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VaidyMSV & Sriram Lax

Joined: 15 Apr 2007
Posts: 852
Location: chennai

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:26 am    Post subject: MSV'S HINDUSTANI TUNES-AN INSIGHT Reply with quote

THANKS TO VENKATARAGHAVAN -this appeared in face book . some might have read it.For the benefit of those who havenot gone through the article ....

MSV's Hindustani Tunes - An Insight
That was a tranquil Monday night. After a sumptuous dinner, was tuning into my old Philips Pride radio. It was neyar viruppam program, which we call ten to eleven. Some old good melodies are broadcast every week and the song to be played was announced to be the one from the film Nenjirukkum varai, sung by TMS and Suseela, Muthukalo kangal thithipado kannam, was the song.
A very popular song heard over a hundred times, suddenly caught my attention. It reminded me the traces of the presentation of great Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali khan sahib’s raga Megh Malhar.

Megh Malhar By Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt on Mohan veena

With curiosity as never before, I carefully heard to the background scores, as the song progressed. The movements of the subsequent stanzas put me to awe.
Raga Megh with a flavor the Malhar ang gives rise to megh malhar. The Song starts with a beautiful prelude in Flute and Sitar. The opening notes give a flash of Raga Megh. From the opening “Muthukalo kangal” till “thanduvitten ennai” Raga Megh sounds and the Malhar is introduced in the phrase, alitha paadam enna un kangal paarkum paarvai enna which is sung by P.Suseela. Especially the glide during “enna” and the movement in the “paarkum paarvai” are characteristic of Malhar.
Similarly in subsequent stanza, the movement Pa Ni Da Ni Sa – A stamp of Malhar – finds place at “pinni paarpadenna”.

MSV's Marvel - muthukalO kangal

The beauty of Malhar flavour in Megh is the slide from Pa to Ri in the avarohi, passing through the Ga but without pausing there. Landing in Ga will give the effect of raga Miyan ki Malhar. This aspect is intelligently handled in the song.
Mellifluous voice of TMS and Suseela adds beauty to this romantic song.

The impact this song created in me was profound. In some cases composers compose what strikes their mind, not intentionally set to a raaga. Upon listening to the composition one will recognize the raaga which the song is based on. This is intuitive music.
While in a few cases, the composer decides in his mind that this raaga has to be used for his creation. And a song is given birth. This is intelligent music. For the latter to happen, the composer should have a very sound knowledge on the raaga, its movements or chalans, the important phrases of the raaga or pakads. This song is one such example where MSV should have decided upon the raga he intends using for his composition.

There are several songs in Tamil film music that are based on classical music. Most of them are set to some or the other raaga of the carnatic music system. But songs set to exclusive Hindustani raagas (not common ragas like Brindavani, Malkauns/Hindolam, Ahir Bhairav/Chakravaham, Hamsanandi / Puriya or Sohni etc) are very rare. It’s indeed amazing that several of MSV’s creations are set to exclusive Hindustani Raagas.

Listening to this song one can easily understand the depth of knowledge that MSV had in Hindustani music system.

The stir this song created urged me to look out for more such numbers and my next find was “mauname paarvayaai oru paatu paadavendum” sung by the melody king PBS.

This song is set to Raga Tilak Kamod. Casually hearing to this song, one may think it is based in Raga Des. But subtle difference between des and Tilak Kamod are intelligently brought out in this song.

mauname pArvayAi - kodimalar

Tilak Kamod uses the phrase, Ni Sa Ni Pa, which is heard while rendering “pala mozhigal paadam pera vara vendum”.

Probably one of the all time great film composed by MSV is “Karnan”. Listening to the background score one can easily appreciate the musical genius of MSV. This film especially features several scores and songs set to Hindustani raga. MSV took great efforts to bring the artists from North India for the film.

“En uyir thozhi kael oru seidi” is set to raaga Kedar. Raaga Kedar is very close to Raga Hamir and is a challenge even to most performing artists, for there is always a threat of one raaga getting mixed with the other. Important phrases of Kedar revolve around the lower octave as in “mannavan needi” ( Ma Pa Da Pa Ma Ri) while Hamir is sung in the upper octave as in “madhuban mein radhika naacheere” ( Pa Ma Pa Ga Ma Da Ni SA)

The next song in the same film is “iravum nilavum malarattume” set to Raga Shudh Sarang, a beautiful morning raaga. Listeners of carnatic music tend to think that the song is based on or set to Hamsanadam. Use of Dha is one of the distinguishing features between Shudh Sarang and Hamsanadam, which is adeptly used by MSV. Striking feature of the song is the use of Sarod in the song, which is almost alien to the Tamil film music, along with Shehnai.

iravum nilavum - Karnan

The song “kannukku kulamedu” from the same film is set to a typical pahadi of HCM. Listening to this song, one can easily recollect the all time great thumri “Hari Om Tatsat” of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sahib.

There are several songs that are worth mentioning and discussing. “anda sivagami maganidam seidi keladi” set to Raga Pilu. Several composers have composed in Kapi of Carnatic music, which is close to Raga Pilu. But MSV has used Pilu as it is, making his mastery explicit.

Use of Ni Ri Ga Ma Da Ni of Yaman instead of usual Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni of Kalyani is evident in “isai kettal puvi asaindaadum”.

It is noteworthy at this juncture to mention the beautiful interlude on Sitar played by Ustad Ahmad Hussain Khan sahib of the Miyan Ajpal Gharana in the song “sonnadhu needhana” from the film nenjil or aalayam.

