10 March 2011

“பாடாத பாட்டெல்லாம்” by Kannadasan

One song that I keep humming often is this melody written by Kannadasan; composed by Viswanathan & Ramamurthy and sung by P B Srinivas and Janaki in the 1962 movie Veera Thirumagan.

Reason: Soothing emotions expressed in awesome lyrics. Kannadasan’s imagination, choice of words and ability to express emotions are awesome.

The plot is simple: He tells us of the progress of his love for her through various phases: Attraction, Expectation, Hesitation, Consummation and yearning for the union of souls not just body.

Here goes my understanding of what I consider to be one of the best songs ever written in Tamil:

பாடாத பாட்டெல்லாம் பாட வந்தாள்
காணாத கண்களைக் காண வந்தாள்

She came to sing tunes that she never sang before; implying that this is a first for her. She came to see eyes that have never seen before; implying she expects this to be my puppy love too.

பேசாத மொழியெல்லாம் பேச வந்தாள்
பெண் பாவை நெஞ்சிலே ஆடி நின்றாள்

Yet she came to say stuff she never said before; implying an intention to cross the rubicon! I am hooked!

மேலாடை தென்றலில் ஆ ஆ ஆ
பூவாடை வந்ததே ம் ம் ம்

Her upper garment. Gentle breeze. Wow!
And, I was close enough to smell her fragrance. Ahem!

கையோடு வளையலும் கல் கல் கல்
கண்ணோடு பேசவா சொல் சொல் சொல்

Physical proximity is nice but I yearn for proximity of minds where spoken word is not necessary; where one can communicate with eyes.

அச்சமா நாணமா இன்னும் வேண்டுமா
அஞ்சினால் நெஞ்சிலே காதல் தோன்றுமா 

I sense hesitation still. Is this due to fear (and therefore I need to go slow) or shyness (and therefore I need to hasten)? Can we ever make an omelette without cracking an egg? Will she open up?

மிச்சமா மீதமா இந்த நாடகம்
மென்மையே பெண்மையே வா வா வா

Is the residual hesitation a useless remainder (like food left in the plate) or useful remainder (like food left in the buffet)? Should I take a step back or a step forward? I don’t know. I would just make an appeal.

இரவிலே நிலவிலே சேதி வந்ததா
உறவிலே உறவிலே ஆசை வந்ததா

Oh yes. What made her move forward? Did the ambience trigger passion?

மறைவிலே மறைவிலே ஆடலாகுமா
அருகிலே அருகிலே வந்து பேசம்மா

Now that the physical union is consummated, I yearn for union of mind and soul. Come my friend, let us chat.

P B Srinivas, in his best years then, does full justice to Kannadaasan’s lyrics. S Janaki’s humming demonstrates how a composer adds to lyrics without writing a word.

In my younger days, there was no TV. We had to do with radios. We had the luxury of hearing a song and doing our own visualization. Nowadays when this song is telecast, I close my eyes (to not let the poor quality visual affect the excellent image I carry in my mind from childhood) and enjoy.

There is a far older poem in Tamil that goes:
செவ்விது செவ்விது பெண்மை ஆ
செவ்விது செவ்விது காதல்
A critic in that century said that the word that packed maximum meaning in the entire poem was the fourth one!

All I can say about Kannadasan's song is: "ஆ! ஆ! ஆ!"

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