Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Superb Songs

Dr. Lakshminarayanan said this on Reethigowlai

" Reethgowlai could be compared to a steroid shot to Ben Johnson!... Its raga lakshanam is so unique that it gets imprinted in our mind easily. Beginners in carnatic music identify Reethigowlai rather facilely and this gives great encouragement to venture into learning other ragas. The jubilance of identifying a raga by ourselves initially is unparalled and even a triple 800 score in GRE Pre-Test wouldn't make you that happy! Oh man, what a joy! ..... Reethigowlai is the janyam of Karaharapriya (22nd melam). It is a vakra ragam and hence with a convoluted arohanam and avarohanam. Sa Ga2 Ri2 Ga2 Ma1 Ni2 Da2 Ma1 Ni2 Ni2 Sa; Sa Ni2 Da2 Ma1 Ga2 Ma1 Pa Ma1 Ga2 Ri2 Sa"

Here is how various people have interpreted this raaga.

Subramanyapuram: A Surprise

As a side note. It is amazing how the Balu mahendra style of picturization still works. The heroine isn't beautiful at all. She is like a Suvalakshmi/Deivayani category heroine, who are surprisingly favored by loser thamizh men searching for homely women. But you have to give her one thing. She's got a million expressions. Over half of them generated by her eye. And most of it has been beautifully captured.

Ilayaraja: Swathi Muthyam & M. Balamurali Krishna

Dr. lakshminarayanan had this to say about this superb song.

"It is a very easily identifiable, very classical janya ragam that was relished by composers like Thyagaraja. But, none in the cinema arena seems to have used it in the pre-Ilaiyaraaja period. In mid seventies, here comes the uneducated music director from Madhurai jilla....! He tunes a couple of "tappanguthu" that marks his initial success! Within 2 to 3 years after his debut, he calls one of the most memorable geniuses of Carnatic music, Shri Balamurali Krishna to sing one cinema song for him. "Alright thambi" says Balamurali, and goes to the recording theatre.....

Was Balamurali surprised initially when Ilaiyaraaja played the tune for him in his harmonium? If I were him, I would have been! First of all, out of the blue, why Reethigowlai? Why not the hackneyed Hindholam or Mohanam? This absolutely classical raga selection shows his desire to venture into pure, traditional ragas! It is like A.R.Rahman springing a surprise by tuning purely classical Yadhukula Kamboji interludes in kuluvaliyae (muthu)!"

Ilayaraja creates Magic

A Real Genius Interprets it: MLV

A.R.Rahman: Yes. It is a Beautiful Beast.

Features two of my favorite singers. SPB on top of Reethigowlai is like Popeye falling into a vat of spinach.


Son jumps 16 feet.


Anonymous said...

Yellai Bharath,

Kangal Irandal song closely resembles "Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran" sung by Balamurali..

Don't know if James Vasanthan intended to copy one of IR's best compositions... but if u listen to them closely you can mix those 2 song's saranam and pallavi to create some real magic.... looking for the video of that Song..

Sivakumar and Sridevi in the movie Kavikuyil..


Hawkeye said...


does kangal irandal resemble any of the songs i listed here?

'chinna kannan azhaikiran' is not available in you tube. i searched for a long time as i wanted to post it in this list.

gradwolf said...

brilliant only pa! I am not that knowledgable but this is a great collection and analysis. And I understand that jubiliation one gets in identifying a raaga! Yenna, ennala mudiyadhu. :| This is good to read because, few weeks back, after I learned kangal is reethi gowlai, I read a blog that said it is a copy of azhagana rakshasiye. I went WTF, therinjudu dhan pesarangala??!

Anonymous said...


please note gradwolf's comment. especially the last 2 sentences. I don't know how you can say what you said in _this_ blog post of all blog posts. Hakkie is very kind to you, are you his friend or something.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Thalai Kuniyum Thamaraiye... But Chinna Kannan is the closest that i thought off.

Anyways nice research...

- Ganesh

Anonymous said...


Perceptions differ. Chinna Kannan and Kangal Irandal are pretty close. Get that...

Yes hakkie and me are buddies.

- Ganesh

Anonymous said...


Bottom Line
It's the Raagam Stupid...


- Ganesh

deinonychus said...

I believe another lovely song called Sudum Nilavu from thambi is also Reethigowlai.. by vidyasagar

Sangeetha Piriyan said...

This post is an interesting post on reethi gowla. I guess you have interest in carnatic music.I hope you would have heard "Theendai Mei Theendai" from En Swasa Kaatre. Can you tell me what raaga is it based upon?

