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


Filed under Filim, Ilayaraja

14 responses to “Sundari, Raaja Has A Seidhi

  1. My gooooooooood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wat an analysis!!! genius stuff actually!! superb:) even i get goosebumps now…man!! superb simply superb:)

  2. Saranya

    Wow! Thank you for such beautiful write up!! ..

  3. Wonderful post! Never knew this song had such subtle nuances. Thanks for the analysis

  4. Charanya

    Loved the article, bro!

  5. I love nothing more than discovering yet another layer to the pure depth of Raaja’s genius, so Thank you =)

  6. Wonderful analysis. I know you will be surprised but I have not seen the movie!!!

    Raja’s music generally has lot of layers, not only musically but emotionally as well. He is one of the very few music directors who tries to capture multiple emotions within a same tune. ‘Sundari’ you mentioned is one such effort where the emotions keep shifting. In some other cases, there are two emotions running in parallel. Let me explain by an example.

    Take this wonderful song from ‘PazhassiRaja’, ‘kunnathe”. Wonderfully sung by Chitra. The scene is this: After a separation, the king is returning back to his queen. The Queen is ofcourse very keen on his coming back and the inevitable union. So there is a certain amount of passion involved here. Yet, she is Queen so she cannot outwardly display her passion. She has to be clam. So how do you tune for such a situation? Observe how Raja does it. On the surface, the song is a smooth sailing, soft one. Exactly like how the Queen needs to project herself. Underneath, the rhythm is uneven, telling us about the passion that is underneath the surface. So two emotions run together here. If one cannot understand this, one may ask why Raja has used such a strange rhythm for a soothing. But if you understand the idea, you are left stunned. And without your knowledge you start muttering: RajaIsGod 🙂

    Here is the youtube link to the song:

  7. Raaja’s masterstroke! The entire background score of Dalapathi is a masterpiece. Maniratnam too, did a fine job. Also add Santosh Sivan to the list. The way he lit the frames. For me, it is the culmination of all these talents, that makes these scenes memorable.

  8. PazhassiRaja was an extraordinary score. Every song a gem and every song experimental in nature. Definite was the best score for that year.

  9. Pingback: “Pengal Enraal” : Nee Dhane En Ponvasantham | Only Raja

  10. When we used to discuss this movie among friends – we dont know the bg on ragas but we used to appreciate the irony that Shobana says we are done but the violins sing Naanunai Neenga mataen later re surfacing when he comes to meet her this time without the flute.

    This is a superb insight. There is definitely A lot of Raaja and good dose of Mani in that making but backed superbly by Vaali’s lyrics and SPB.

  11. Appa! What observation man! I am so proud of you 🙂
    Really loved the way you brought out the nuances in the song.


  12. Anand

    Stunned to know the nuances in the song. Love the song. It brings so much joy when I hear the song. Thank you Raja. One more reason I believe Raja is the king of music.

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