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Lyricist Mellisai Maamannar!
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:35 am    Post subject: Lyricist Mellisai Maamannar! Reply with quote

Dear friends,
I was contemplating on this rare facet of our MM acting as a lyricist. True, he acted as a sort-of-a-catalyst more often than as a full-fledged lyricist. My intention to initiate this topic on this aspect of our MM is not to inform our MSViars, but only to dig out this less-discussed subject and bring forth the prominence of this facet.

Let me start at the very starting itself! Lo and behold! One of the earliest movies where he was working had this beginning. "Chandirani" of Bhanumati had a hindi version of "Vaan meethile" where MM wrote "Chanda tale, muskrayen javaniyaan". What a fertile imagination! It is on record that the actual lyricist was taken aback at these fine words, to the great surprise of Bhanumati. It all began there.

Countless movies; help to many lyricists on countless occasions. He gave a vivid image to the situation every time with his so-called 'dummy' words to initiate the song. Many a time, a struggling lyricist would be shown the right words by MM, and the song used to blossom. Recollecting a few instances, I readily remember "Kaanchippattuduthi kasturi pottuvaithu" in Vayasupponnu. The song writer recounted his nightmare in Vividh Bharathi long back and of the story how MM had saved him! It was broadcast long back in the late seventies!

The other type is the more-or-less dummy worded style: "Laa la laa laa.." for "Vaan nila nila", for instance.

MM used to humbly say that only a genius like Papanasam Sivan had this rare capability to compose and write! May not be so! We have to include our MM also.

I request all friends to dwell on this facet of MM to bring out more glory to him! Kindly do not mind if you all have already discussed this topic.

Many thanks and regards,
Sai Saravanan
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Sai Saravanan,

You have brought into fore, a very interesting not well-noticed facet of MSV.

I have mentioned in another post under the thread 'Endrum MSV' what MSV himself mentioned during the program (in the second episode with CVR. This will probably be retelecast this Saturday at 8 pm in Mega TV.)MSV suggested the lines, 'Indru mudhal kudikka matten.' Kavignar was impressed and took out some cash from his pocket to reward MSV for his excellent lyric but said that he would change 'indru' to 'naalai' since no one addicted to drinking will say 'indru mudhal kudikka matten.' He also withdrew the reward saying that the change made by him was crucial and henceMSV did not qualify for the reward offered! The compere Aadhavan suggested at the end of the program that everyone should take MSV's line
'indru mudhal kudikka matten'
as a pledge.

I have heard MSV mentioning (this is in one of the songs from hammaa.com, where many songs have an introduction by MSV about its background - but I don't remember which song it was) that he changed a particular word written by Kavignar, to fit in with the tune. Kavignar did not accept the change saying that the word given by MSV was a Sanskrit word. It was the time when Kavignar was a budding lyricist. At that time, Udumalai Narayana Kavi was present and he endorsed MSV's suggestion. Since Udumalai Narayana Kavi was a senior poet, Kavignar had to accept his verdict!

In our own site,we have a video recording in which Vaali says that he wrote, 'Ennai eduthu thannai koduthu ponandi.' But MSV has changed to 'Ponavan Ponandi'. Correspondingly other lines were also altered, enhancing the lyrical beauty of the song.

MSV's dedication to the wholeness of a song gives him the power to suggest lines of a lyric also, though he is not a poet.
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr.Rengaswami,
A breezy start to this topic with this account on "naalai mudal kudikka matten" episode. Lovely! I was unable to immediately list such memorable songs triggered or modified or edited by MM. He has always said that the tune is hidden in the song itself. For such a genius, words would flow unhindered naturally once the rhythm gets into his mind. I feel that he did not think of grabbing any opportunity to write. It came naturally as a flow. Even in these restricted situations of inserting a line or beginning a song, the lyrical quality speaks volumes of his knowledge, and quality of Tamil, as a language.
If we collect many or all of these gems, the garland would be grand, colourful, and unbelievable!
G. Sai Saravanan
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:46 am    Post subject: Tamil film history Reply with quote

