Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Honest Lyricist

Movie Song Lyrics are an important part of Tamil psyche. Top lyricists are revered like gods, for example Kannadasan, Vairamuthu, by the masses. The serious literature guys look down upon these lyricists, but as one of those serious novelists told "Though the population of Tamilnadu is growing, the readership of literature is stagnant at about 1000 plus" or something like that.

The way to Tamil audience hearts is through alliterative words, rolling easy off the tongue, and lyrics that sound philosophical (not necessarily are philosophical) or like high literature (again not necessarily high literature) and metaphors that make no sense.

One of the recent songs to have caught the fancy is "Dhavani Potta Deepavali" from Sandakkozhi. It is an assured hit song, played regularly in all TV and radio channels. The good looking heroine with her antics and rustic picturisation have catapulted this song to the top of the charts. I too liked this song, until today morning when I actually listened through the lyrics.

Half way though the song the lyrics are

"maga maga kulame.. en manasu keththa mugame
nava pazha nirame.. enna narukki potta nagame
"

which translate as
"You are the temple tank - My heart likes your face
You are the blackberry colour - you are the nail that cut me"

I was angry thinking, WTF, this fellow is insulting the listener's intelligence with this meaningless drivel. But the next line showed how honest the lyricist is

"ithukku mela ithukku mela.. enakku ethum thonala "

which translates as
"Beyond this, beyond this, I can't think of anything".

Atleast he is honest and agrees that what he wrote is drivel. How can you be angry with such an honest lyricist?

14 comments:

D.N.A. said...

LOL! Honesty, right!

Anonymous said...

Sorry broken link last post:
href="http://www.indolink.com/tamil/cinema/Features/Misc/algorithm/algorithm.htm"

Anonymous said...

Chen,

A few days back, i saw aalavandhan in DVD..

The song " unn azhagukku thaai poruppu, arivukku mann poruppu" was translated as " mom is responsible for your beauty" and "mud is responsible for your intelligence" ....


mud and intelligence...what a great combi !!!

Anonymous said...

How absurd can you get ? Those lines clearly convery the state of mind of a madly infatuated person - we don't make try to translate baby talk into English to make sense of it.

Chenthil said...

Anon1 - the first thing I thought after writing this post was that it is similar to Ramesh Mahadevan's.

Anon2- that should be translated as "this land is responsible for your intelligence", so I think the lyricist is correct there. Problem with translation - Mann = Land / Sand

Anon3 - if this was a nonsense lyrics song, I wouldn't have bothered. But the other lines are ok in this song, I feel like the lyricist put these lines just to see if any one noticed.

Krithiga said...

You know, you'll be a great success as a Thamizh to English translator. Meant to tell you after reading your translation of Bharathiar poems, but I realize that opportunity is rife now than it was back then ;)

ashok said...

chen...u didnt mention the lyricist of this song...

Chenthil said...

Krithika, thanks. I assume you meant rife and ripe :-).

Ashok, it is Naa Muthukumar I think.

ramki said...

Chenthil, I strongly object to your talking of Kannadasan and Vairamuthu in the same breath. The only similarity was that both were lyricists. Kannadasan was and is head and shoulders above the rest. Probably Pattukottai Kalyanasundaranar was the one who came closest to Kannadasan. The rest were... let's leave them alone.

Chenthil said...

Apolgies Ramki. I didn't mean to put Kannadasan and Vairamuthu on the same pedestal. Just wanted to point out these two are the examples of being revered by the masses. Vairamuthu was good initially, even now he comes out with good numbers now and then, but he is more into self promotion now a days, thinking too much of himself. Kannadasan was a class apart, I agree.

ashok said...

when comparing kannadasan and vairamuthu...we must remember that both wrote/write lyrics in a contrasting approach. Songs were tuned for kannadasan's lyrics and vairamuthu writes lyrics to suit a tune...its simply naive to make a comparision between the two in terms of their 'film' works...

Anonymous said...

Kannadasan's off-filmi works like Arthamulla Indumatham.. (is there any other...i don't know) is really brillaint..

Vairam's lietrature like karisakattu.. is no more than a sentimental masala movie..

I guess vairamuthu is increasingly becoming "amar singh" of TN..a political broker..from what the news that come about him recent days...

Chenthil said...

Anon, Kannadasan wrote a lot of on filmi poetic works (I haven't read much of it though), ran a magazine called Thendral (apparently successful for a couple of years), wrote his autobiography (Vanavaasam, Manavaasam - good ones), had a column in the last page of Kalki and wrote novels and short stories too (but the one novel I read of his was very average).

Vairamuthu - promised a lot, but didn't achieve it is my personal opinion.

Anonymous said...

am not googling for the lyricist
am taking a risk and saying it cannot be na muthukumar
coz most of the songs that i hv liked for their azhagu thamizh has been on back check revealed his name...

fire eater