- Saravanan writes:
Part VIII - iru kOdugaL
The third film that came with VK’s music in 1969 was singapore seemaan (Swarnalakshmi Pictures). Ravichandran, Jothilakshmi and Manorama were in the cast. The film was scripted by Maa.Ra. and directed by N.Pandurangan.
The songs were thottu paar kai thottu paar (Jamunarani & Swarna), en pEru joker (TMS), singapooru maina (Jamunarani & Ponnuswami) and moLLamaari kEpmaari (Manorama).
The film and its songs sank without a trace, though Manorama’s spirited ‘moLLamaari kEpmaari soaari, endha maari nee endha maari’ does remain in memory, especially her sudden take as one possessed in the lines ‘vEppalaiyai kaiyilEndhiyE veetukku thaanE thEdi vandhaaL’.
The fourth film of VK in 1969 was perhaps the most successful one - KB’s iru kOdugaL (Kalakendra). KB had 2 releases in 1969- poovaa thalaiyaa had music by MSV and iru kOdugaL had music by VK.
This, then, was the gist of the story by Joseph Anandan that KB worked on, to come up with a riveting screenplay, bolstered by memorable dialogues. N.R.Kittu’s editing and N.Balakrishnan’s camera work enhanced the film’s appeal. Sowcar Janaki was outstanding in the role of the wronged Janaki, and Jayanthi was equally impressive as the innocent Jaya. Gemini Ganesh played the man inadvertently caught in between them. Nagesh, S.V.Sahasranamam, V.S.Raghavan, Gemini Mahalingam, Sachu, C.K.Saraswathi, S.N.Lakshmi, Master Adhinarayanan and Master Prabhakar were the others in the cast.
The film’s appeal was such that it found adaptation in other languages too. Gemini S.S.Balan, who earlier had KB remake Bama Vijayam in Telugu, and directed it himself in Hindi as Teen Bahuraniyaan, now remade iru KodugaL in Telugu as Collector Janaki (1972) with Jamuna, Jayanthi & Jaggiah playing the lead roles. VK composed the songs for the Telugu version as well, but the songs were wholly different from the Tamil songs. The same year, S.S.Balan came out with a Hindi adaptation of the same tale, and Sanjog had an upcoming Amitabh Bachchan playing the hero! Mala Sinha and Aruna Irani played the female protagonists.
Years later (in 1984 to be precise), KB himself retold the story for the Kannada marquee. Eradu Rekhegalu had Saritha, Geetha and Srinath in the cast, and KB had MSV compose the songs. Incidentally, this was the last KB film that came MSV’s way.
Coming back to iru kOdugaL, the dynamic VK/Vaali duo came up with three unforgettable songs.
The first song is paapaa paattu paadiya bharathi naan thaanE, sung by TMS, A.L.Raghavan, Jamunarani, Swarna & chorus. Vaali attempts a sardonic take on how Bharathi’s profound verses have been twisted to totally undesirable contemporary contexts, and VK weaves the scenarios together to create a varied, vibrant tapestry. The song begins with the visionary poet singing paeans to his beloved land and deciding to pay it a visit, eager to listen to people singing the songs that he had left behind for them to cherish…
paappaa paattu paadiya bharathi naan thaanE…
naan paadiya paattai meeNdum kEtkka vandhEnE..
uyir koNdu vandhEnE!
Alas! The poet is in for a rude disillusionment…he sees ill-clad young women declaring themselves to be the ‘pudhumai peNgaL’ that he had envisioned; escaped convicts gleefully misinterpreting his patriotic proclamation ‘viduthai…viduthalai..viduthalai’; and a rascally eve-teaser quoting the poet’s ‘thikku theriyaatha kaattil’ while pursuing a hapless girl! (Vaali had also written lines depicting some inebriated youths tipsily asserting ‘achchamillai! achchamillai’, but this line didn’t find place in the final version). The crestfallen bard returns to his heavenly abode, sadder and wiser…
paappaa paattu paadiya bharathi naan thaanE…
naan paadiya paattu padugiRa paattai kaNdEnE..