Dear Friends,
There is an interesting point about MM's clarity in Tamil. Again in the Mega TV episodes with CVR, CVR precisely raised a question on tune for lyric. He sought an explanation from MM as to how he set the tune for 'thamizhukkum amudhendru paEr'; it opened up MSV to play around in different ways singing the word 'thamizhukku' in varied modulations, each bringing forth an emotional impact slightly different from the other styles of singing. To quote CVR 'setting tunes for precast lyric is not an ordinary act'.
We can ourselves admire the way MSV has musically handled Subramania Bharathi's 'Sindhu nadhiyin misai nilavinilE' where each word has received the right notational value besides voice embellishments, sky-rocketting the mood to the lyric. It is this prowess of MSV that pumps in volumes of emotion, squeezing the best out of singers[remember unnidaththil ennai koduthaen or DevanE ennai parungal just as examples for the two genders]. How often MM has packed life into a song by precise expression of words-- a domain conspicuous by absence in the so called modern era. On occasions, he has refused to compose music for certain languages politely telling the movie makers that 'I do not know the language'. It is a case of the value he accords to words. It is worth opening a thread on this domain to see why MSV stays unparalleled.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Warm regards Prof.K.Raman Madurai.
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends and Professor,
Thanks! Yes, composing music for written poetry is one of the most difficult things for a music director. When it has to be melodious, appropriate for the setting in the film, 'meaningful', and suitably justified for the words embodied in the poem, it is hard on them. But, (only)in the case of our MM, not only the above was successfully rendered, those songs have actually become 'SUPER HIT', evergreen and, shall we say, immortal? [Unfortunately, this brings us to an important but bitter question: why is he not regarded by many as a 'Tamil' music director? Of course, we know the answer, but, the question does arise in our minds too very often. It becomes unbearable as he is very well-versed in Tamil.] His in-depth knowledge in Tamil is legendary. Which is why I had this desire to capture the history in this thread by asking ourselves of the list of innumerable starting lines that our MM has written/suggested to the lyricists. And, I thought we should also list out the modifications that he carried out or the lines that he added in between to decorate the songs. This aspect that we know, and have taken for granted, needs recognition-amidst ourselves-as another colour or facet of this multidimensional personality. I request Professor and other elders to bring this out of their memory. Though this idea may look insignificant, it allows us to understand this great personality and his love for rhythm and lyrics.

Thanks,
Sai Saravanan
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:25 am    Post subject: Tamil film history Reply with quote

