgent work outside the recording theatre demanded his immediate presence. So he abruptly stopped dictating and instantly went out. Seeing him coming out of the recording theatre, the production manager wrongly thought that entire lyric dictation work was over. So thinking he (production manager) arranged for song-recording the very next day. So, as per the callsheet, all members of the concerned music troupe assembled at the recording theatre. Music director M.S.Viswanathan arrived and asked for the lyric script. Only then it was noticed that the lyric remained incomplete at the 'pallavi' stage. But since the music troupe had assembled, Kannadasan was immediately contacted over phone and the situation explained. He too instantly remembered how the lyric had been left incomplete the previous day! So he, with lightning speed, became mentally prepred for the further dictation of the balance lines of the lyric over the phone then and there itself. Earlier he asked the production manager at the other end to read out what had already been written as 'pallavi'. As the latter finished reading, Kannadasan started dictating the balance lines which began like this: "Poyyile Neenthi Vanthaal Puluganellaam Thalaivanadi, Poosaari Velai Seyyum Aasaami Sooranadi". In this manner Kannadasan finished dictating all the 16 lines over the phone. It was written down by an assistant at the other end. Within a few hours from then the whole song got recorded to the satisfaction of all concerned!

In the entire history of Tamil cine field that was the first and perhaps may remain the last occasion in which almost a full length lyric was instantly created and dictated through phone for immediate song-recording!

(Excerpts From: "Tamil Cinema
Vinaa- Vidai"
-Manimegalai Pirasuram).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shivaji appreciation about Pasamalar song

When Shivaji produced "Pasa Malar" in 1961 .,it became a milestone of sorts for the Tamil film industry. Shivaji, realising that one feature of the film's success was attributed to the songs, arranged for a grand dinner reception with its attendant booze etc. for Kannadhasan. At that function he publicly embraced Kannadhasan saying that "kavingyan endral nee thaanda kavingyan".
Shivaji further noted that the lines 'nathiyil vilayadi kodiyil thalai seevi' (song: Malarnthu Malaraaga)was a literature song well diluted so that even the illiterate folks could understand the essence. After this incident, their animosity was forgotten. Practically it was kaviarasar's songs for the next decade or so in all of Shivaji's films

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Song regarding Kannadasan's affection towards Kamaraj

Kavingyar came out of Congress but had great admiration for Kamaraj. He wanted to convey his respect and desire for an ever lasting association with Kamaraj. Hence

‘Andha sivagami maganidam sedhi solladi – yennai
serum naal parka solladi’

came in the movie ‘Pattanathil Bhoodam’. In the movie , the song was set as it to praise Lord Muruga..

Kamaraj’s Mother’s name is Sivagami !!

Song about Annadurai illness by Kannadasan

Nalandana … Nalandana…
Udalum Ullamum Nalandana..

Nalam Pera vendum nee Yendru
Naalum Yen Nenjil Ninaivundu
Ilai marai kaai pol porul kondu
Yevarum ariyaamal sol indru….

Was written in ‘Thillana Moganaambal’ for as the meeting song between Sivaji and Padmini after sivaji’s injury.

But, this song is actually written with C.N. Annadurai in mind when he was ailing in the hospital and kavingyar was away from him

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

BackGround Story of Gauvravam Songs

The producers of "Gauvravam" (1973/1974)booked Kannadhasan to pen the songs for their film. But the latter was away in Malaysia.Once in Malaysia he forgets all his reponsibilities back home! It is a well known fact that Kaviarasar had a wide circle of associates in Malaysia. He gets well blended in Malaysia. He once remarked that being a strong believer in reincarnation he hoped that his next birth will be in Malaysia!

