Maa – A Musical Ode to the Mother

More often than not, Indian movies tend to have some amount of family sentiment. Mother sentiment is a popular choice amongst the filmmakers and onscreen heroes, and has rarely gone wrong. There have been numerous songs that have been composed based on this, and A.R.Rahman has had many successful compositions in this theme, and I’ve put in here a few of the songs that have touched me, with some thoughts about each of them.

Uyirum Neeye (Pavithra): This classical gem features Unnikrishnan rendering some beautiful lines like ‘Saami Thavithaan, Thaayai Padaithaan’ (the Almighty struggled/suffered, he created the Mother). The veenai and the mridangam play a prominent role in this song, whose beginning can be mistaken easily as the beginning of Thamizha Thamizha (Roja).

Azhagu Nilave (Pavithra): Almost a lullaby, beautifully crooned by the ‘chinna-kuyil’ Chitra, this number features minimal musical arrangements, and instantly transports me back to my childhood. Appearing in a critical scene in the movie, this song instantly enhanced my respect for the director, lyric writer, and Rahman. ‘Ulagam dhaan marume, uravugal vazhume, kadalai vidavum aazham enthan kaneer thuLi ondre’ (The world will change, the relationships will live, my teardrops are much deeper than the ocean).

Oru Deivam (Kannathil Muthamittal): Being Vairamuthu’s best song in the movie (maybe jointly shared with Vellai Pookkal), this had a definite futuristic feel in terms of the musical arrangements, while retaining the flavor of the bonding between an adopted child and her mother (and father). Quoted by Jayachandran as one of the most difficult songs in his career spanning over 3 decades, this song was also the movie debut of Chinmayi who apparently sang this as a 15 year old. And the care taken by Rahman to make sure the lyrics are not masked by the instruments, is absolutely commendable. ‘Izhaitha kavidhai nee, Ezhuthu pizhaiyum nee’, ‘enadhu vaanam nee, izhandha siragum nee’  (I really cannot translate this effectively, perhaps someone can comment with a translation for this one).

Kannathil1

 

Kaalaiyil Dhinamum (New): Mother sentiment was perhaps one of the few good things about this otherwise utterly distasteful movie, which had this song featuring an over-acting Devayani, over-enthusiastic S.J.Suryah and a immensely likeable Simran. Insert expletives for Unnikrishnan’s nasal singing, and Sadhana Sargam’s mispronunciation in a few cases; this song was an instant favorite for me. The lullabyish segment rendered by Sadhana was the winning factor in this song, along with some decent lyrics which apparently brought Rahman to tears while he was composing it. ‘Imai pol iravum pagalum ennai kaartha annaiye, unadhanbu paartha pinbu adhai vida andha vaanam bhoomi aagum siriyadhu’ (You protected me like an eyelid all day and night, seeing your affection even the sky and earth are belittled)

 

Lukka Chuppi (Rang De Basanti): Probably the best song in this theme ever, this song chokes me every time I listen to it, or watch the video in the movie. What perfect placement in the proceeding of the movie, amazing choice of singers (Lataji and Rahman himself), minimal musical arrangements yet again, simple yet effective lyrics and an extremely realistic picturization! The alaaps/swaras at the end of the song have to be one of the testimonies to Rahman’s brilliance. Rahman singing ‘Kaise Dikhau maa kahaan hoo mein’ is probably the best point of this song. I was fortunate to see Rahman perform it Live in the Jai Ho concert I attended in September 2010 (well almost, with a video of Lataji projected on screen).

Perhaps, KangaLil Enna Eeramo (Uzhavan) is another song in this theme, but I am not too sure of the situation in the movie, though the lyrics seem like it. Yet another simple soothing melody with Chitra. And not to forget Maa Tujhe Saalam/Thai Manne Vanakkam, from Vande Mataram which gave a new dimension to patriotism.

Please do let know, if we’ve missed out on mentioning any other song(s) in this theme.

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