Dear Dr Saravanan,
You have a series of questions / suggestions to draw attention on MSV's clarity in Tanil.In fact, I read lamentation when you have asked "why he is not regarded a 'Tamil MD" and that we know the reason. With due respects to all, my observation is many Tamils suffer from an obsession of mother tongue.There is nothing wrong until they manage to faithfully stand by the phonetical values of words that are typical to the language. Many get away with saying 'thamil' or thamiL' and very few say 'thamizh'. Same is the fate of the special phonetic 'zh' hailed as 'zhagaram'. There are similar others to recall as for instance 'kanesan' in place of 'Ganesan'. Ironically such defective speakers manage to be news readers on TV channels. We have a reputatation for fanatics without phonetics.
Years back in DD channel MSV had Gangai Anaran on his show of film music. Gangai Amaran was recalling some anecdotes of the 'composing' of 'annakkiLi unnaiththaedudhay'. As he [GA] repeated a phrase "annakkiLi unnai", MSV quickly intervened to ask as under
"oh, you have made it 'KeeLi' instead of 'KiLi'. A bewildered GA extricated himself saying 'the stretch is because of the tune'. Now consider this.
On streching a word MSV is a master craftsman and doesn't need any one to tell him on stretch. But his stretch would not stress [tax] the word and make it incomprehensible. Instead, a new beauty descends on the word making it more impactful. Look at how he opens the syllable 'MAA' in mAlai soodum maNa nAl' giving a slight pull making it a delectable experience to listen. 'KAtru vandhal thalai saayum nAAANal' , where 'nANal' is stretched longer than 'kAtru' and is matched by a near balancing in the next line with 'nAAANam'. His selection of spots to stretch stand testimony to his silent scholarship in Tamizh. We can recall how the now famous SPB had to wait for MSV's approval of the Tamizh pronunciation of his. SPB generally recalls this. Does it not reflect his highest priority for diction; diction may get distorted by pronunciation, and so he has a natural demand for the right pronunciation. Another singer's rendering 'TherukkOilay Odi vA' is a too well known instance of MSV's anguish, to go into details.
Above all, during any conversation look at how MSV chooses to prounce words 'song, chords, orchestra, voice' . There is a lesson for us to learn of the pronuciation of these words. For a man not blessed with formal education, these spots of pronunciation reveal perfection in efforts. MSV is genuinely a Thamizhan by soul and spirit. Ironically, many keralites believe he is a tamilian and MSV jocularly remarks in malayaLam that 'enikki malayALam marannu pOyi'. How true it is ! Anyone with a common sense should have no hesitation to accept MSV as a Thamizhan, lest should concede that we have had no quality MD in Tmil of the likes of MSV. Others may add your observations.
Warm regards Prof.K.Raman
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With due respect to the views of Mr. Sai Saravanan and Prof Raman, I don't think that MSV has been/is being looked upon as a Malayaalee. In fact, for a long time, many people were not even aware that he was a Malayaalee (the list would include me!). I read in one website, where there was a discussion on contribution by brahmins, one person has counted Viswanathan and Ramamurthy as (Tamil) brahmins! I think it was only after the release of Bhagyaraj's ‘andha ezhu naatkal’ and Bhagyaraj’s revealing that he got inspiration for the characters of the Malayalee MD and his Tamil assistant after observing MSV, during composition that MSV’s Malayaalee origin got wide publicity.(Incidentally, to the professor's possible dismay, Bhagyaraj spells his name as Pakkiaraj! This is another controversial issue. Only those who are conversant with Sanskrit or other Indian languages can make fine distinction between ka and ga etc. Even among them, Padmambhan is sometimes shortened, not as Padhdhu, but as Badhdhu. In Telugu, the name Parthasarathy is often spelled Pardhasarathy - at least I know quite a few people who spell that way. - I personally feel that the absence of different phonetic alphabets for ka, ga etc. in Tamil implies that the mode of pronunciation is determined by the ease of pronunciation. That may be the reason why in Tamil the pronunciation nk, nch which are difficult on the tongue are very rare and are usually pronounced ng and nj, which are easier on the tongue. Tamilians say ‘panja paandavr’ while ‘other Indians say ‘Pancha paandavaa’. Even Pandits well-versed in Sanskrit say ’boojai’ rather than ‘poojai.’ ‘Sankaran’ is usually pronounced ‘Sangaran.’ Sorry, for the digression. I just wanted to point out that the phonetic structure of Tamil language does not mandate strict pronunciation rules, not even guidelines. That is the uniqueness of Tamil.)

MSV is well-versed in the nuances of Tamil language and is better than even well-educated Tamilians in the deft use of the language. I have often wondered how he has achieved this much proficiency in Tamil with no formal learning of the language. In one of the episodes of Endrum MSV, when the compere Aadhavan was praising the music of Ennuyir thozhi by saying that in spite of being a Malayalee, MSV had brought out the meanings of the lyrics, which was in tune with classical Tamil traditions, MSV was seen nodding his head in disagreement. He did not approve of his being described a Malayaalee, though he himself described himself a Malayaalee, in the first episode, while Taliking about his origin!. He has integrated himself with Tamil film music.

I am sure that he should have suggested lines/modifications for a number of songs, out of which only a few have been cited. The way he slightly modifies the lyrics, like the way he substitutes 'engal purushoththaman pugazh paadungale' with 'engal kannadaasan pugazh paadungale' whenever he sings 'Pullaanguzhal koduththa moongilgale' etc, shows his aptitude for penning or modifying lines in Tamil. In yesterday's 'Endrum MSV' episode, when he started the song, 'vetri meedhu vetri vandhu,' he modified the second line as, 'adhai vaangi thandha perumai ellam, rasigargale, ungalai cherum.' It may not be a great innovation lyrically, but the fact that he makes use of the opportunities ( I would say, he even scouts for such opportunities!) shows his penchant for Tamil and for experimenting with words.
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Professor and Mr.Rengaswami,
Thanks first for sharing my lament on many not recognizing MM's Tamil, him being a 'Tamil'. This, of course, is an everyday lament from people like all of us whenever we feel the lack of admiration for him-on any aspect, or the injustice meted out to him. We have to live with this.