His assistant (I do not wish to cite his name for obvious reasons as he is still around and a well known film producer too)urged the producers to give him the opportunity to pen the songs citing Kannadhasan's attitude. Incidentally, this assistant is Kannadhasan's own nephew and he took him from nowhere and groomed him up. If you see films of the sixties and seventies era you can catch up his name as assistant to Kaviarasar in the film credits. The producers of "Gauravam" did not want to take the chance but instead preferred to await Kannadhasan's return. The moment Kannadhasan returned he heard the story of how his assistant-cum-nephew nearly manoeuvered him out of this film. He could'nt stomach the fact that the very child he groomed could do such a thing. But back to business. He penned all the songs but amongst them there were two songs where he really poured out his emotions. The songs fitted the film picturisation well but only those who were close to Kannadhasan knew that they were aimed at his nephew-cum-assistant. The songs are "Paaluti Valartha Kili" and "Neeyum Nanumaa Kanna Neeyum Naanumaa". The next time if you happen to hear these two songs close your eyes and you can feel the emotions of Kaviarasar. Anyway, the whole episode was forgotten as usual as Kannadhasan is a child-at-heart person and was never known to be vindictive throughout his life. He forgives and forgets. Thats his secret of remaining jovial till his last breath in spite of all the shortcomings he faced. See you all again with yet another song background ஸ்டோரி

Extracts from Mahendran Raj

Monday, July 7, 2008

கண்ணதாசன் ஆன்லைன் பாடல்கள்

Selected Kannadasan Lyrics & Writings,and Video Songs.The Below Link gives the pleasure of hearing and seeing the greatest works of Kaviarasar கண்ணதாசன்

என் vaanile ஒரே vennilla பாடலின் உருவாக்கம்

When kaviarasar was in the recording room after writing the song "En vaanile Orey vennilla" ('Johnny' 1980) he observed that the singer, Jansi, pronounced 'orey' with a short syllable. He quickly intervened and asked her to emphasise the 'orey' and went on to tell her the difference between pronouncing with a short syllable and a stretched 'orey'. The stretched 'orey' made a difference as it implies possesiveness although the moon is common to all.

Everyone in the audience, including Ilayaraja, had a short course in Tamil pronounciation at the studio!

Sothanai mel sothanai pothumadaa சாமி பாடலின் உருவாக்கம்

Kaviarasar had a tiff one early morning with one of his eldest sons and his publisher-friend over the publishing rights of his novel which was serialised in Kumudham earlier. After this stand-off he went to one of the assigned studios to do lyrics with Kanmani Subbu following him (after Panchu Arunasalam's incident it was Kanmani Subbu who filled up as his assistant in lyrics).

At the studio MSV was already present with his harmonium and when kaviarasar was told the story situation immediately he uttered the pallavi "Sothanai mel sothanai pothumadaa sami" ('Thanga Pathakkam' 1974). Kanmani Subbu, as usual transcribed the whole song while it was dictated and passed it to MSV after getting the endorsement of kaviarasar.

Traditionally, song tunes are composed on the first stanza only but in this case MSV was trying out different tunes basing on the last line of the last stanza, to wit, "...idipole pillai vanthaal madi thaangumaa". He was emphasising this part of the lyrics so loud and crying which was very unusual.

While the composition was going on Shivaji who was at a shooting in the adjacent studio room quitely came and took his seat amongst them during a break. He did not utter a single word but was clearly seen in a pensive mood with a tinge of sadness. He placed his right forefinger on the right side of his cheek and stared blankly at MSV .

Kaviarasar was seen puffing away a cigarette also in a melancholic mood. Suddenly he saw these three senior citizens shedding tears which was also unusual. Only later it was learned that both MSV and Shivaji had had some sort of misunderstandings and arguments (private) with their respective sons that particular morning too!

Kaviarasar's song befitted the actual life situations of these three gentlemen who were also involved in this film.

Kannadasan lyrics on foolishness

Four memorable Kannadasan lyrics on foolishness are as follows:

(1) Naan oru muttalunga enru Nalla padichavanga Naalu Peru Sonnanga [I’m but a fool – and was told so by four literate souls], written for comedian singer J.P.Chandrababu, in the movie Sahothari.

(2) Oho Ho Ho Manitharkale Oduvathenge Sollungal [Oho Ho Ho Humankind – Let me know where are you galloping], written for the character played by Sivaji Ganesan and sung by T.M.Soundararajan, in the movie Padithaal Maddum Pothuma.

(3) Kaalam seitha komalithanathil Ulagam piranthathu [ Due to the clowning of Time, the universe was born], again in the movie Padithaal Maddum Pothuma. Komali is the Tamil word for clown.

(4) Yaarai enge vaipathu enru yaarukkum puriyale [No one doesn’t know where to place anyone?], written for the character played by Sivaji Ganesan and sung by T.M.Soundararajan, in the movie Bale Pandiya.

