I have wondered why there are no hit albums but only hit numbers in music scene these days. In Hindi it was Aashiqui 2 long back and in tamil, recently I can only think of Kaatru Veliyidai. In fact when we talk about Mani Ratnam films, nothing is just stand alone. It all comes together as an expression of the film maker. Well, who am I to talk about Mani Ratnam? He is a legend in his own right.
That is why the Album ’96 comes as a whiff of fresh air. In few days Chekka Chivandha Vaanam audio will come out and people may move on. But for me, as of now, this album is the best of 2018 in Tamil film industry.
This song kind of reminded me of courtship period. If you have been reading my previous blog posts before this one, I would have written at least four blog posts about it. The song starts with lines such as “Aaratha aaval; Ethetho saayal Eatru thiriyum kaathal; Prathyega thedal” . Isn’t it true? We are driven by the curiosity, everything she or he says as simple as I love to shop in M&S too gives a shade of love. It feels like our personal search has come to an end. As the song moves forward to “Or vidaikulle, vinavellam pathungudhe. Nan enbathey karaithathey, tholaindhadhey, mudinthathey”. We all wait for that one affirmative answer. A nod, a smile, a smile and a nod would be great even if the smile is just 0.25 inches. And it puts all the questions we have in ourselves, primary one being “Am I enough?” to rest. And when that comes, the egoistic “I” disappears only to appear time and again in coming days. But at that moment, the I is gone. I am not going to give away all the lyrics for you here. If you understand Tamil, there is a lyric video available for this song in YouTube.
The Life of Ram:
I heard this song when I was lying down in the floor with my hand to support my head, one leg over the other and when “Thimileri kaalai mel thoongum kaagamai boomi meethu iruppen.” It is like I am the crow that is on the hump of the mighty bull. I live like that in this earth. At that moment, the device disappeared, the settings disappeared and I became the song. It wouldn’t be too much to say the song became me. “Kaatrodu vallooru than pogudhe azhagai; Nigazhve athuvay” is another line. See the eagle glides through the sky. At that moment in that peace, the eagle is the action and action is eagle. Karmayogi as Lord Krishna puts it in The Gita. The eagle doesn’t think about what others think of it, how it looks or how it is going to land. It is just in flight. That is all. I wish we can all live like that. At least for fleeting moment, daily. One day at a time.
“Yean Netrai pootamal ponayo” is the second line of the song which translates to, why didn’t you lock the yesterday. When we were neck deep in debts it was a daily struggle. Answering people, arranging money and it would drain us everyday. But as a family, we had one firm belief. If we sleep well and wake up fresh, everything is going to be fine. If we hadn’t locked the day before we sleep, it would continue. There are days you don’t want to end. There are days which you should set free. But in the very morose mood of the song, it means a lot. There are lot of love failure songs for guys. Badly written, exploited etc etc. But what about women? And that too lyrics by a male, I was blown away.
After ‘Sara Sara Sarakathu’ Chinmayi didn’t get good songs in Tamil film industry. But she hit a jackpot with this album. Vasantha Kalangal is another solo song for her which talks about the feeling of the woman in relationship. It is like when you have a fight with your loved one. Anything and everything you say through text message is in a danger of being misinterpreted. At some point of time during the conversation, the better thing to do is to be quite even when you have million things to say and a zillion ways to say it. “Vaarthaigal; Kozhaiyai; yaazhirundhum raagamindri eangi pogudhe” perfectly captures it. Also “Paarvayin paaramayil vaazhumo en nenjam” line tells the difference between seeing and observing precisely. What we read in text messages is one thing but I feel what we miss says bigger stories. If only…
Remember how the first song said during one point of courtship everything looks like love. I don’t know thaabangal can be translated to a perfect English word. May be we can go with longing which I think is the closest to the word. Beautiful lyrics and minimal instrumentation accentuates Pradeep Kumar and Chinmayi’s wonderful rendition of this song. The night is running out for both. They have the same dream and same question in their mind. How can be two people so much in sync? And why do they not tell each other? “Kaalam iravin puravi aagadho. Athe Kanaa; athe vinaa.”
At one point of time Pradeep and Chinmayi join “Theera Ula naana; Podhada” is the question they both ask together. Shouldn’t we be enjoying the longing? If you get what you longed for even for a millisecond, isn’t the magic lost? Isn’t longing enough?
“All animals are equal. Some animals are more equal than the others” wrote George Orwell. For me, All the songs in the album are gems. But Iravingu Theevai is somewhat more special than other songs. Imagine this. You have messed up big time in your relationship of twenty days. You feel disgusted to even think how you would react if you were in the other person’s shoes. You almost think it is over. But like the nucleus in your cell there is a tiny tiny longing for her forgiveness. Suddenly all the good times you had during meeting, that 0.25 inch smile and cute text messages flash before your eyes and then they come to you as the water released from a dam. You choke trying to control the tears that originate somewhere in your chest. And as you wander aimlessly not knowing how to start the conversation, you watch the traffic and slowly the street lights come alive and like someone flicked a switch, it is dark. And this song plays in your earphones. “Pirivae uravai karaindhu pogiren, Uyirin uyirai pirindhu pogiren. Malaigalin Mazhai pol manam vazhindhu vanthai. Varanda en nilathil pala kadalgal thanthai. Kanave thunaiyai ozhindhu pogattum”. You feel like You have more stories parting than holding hands. Even though it rips you apart from inside you have to part. She came in like the rain in the mountains enriching the life bit by bit, deeper and deeper. She brought the seas to the barren lands. You can only live with the dreams of a life together as a crutch for the rest of life. If the narration did something to you, Chinmayi and Pradeep will make you cry.
Very few lines of lyrics in this song. Chinmayi gets this song as well. There was no need of lyrics in this song. “Kaathale Kaathale Thani perum thunaiye. Kooda va kooda va podhum.. Podhum..” says the girl. She feels that love is the best companion of all time. She just wants it to accompany her in the journey of her life. The way chinmayi says enough (podhum) in this song really feels like it is enough and nothing more is needed. Like if you cook for the first time and serve it to your mom, you can see her bloom from inside of pride but still say enough, that is not the enough for the food I guess. It is something she is enjoying of small milestones in your life. The song gives you that feel.
Overall it is a wonderful album. And something in me tells that I will be revisiting it again and again for few years in my life. Go, give it your time and get lost in it.