http://www.tfmpage.com/cgi-bin/stream.p ... aappaap.rm
The next song is the breezy naan oru gumaastha sung by TMS. It is an office function, where the staff and their families participate in the games. The finale is a ‘musical chairs’ competition with Nagesh supervising the proceedings, and Janaki and Jaya emerge as the final contestants…they vie for the chair, just as they are fighting for the same man…
Vaali takes a humorous dig at the changes in women down the ages, and ends it with the age-old Kannagi/Madhavi legend, juxtaposing it cleverly with the Janaki/Jaya standoff. VK ushers in the fun and frolic mood that the sequence demands, while TMS renders the lines with inimitable gusto.
http://www.tfmpage.com/cgi-bin/stream.p ... ugumaas.rm
And now we come to the highpoint of the film, the song that remains etched indelibly in memory, the classic punnagai mannan poovizhi kaNNan that stands as timeless testimony to the magic of the VK-Vaali workmanship.
I have heard that when KB, VK and Vaali were engaged in the discussions regarding the songs, it was Vaali who came up with the idea of a song summing up the crux of the tale, against the backdrop of navaraathiri kolu festivities.
In probably what can be construed as an indirect gibe at KB’s reluctance to give credit where (Vaali feels) it was due, Vaali reminisces about this song thus: punnagai mannan paadal iru kOdugaLin vetRikku balamaana asthivaaram enbadhaiyum, andha paadal popular-aaga vENdum enbadhai mattumE manadhil koLLaamal kaatchikku poruthamaana karuthaazhathOdu thuLanga vENdumenbadhai nenjil niruthi ezhudhappattadhu enbadhaiyum, saraasari rasigargaL kooda indRaLavum uNarndhu pEsakkoodiya nilaiyil irukkumbOdhu, idhaiyellaam solla vENdiyavargaL sollaamal kallaaga irundhu vitta kaaraNathaal naanE sollugiREn
True, with Vaali’s brilliant harnessing of mythological allusions that fall into place as part of the emotional repartees, and with VK coming with a tune that triumphs, the song easily finds a place of pride in the pantheon of all time classics. And the situational significance of the song is such that it found popularity in all the languages in which the film was remade down the years - ‘nee vannadhi nee vanakunnadhi (?)’ (PS & JR and VK again, Collector Janaki), ‘man mandir mein preeth ka dera naahin koi dooja (Lata & Asha/ R.D.Burman/ Sanjog) and ‘neela mega shyama, nithyanandha dhama’ (PS & VJ/ MSV/ Eradu Rekhegalu).
This song remains the last praiseworthy effort of Koka Jamunarani in her tfm innings, though even later, VK himself, along with S-G, IR and Manoj-Gyan did call her to sing a few songs over the decades. This talented singer, who had notched up significant successes in the 50s, found herself gradually unemployed in the course of 60s. It was VK who brought her back to the limelight, giving her some songs in the late 60s. When I started listening to the radio in the late 70s, for a while, I even thought naïvely that ‘punnagai mannan’ was the only song that JR had sung, for it was the only song of hers that we got to listen to ever so often!
PS singing for the suave, majestic Janaki, and JR singing for the ingenuous, suspicion-filled Jaya, bring to palpitating life the agonizing perspective of each woman. The song abounds with treasured moments…JR opening her account with an unasked question….PS responding with a pitying laughter, and hinting at a hidden answer…presently, PS, controlled and dignified till now, breaking down while singing ‘punnagai mannan, poovizhi kaNNan’…JR hurriedly, almost angrily incorporating ‘rukmaNikkaga’ into the unfinished line, as though possessively clutching on to her husband…VK’s genius in full flow….
http://www.tfmpage.com/cgi-bin/stream.p ... imannan.rm
And with this magnificent song, we come to the end of the 1969 narrative. VK looked all set to ascend to greater heights in the next decade…
- meeNdum sandhippOm-