I actually deviated from the main idea of discussing his contribution as a kind of a lyricist of sorts. Thanks to Mr.Rengaswami for bringing it back on track with his description of MM's rephrasing of "Pullanguzhal kodutha...", and "Vetri meedu". But then, I am curious to know of his creations, such as this, and many other types that experienced MSVians like you may know. In reality, he did start many songs with his words. Please let us know.
Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends,

There is no doubt that MM is very good in Tamil. It is ,I think ,an understatement. I feel he is excellent in all the forms of Tamil; more than just Iyal, Isai and Nadagam. Probably we could include the street Tamil. He has composed songs that require any one of them , each becoming a hit and material worth studying.Eg. Jumbulingamae dada dada.
He also is so young at heart ,perhaps like a child ,and has therefore produced songs which a child can sing.
Being in touch with human emotions, ranging from anger to love ,including utmost respect for the divine, all the emotions to be brought out in the songs, be it by Kannadasan or Vali or any other greats, have been exquisitely expressed in his tunes.

I don't see such MD in the making. only God can help us.

Chakravarthy.

PS. I would like know which was composed first regarding Chandirani / Van Meedhilae [Tamil or Hindi]. Is the tune an original of MM/TKR? Kindly excuse me if the information is already available in the write up.
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr.Chakravarthy,
The song Vaan meethile seems to have been composed first in Tamil and MM was not mentioned as the MD, I suppose. It was a Bhanumathi's film and while the composing of the Hindi version was in progress, MM helped the hindi lyricist to come out of his 'starting trouble' by suggesting the first stanza itself! This is as per MM's narration.

It is this aspect of our MM that has helped many a lyricist to start the song, and God knows how many were such instances! That was the reason that I thought it would be nice to begin this thread to pull out such songs initiated by him, as a LYRICIST himself.

Thanks and regards,
Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr Sai Saravanan,
Thanks for the clarification. Even when MSV talks there are are a lot of modulations and this is very useful for composing meaningful songs. It is God's gift and cannot be taught.Hope to hear more of his lyrical talents.
Chakravarthy.
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mr.Shankar for your comments on this delicate topic. My comments earlier too were on these lines, and I called them as my lamentation. Some people in Tamil film industry might feel that he is an outsider. But, he IS NOT! Anyway for all of us MSVians, he is verily ours!
Sai Saravanan
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many top artistes and technicians of Tamil films had come from other states.This has been happening almost since the dawn of the Tamil film era, when Telugu people had a dominating presence. But to my knowledge, people (I mean the people of Tamilnadu in general and filmgoers in particular) have not considered artistes from other states outsiders. (I am not aware of the politics within the film industry, though!) Some criticism in the press started appearing only in the last two decades or so about import of heroines from the north. There used to be some comments about lack of knowledge of Tamil being the essential qualification to be cast a heroine in a Tamil film! This criticism was only from a section of the media. Even this has petered out now. The origin of an artiste is sometimes evoked only for a political purpose. Rajinikanth is expected to be more vociferous against Karnataka than other artistes, whenever the Kaveri or Hiogenekkal issue flares up, to reiterate his identification with TN. A couple of years back, Actor Sarath Kumar made this comment in a TV channel. He said that great actors like Sivaji and Kamal were not accepted as superstars like MGR and Rajinikanth were because Sivaji and Kamal were Tamilians. He asserted that Tamils will accept only non-Tamils as superstars! Apart from these occasional jibes from some quarters, I believe that the label 'outsider' was not applied to any popular artiste.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice observation, dear Parthavi. Good examples quoted from Tamil Film industry.
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Ram
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me ask something here. When someone is good at Music, we call that person as "Musician". When he is good in writing songs, he is called a "Lyricist".

But what is the name given to a Musician who appreciates a lyrical piece in the greatest way & adapts it in his music with aesthetic perfection?? Do we know?? If we have had one, Mellisai Mannar would have been the best personification for that word!

These are subtle elements one need to appreciate in a musician, but often not noticed by the majority of the population, which is very true in Mellisai Mannar's case (as ever!).

I would like to quote Sri.G.S.Mani in a function with MSV. He said "மெல்லிசை மன்னர்" பட்டம் இவருக்கு போதாதது. அது ஏதோ "He just provided light music" ங்கர மாதிரி நின்னுடறது. இவருக்கு இன்னொரு பட்டம் கொடுக்கணும். "ரஞ்சக ராஜா!";

What a true statement! Yes, MSV was a lyricist, but in a different way. Apart from suggesting words for the song writer, what makes him a lyricist in a subtle way, is not the fact how many songs/words he actually penned - but his quality to appreciate & adapt lyrics in a great way, in his Music!
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