Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Ode to Art by SiriVennela

I am usually drawn more by music, than by words. Not to demean the beauty of wordplay as such, but for me, lyrics come after the music. But when good music is laced with some exceptionally beautiful poetry, the song is complete by all respects. This is the reason why songs from 1950s, 1960s and to some extent few of the numbers from 1970s appeal to me completely.

This post of mine is aimed at highlighting the lyrics of a song, instead of music, which i usually do. Quite surprisingly, the composition is by my favourite, Ilaiyaraaja. But i wish not to talk about the musicial genius in his song. instead, through this post, i want the readers to pause and take a note of wonderful imageries created by the lyricist, Sirivennela Seetha Rama Sasthry.

The song is from the film - 'Swarna Kamalam'. The song is 'Sivapoojaku chigurinchina siri siri muvva'

If you remember this film 'Swarna Kamalam', the hero is a worshipper of art(dance) and literally coaxes the heroine to take it up more seriously. She, on the otherhand, is fascinated by worldly pleasures. She wants to breakfree from the shackles. She dreams of materialistic pleasures. She says in one scene - "the world is marching ahead at a rapid pace but we are still stuck somewhere else".

This song is like an argument between both of them in a duet. It's a challenge for the writer to potray both the schools of thought, of hero and heroine, and in a way that both have a valid point to make. The writer didn't just manage, but actually came out as a winner in potraying profound thoughts wonderfully.


Siva poojaku chigurinchina (blossomed/sprouted) Siri Siri muvva (anklets used by dancers)

mrudu (soft) manjula (pleasing, beautiful) pada (words) manjari (spring out) poochina (to flower) puvvaa

yatiraajuku (the best of the ascetics) jati swaramula (the musical-swaras used for dancers) parimaLamivva (give the fragrance)

naTanaanjalito (dance offering) bratukunu (life) tarinchaneevaa (fulfill)

The above paragraph means - your anklet-bells have blossomed to offer pooja to lord Shiva (through Dance). These soft-pleasing words springing out are like flowers. Wont you lure the best of ascetics with the fragrances of these dance-swaras(ascetics cannot be lured by anything, ideally…so, here he says even Yatiraj could be lured by dance)…wont you fulfill your life by dance-offering!

It's great imagination to bring the concept of yatiraj in a line..yatiraj is referred to as the best ascetic, who is not lured by any worldly pleasure (typically represented by women, money, things which fragrances)..but here, he says even yatiraj could be lured by one fragrance..called dance..


parugaapaga payaninchave(do travel) talapula(of thoughts) naava(o boat)

keraTaalaku(to waves of sea) tala(head) vanchite(bow down) taragadu trOva (your path wont pass)

edirinchina(against) suDi gaalini (strorm) jayinchi(win) raavaa(come)

madi(mind) kOrina(desired) madhu(sweet) seemalu(land/regions) varinchi(conquer) raavaa(come)

O boat of my thoughts, do travel further, if you bow down to the waves of the sea, you can never cross your paths, come, win over the storms against you…and come, lets conquer the sweet lands desired by your mind.
I just loved the lines - 'madi korina madhuseemalu varinchi raava' ; infact every line is a classic.


paDamara(west) paDagalapai(on the hoods) merisE(shining) taaralakai (for the stars)

raatrini(night) varinchake(don't choose) sandhyaa sundari (o evening beauty)

toorupu(of east) vEdikapai(on the stage) vEkuva nartakivai(becoming a dance of the dawn)

dhaatrini(earth) muripinche(delight) kaantini(light) chindani(let sprinkle)

Nee kadalika(your movements) chaitanyapu(of consciousness) sreekaaram kaani (let them be an initiation for)

nidurinchina (slept) hRudaya (heart) ravaLi (eeshwara) Okaaram kaani (let it be Omkaaram)

For the sake of shining stars on the hoods of the west(heroine wants to go to foreign country in this film), don't embrace the night(darkness) o evening beauty; on the stage of the east, by becoming a dance of the dawn, do delight the earth by sprinkling light; let your movements be an initiation for consciousness; let the sleeping eeshwara (lord of dance) in your heart become an omkaaram (symbol of piousness, god, ultimate)

