Monthly Archives: November 2011

Kalki In His Element

It has been close to 4 months since I arrived in the US of A. Ponniyin Selvan has been my companion for 3 and half months. As they say, all good things must come to an end and so did Ponniyin Selvan. My PhD will take me a few more years and I can conclude that it is not as good a thing as this epic novel. But that’s for another day.

Where to begin? Where to end? Plot, Romance and Nature. That Kalki is a genius in conveying all of this would be an understatement. The intrigue, suspense and drama would rival any modern crime thriller. The Romance is also epic. But what takes it into the heart and makes the reading so memorable that you want more is the poetic description of nature. Kalki’s genius is out in the open, where he says Cauvery is the woman of Tamil Nadu who goes to meet her husband, the big sea, and is sent by the other women of Tamil Nadu with Sarees as porandha veettu seedhanam on Aadi Perukku and as she nears her husband, her eagerness to reach him makes her spread her arms which grow multifold to hug her beloved (distributaries of the river as it reaches the estuary). Ponni, as Cauvery is called, with the Sun’s rays on her, gives the impression of a blue Saree with golden streaks over it with the green trees on either banks forming the borders. A man with a top angle view of nature alone can bring forth such creativity into his words.

Kalki’s biggest victory is however, in entrenching the lead characters in your heart. Again, he uses Nature throughout the novel to help himself. He uses storms as metaphors to convey to the reader, the storm in the plot and in the lead characters’ hearts. Be it the storm leading to the climax which forms the foil to the storm brewing in the plot or the storm in the sea, he is phenomenal. One such vignette from the novel, where one of the two Heroes, Vallavarayan Vandiyathevan, is caught in a storm in the middle of the sea:

“கடல் அலைகள் ஆவேச தாண்டவமாடின. மின்னல் வெளிச்சத்தில் கண்ணுக்கெட்டிய தூரம் ஆடும் மலைச் சிகரங்கள் காட்சி அளித்தன. காற்றின் கும்மாளம் உச்சத்தை அடைந்தது. ஆடும் மலைச் சிகரங்களை அப்படியே பெயர்த்து எடுத்து வாயு பகவான் வான வெளியில் விசிறி எறிந்து விளையாடினார். வந்தியத்தேவனுடைய கப்பல்மீதும் அந்த நீர்மலைகளில் சில வந்து மோதின. வானத்தைக் கீறிக் கொண்டு ஒரு மின்னல் மின்னியது. அதன் பிரகாசம் அவன் கண்ணெதிரே நூறு சூரியனைக் கொண்டுவந்து நிறுத்தியது போலிருந்தது. தன் கண்களையே அம்மின்னல் பறித்துவிட்டதோ என்று வந்தியத்தேவன் அஞ்சினான். எரிச்சல் எடுத்த கணத்திலேயே அவன் செவிகளுக்கும் ஆபத்து வந்துவிட்டது. எத்தனையோ இடி முழக்கங்களை வந்தியத்தேவன் முன்னம் கேட்டிருக்கிறான்; இன்றைக்கும் எத்தனையோ கேட்டான். ஆனால் இப்போது இடித்த இடியைப் போல் – சே! அது இடியா? இந்திரனுடைய வஜ்ராயுதம் அவனுடைய காதின் வழியாகப் பிரவேசித்து மண்டைக்குள்ளேயே நுழைந்து தாக்கியது போலிருந்தது.

சற்று நேரம் வந்தியத்தேவன் கண்களையும் திறக்க முடியவில்லை; காதிலோ ‘ஓய்’ என்ற சப்தம் கேட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தது.

மூடியிருந்த கண்கள் ஏதோ சமீபத்தில் தலைக்கு மேலே புதிய வெளிச்சம் பரவியிருப்பதை உணர்ந்தான். காதிலும் ‘ஓய்’ சத்தத்துக்கு மத்தியில் வேறொரு விநோத சப்தம் கேட்டது. காட்டில் தீப்பற்றி எரியும்போது, மரங்களில் தீப்பிடிக்கும்போது, உண்டாகும் சப்தத்தைப் போல் தொனித்தது.