The first of the four Kannadasan lyrics mentioned above, Naan Oru Muttalunga, is a timeless classic on foolish experiences, based on Kannadasan’s autobiographical experiences. The lyric was voiced by eccentric comedian singer-actor J.P.Chandrababu (1932?-1974), who combined Chaplinisque slap-stick comedy routines and a haunting bass voice to create a unique niche in the Tamil movie world from the late 1940s to early 1970s. Chandrababu, who spent his early years in Ceylon - since his father was a press staffer - was also no stranger to foolish acts in one's personal life. Thus this soul-stirring song lives in the lips of Tamils forever, for its in depth beauty, trawled from the experiences of two talented artistes who burnt both ends of their candles and had unusually short life spans.

The second of the four Kannadasan lyrics noted above, Oho Ho Ho Manitharkale Oduvathenge Sollungal also is filled with unique charm. Venkaayam (onion) is an allegorical word used commonly in Tamil for a fool. Why? It could be that foolish acts brings tears to many. Also that, peeling an onion layer by layer brings out nothing. Kannadasan uses this Venkaayam word effectively to sketch the traits of fools. The second quatrain of the lyric read as follows:

"Azhuhi pona kaai kari kooda samayaluku ahaathu
Arivillathavan uyirum manamum oorukku uthavaathu
Urithu paarthaal venkaayathil onrum irukkaathu
Ulari thiripavan vaarthaiyile oru uruppadi theraathu."

In my crude English translation, the lines read as,

Spoiled leaves and meat aren’t worth cooking
Mindless man’s life and mind isn’t worth for many
An onion peeled would turn out to be empty
The words of a fool aren’t worth even a penny

In the third lyric noted above, Kaalam seitha komali-thanathil Ulagam piranthathu, Kannadasan characterized different types of clownish acts among humans ingeniously. But in the first two quatrains he fantasized on the origin of universe, mind, love and human pairing as inter-linked clownish acts. In translation, Kannadasan’s lines read as follows: due to the clowning of Time, the universe was born; due to the clowning of universe, the mind was born; due to the clowning of the mind, love was born; and due to the clowning of love, pairing appeared. Of course, as one would expect, quite a bit of beauty and bite of Kannadasan’s lyrics is lost in translation.

In the fourth lyric noted above, Yaarai enge vaipathu enru yaarukkum puriyale, Kannadsasan gripes about the mixing of the real thing and the phony among humans. The first quatrain notes,

Yaarai enge vaipathu enru
yaarukkum puriyale – Ada
Andam kaakaikum kuyilkalukkum
Petham puriyale.

In my crude English translation, the lines read as,

No one doesn’t know
where to place anyone? – Yeh!
One can’t see the grade
between a crow and a cuckoo

Taken together, like the four lyrics mentioned here, there are more Kannadasan’s movie lyrics on fools and foolish acts which deserve in-depth study.


He is frequently called kavi arasu Kannadasan (kavi arasu means 'king of poets' in Tamil language).He was born in small village by name Sirukudalpatti near karaikudi. He wrote thousands of popular songs for Tamil cinema. He won the Sahitya Academy Translation Prize for his novel Cheraman Kadali in the year 1980.

His given name at birth was Muthiah. However, when he passed away at the age of 54, on October 16, 1981, millions of Tamils remembered him only by the name Kannadasan. For Tamils all over the world, he epitomised their poetry style. Even those who couldn't read the poetry of Kamban or the maxims of Valluvan, could hum the compositions of poet Kannadasan.

A number count of his publications shows a tally of 109 volumes, which include 21 novels and 10 slim volumes of essays on Hinduism, captioned Arthamulla Indu Matham (Meaningful Hinduism). In addition, he produced about 4000 poems and approximately 5000 movie lyrics, between 1944 and 1981, all with an eighth grade education at the formal level. He was also an excellent example of this century's Tamil goliard.

There is no doubt that he had a penetrating eye and keen observational powers. He also did not live a cocoon-type of life. He dipped into everything that Tamil Nadu could offer - wine, women, drugs, politics, polemics, atheism and religious sanctuary. After enjoying everything, what he did was remarkable - he composed verses about all his experiences, with reflective self-deprecating humour, irony, and biting sarcasm. These verses touched the sympathetic chords of Tamils from all walks of life - school boys, undergrads, housewives, farmers, manual labourers, plantation workers, middle class representatives and even upper class elites.