More than all these songs, the one that put me to extreme stun was the song, “nilave ennidam nerungade”. I have been thinking that the song is set to Bageshri but not unadulterated Bageshri. The song uses both varieties of “Ga” Komal and Theevra i.e. Sadarana and Andara Gandaram. Former is used in Bageshri and in its place when latter is substituted gives rise to Raga Rageshri. I thought it was some cinematic practice of introducing some notes not belonging to the basic raaga, until I heard to a Sitar Recital of Pt Nikhil Banerjee rendering what is called as Malgunji. The raaga is a mix of Bageshri and Rageshri. Then I faintly recalled a lec-dem by Pt Ajoy Chakraborty explaining the raga Malgunji, which is Bageshri Rageshri mix and he cited several Hindi songs like “Jeeya laage Na, Nain Se Nain etc.

nilave ennidam - rAmu

In this song, nilave ennidam the poignant phase of bageshri till “nee ninakum idathil naan illai” is followed by “malare ennidam mayangade………” which uses andara gandara laden Rageshri. The entire tune, the interludes are studded with typical phrases of the raaga.

I realized that it was not mere jugglery of notes but a thorough understanding of various music systems, not very common amidst music directors, that compositions like these have arisen. MSV’s masterly knowledge in Hindustani Classical music was a new revelation. MSV - A truly unique genius, a creative composer, a learner. Intelligence that transcends Oscars…..
Musical Hues at 7:15 PM


SethuApril 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM
Wonderful article as always! I am mighty impressed by the effort and knowledge of you folks.


dillibabuApril 10, 2009 at 11:17 PM
Excellent writeup !

Though i'm not able to understand the full technical stuff of HCM , atleast i was able remember most of the songs you have quoted and that made me relate to some extent. And it was really good to remind those songs after such a long time with some basic understandings.

Tamizhil ezhuthi irunthaal poruthamaaga padu joraaga irunthirukkum.


SrivatsanApril 11, 2009 at 12:21 PM
Amazing.. I wanted to comment on the previous posts, starting from Pandit Nikhil Banerjee tribute, but have been lazy.
Keep up the great work, and continue to write on multiple facets of music. This is great training for people like me.
Dilli - English helps souls like me who have "thagaraaru" in reading a long tamil passage! Smile


dillibabuApril 11, 2009 at 10:58 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.


VenkataraghavanApril 13, 2009 at 9:02 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.


VenkataraghavanApril 13, 2009 at 9:16 AM
Dear Sir,
It is indeed an excellent write-up. Hats-Off !!!

I would like to take the liberty to defer in your view regarding the way the song was "Muthukalo Kangal" was composed. You quote that,

"This song is one such example where MSV should have decided upon the raga he intends using for his composition."

As far as I know (through many of my personal meetings with him and some of his musical recordings), MSV is a Genius who does not go by the Raga concept. Probably he might have taken your protocol for this song.

Nevertheless, I strongly feel that this song must also had been another "spontaneous overflow" for a "situation and a character" and is quite evident in general, he would hardly prefer a "pure" raaga based song for such a given situation.

There are "pure" raaga based numbers like "AADATHA MANAMUM UNDO" in Mohanam," MANAMEY MURUGANIN MAYIL VAGANAM" in Hindolam, "MADHAVI PON MAYILAAL" in Karaharapriya, "EZHU SWARANGALUKKUL" in Ragamalika , just to name a few. It is generally his style to go for pure Raga
based song for the afore mentioned song situation and may not be for a love duet and also as the movie does not have such a story line.

"Antha Sivagami Maganidam" is from the movie "Pattanathil Bootham" for which Govarthanam scored the music and not MSV.

There are many Hindustani wonders that MSV has created and I would like to quote a few here,

1. Maalai Pozhudin Mayakathiley (amazing Shehanai in the ludes).- probably based on Chandrakauns

2. Oorengum Maapillai Oorvalam ( from the movie "Shanthi" - again with amazing Shehanai accompanied with Pankawaj) - probably based on Bilaskani Thodi.

3. Thanga magal Vayitril ( Brindavana Saranga - amazing Shehanai prelude )

4. Thankachi Chinna Ponnu ( Brindhavana Saranga - beautiful Sarangi and aalaaps by Sirgazhi Govindarajan).

and there are much more. Kindly keep writing to enthrall many hardcore MSV fans like me.



Musical HuesApril 13, 2009 at 12:45 PM
Dear Mr Venkat
Thanks for your comment.
Will keep posting and keep improving..



Musical HuesApril 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM
All readers
Thanks for your comments and support.
Keep commenting



hemalathaApril 16, 2009 at 2:35 PM
excellent write up .though ihave only little knowledge about musicalragas icanot comment but i can come to know how "MSV "has used hindustani in his film music . i thankyou forthe knowledge of raga which i gained fromyour blog ,.keep writingand posting new musical news.best wishes from hema vijayakumar.


RamJuly 9, 2009 at 5:01 PM

wanted to comment earlier too. I could give a serious reading only today. Brilliant! Keep it going and increase your frequency. I read somewhere that 'Nilave ennidam' was a KVM composition for some other movie that got dropped and later the song was included in this movie.

MSV's BGM has several excellent hindustani pieces. may be you should write on those too!


Balaji SethuramanSeptember 7, 2013 at 9:38 AM
A wonderful analysis on MSV's HCM prowess ! Pls do browse the website :



Lots of posts are being made by admirers on his time immemorial compositions.

Pls do join there and contribute.



R ArunadriMay 27, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Hamsanadam of earlier times had included dha. "Pantu reethi" used to be sung with dha until some new usage decided to skip it. Some ragas have changed with time!

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