வந்தியத்தேவன் கண்ணைத் திறந்து பார்த்தான். அவன் இருந்த கப்பலின் பாய்மரம் உச்சியில் தீப்பற்றி எரிவதைக் கண்டான்.

வந்தியத்தேவனுக்கு அப்போதும் சிறிதும் மனக்கிலேசம் உண்டாகவில்லை. உற்சாகந்தான் மிகுந்தது கலகலவென்று சிரித்தான்.”

And I was reminded of this:

Deep down, somewhere towards the end, you want to become like Vandiyathevan. Kalki, has won you there.

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Filed under Anecdotes, Kalki

Sundari, Raaja Has A Seidhi

I happened to randomly find out yesterday that the song Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi, has 2 ragas, Kalyani, as we all know, and Kosalam.

The pallavi begins with two love lorn lovers marrying. Kalyani seems to be an ideal Ragam for the happiness that is around and it begins with exquisite orchestration as Rajini picks up Shobana, kattifies the thaali and celebrates the Santhi Muhurtham. They then separate. Nayagan goes for war. Nayagi is alone. It is pangs of separation for both and an added burden of war for the Hero. Kosalam makes a grand entry in the interlude presenting all its seriousness with a grander orchestration. Then as the Hero finds external peace in between the war, her thoughts come back to touch him and he parries her questions. She asks him if he loves her and if her love is a mirage. He tells her to ask the moon to know about his pain. To explain this weird fusion of the joy, on being able to speak with each other, albeit through thoughts, and the pain of separation at the same time, Raaja brings in both Kalyani and Kosalam in the charanam. Hence the charanam sounds both joyful and melancholic at the same time. The beauty is Kalyani and Kosalam differ in just one swaram. Kalyani has R2 while Kosalam has R3 in their respective Rishabams. War again, Kosalam again and separation till he reaches her. In the second charanam, they talk about the joy of being together and the pain of being separated after having resolved their “oodal”. Kalyani and Kosalam together as metaphors again. He finally reaches her, it is pallavi and it is only Kalyani now for they are both in joy and the pain of separation is over.

However, what was extremely interesting was when the first charanam gets over (they are still separated mind you) and the pallavi comes with Kalyani, Rajini and Shobana come together in their dreams. This song is itself a dream. A dream within a dream (to get them together, bring the joy and justify the usage of Kalyani).
What do I say?
However, what I find funny is, when Rajini and Shobana actually separate for real and forever in the film, the BGM goes “Naan unnai neenga maatten…Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi” and it is only Kalyani here. And the Kalyani does create a lump in your throat. It did, at least for me. And ironically, it is “Naan unnai neenga maatten” he chooses to begin it with when they are actually separating, so as to suggest that the separation is only physical. Again, what to say?
Now there are 2 versions to it. First when they separate, the violins come out in all glory and when it goes Sundari, it stops for a microsecond and the flute takes over for Kannal oru seidhi and that microsecond pause brings out the pain in its entirety with the perennially present sun present here too behind the hero Surya (“Suryaputran” to be more precise) looking on while setting to bring forth the darkness. The next version is when Rajini meets Shobana outside the house in the dark and here, it is only the violin this time because there is no new pain but for the leftover memories and the Kalyani again provides the lump in the throat, and they come near each other this time, though they remain separated.
Who do I praise here? Mani? Rajini-Shobana? SPB-S Janaki? Vaali? Or Raaja? Ada pongada. This, at least for me, is proof that when a bunch of inspired geniuses come together, even a run-of-the-mill-lovers-separate sequence can be made to look poetic.
One of the many instances where life is suggesting what hidden gems are still left unearthed and proves to me #WhyRaajaIsGod

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Filed under Filim, Ilayaraja