Hawkeye said...


i am as far away from being music exert as we all are from alpha centauri.

i asked my grandma about "theendai". she doesn't like cine music. she heard it and said it is similar to "entharo mahaanubaavulu" - so 'Sri' raagam.

Sangeetha Piriyan said...

I guessed that you would actually say it as Sree-ragam. Infact most of them would say as Sriragam. Its not so :)) Theendai mei theendai is actually based out of Manirangu ragam which is a very rare ragam that is used in cine music industry.

Only IR has used it once before ARR. If you can remember the song Suga Raahame from Kanni Rasi movie you can interpret how theendai and this song have lots of similarities. Both are based out of Manirangu ragam.

But the most mesmerising raga is Manoranjani. It is such a beautiful Janya Raaga that has 3 different forms of which two are derived from 5th Melakartha raaga Manavathi and the rest from the 22nd Melakartha raaga Karaharapriya. This is the one of the most appealing ragas to mind. That is why it is called as Manoranjani meaning pleasing to mind.

On a side note, our ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam's fav ragam is Sree Ranjani.

Sriram said...

She is like a Suvalakshmi/Deivayani category heroine, who are surprisingly favored by loser thamizh men searching for homely womenThere has never been a truer statement.

சதீஷ் said...

இதே விஷயத்தைப் பற்றி, சில வாரங்களுக்கு முன் நான் எழுதிய ஒரு பதிவு.

நீங்கள் இன்னும் சிறப்பாய், visual ஆக சொல்லி இருக்கிறீர்கள்.
Keep it up !

complicateur said...

I'd mentioned on a comment in another blog on the similarity between Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan and Kangal Irandaal especially the similar swarams in the pallavi (SGRGM).

There is a nice composition in a mallu movie called Sindoorarekha (music director Sharath who can now be seen officiating Ragamalika and an avid IR fan). If you listen carefully the swaras of "chinnakannan" are embedded in the swaras sung at the end of the charanam (SGRGMNNS) - In fact that was how I discovered the swarasthanam of that IR's first Reeti Gowla composition.

And since you posted MLV's Reeti Gowla, here is a link with GNB's Badali Kadeera - Pretty poor recording but GNB is well.. GNB so its worth a listen.

MLC said...

fell in luv w/ the 'kangal irandaal..' song, thnx fr tt! and though its similar to 'chinna kannan..', i prfr the formr, i guess coz of its lesser carnatic angle. unga alavukku carnatic music le eedupaadu illai but i do enjoy a gd tune.

Nivi said...

I completely agree with you on MLV. she is the best singer I have ever heard. The sheer richness of her voice and the scales(Kattai) her voice reaches are unbelievable.

If you have not heard the song "Adadha Manamum Undo " from Mandadhi Mannan is simply brilliant

maxdavinci said...

bharat saar...

neat research, I am musically challenged but yea after hearing all the songs I could relate to the underlying similarity in them.

next time we watch swathimuthyam or mudhalvan I'll spring the name of the raaga and surprise all!

the homely girl reference was superb!

Anonymous said...

paapaanunga ellam sendhuttanunga da dei!

hawkeye said...

nee comment vittitiya. pochu ippo naan kulichittu varanum.

doofus said...

admit it.. you just wanted to post that dhanush quasi pondy song.. all the talk abt Reethigowlai is chumma cover up..bwahhhhh

Anonymous said...

appudiyachum kulicha sari.

Sarang said...

Dear Hawkeye,
I do not think Rama Kanavemi ra is sung my Mr. Balamurali. It is SPB.
I am surprised that you missed his voice completely here...

Shall appreciate your comments...


Hawkeye said...

sarang you are right. i did miss it while posting it but realized it later. I remembered it as MBK singing. The author i linked also rememers it that way. I was unable to find another version of this song (or Raman kathai kelu thamizh version) online.

So I'm not sure if all of this is my imagination or if MBK did really sing for IR or was it for a differet song. sometimes i hate my memory.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I listened to the thamizh version and even that has been sung by SPB.


K.P. said...


Thanks for the very interesting background behind the song. Great blog!!

Since you certainly know a lot more about the raagas, can you let me know if some of the songs in another Illayaraja vintage movie - Kadhal Oviyam (Radha and some unknown actor) - were based on specific raagas please?

SPB just carries you away with two #s - Poovil vandu and Amma azhaga. The more popular song in that movie is 'Sangeetha jathi mullai' but I preferred the first two.

Thanks and please keep writing!

Musings of an amateur writer said...

U have missed yet another gem of a song!!!
SUDUM NILAVU SUDATHA SOORIYAN from the movie "Thambi", music by melody master Vidyasagar.