Watch the way he maintained the rhyme - 2nd line ending is 'sundari' and 4th line ending is 'chindhani'..its not just endings but even beginnings; 2nd line beginning is 'Raathri' and 4th line beginning is ''Dhaathri' …and he conveyed such profound thought


tana (her) vELLE(roots) sankeLLai (hand-cuffs or chains) kadalalEni (which cant move) mokkalaa (like a plant)

Aamanikai (for the spring season) eduru choostu aagipOdu ekkaDaa (it wont stop anything waiting..)

Avadhi lEni (no barriers) andamundi (there is beauty) avaniki (on earth) nalu dikkulaa (in 4 directions)

aanandapu (of happiness) gaali vaalu (breezes) naDapani ninnilaa (let them drive you along)

prati rOjoka (everyday) nava geetika (a new song) swaagatinchagaa (let it welcome)

vennela (moonlight) kinnera gaanam (song of river kinnera) neeku tODugaa (will be your companion)

A plant chained to the ground by her own roots; wont wait for the spring; there are boundless beauties on earth everywhere; let the breezes of happiness take you there; let a new song welcome you everyday; let the moonlight and songs of kinnera (free flowing rever) be your companion
The words 'avadhi'; 'andamu' ; 'avani' all have phoenetically similar sounds


Lalita (playful) charaNa (feet) janitam (cause) nee sahaja (natural) vilaasam (way of life)

Jwalita (embers) kiraNa (rays) kalitam (filled with) soundarya (beauty) vikaasam (grow, blossom)

nee abhinaya (expression, act) ushOdayam (dawn) tilakinchina (watched) ravi (sun) nayanam (eyes)

Gagana (sky) sarasi (lake) hRudayamlO (in heart) vikaSita (bloom) Sata (100) daLa (leaves) Sobhala (of beauty) suvarNa kamalam (golden lotus)

Let your natural way of life be caused by your playful feet; like the embers which blossom into beautiful rays; even the eyes of the sun watched the dawn of your expressional dance; in the hearts of sky and the lake; a hundred leaves shall bloom on the beautiful golden lotus.

Again, every word in 1st rhymes with everry corresponding word in 2nd line. and It takes a genius to write 'nee abhinaya ushodayam thilakinchina ravi nayanam

He: SwadharmE midhanam shrEyaha para dharmO bhayaavaha (from bhagavadgeetha)

Meaning: It is better to die while following one's own faith rather than adopt other's faith; the latter shall lead one to disaster

In my opinion, this song is perhaps one of the best writings of Sirivennela. Because the song not only captures lyrical splendour, but touches the intellectual depths too, overcoming the challenge of speaking two minds in the same song, without disturbing the flow of language.

Interesting to note that Ilaiyaraaja composed this song in Raaga 'Kalaavathi' (Kala=art, Kalaavathi=a lady who is impeccable in art). Was it intentional? or coincidental?
The thoughts of film-maker (K.Vishwanath), Lyricist (seetha Rama Sasthry) and Composer (Ilaiyaraaja) melding together to create a phenomenal song, stands as an example of what intellectual team work is.

And as the song itself summarizes, Art preceeds (and even supercedes) any mundaneness (work).
I am glad to be a art Lover.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adnan Sami's Raag Yaman

I have always felt that Adnan Sami is wasting is career, by trying to emulate R.D.Burman's style of composing and Kishore Kumar's style of singing. Instead, he should focus on what he is best at... Playing Piano. Not many have the speed which he has got and his command over the instrument is phenomenal. He can do with his fingers, what Ustad Zakir Hussain does with his fingers on Tabla. His understanding of Indian Classical Music is no less. This video gives a small peek into what he is capable of and the magic of his fingers, when he plays Indian Classical. Interestingly, i have an album featuring both, outdoing each other. I wish Adnan does more of this, so that he can also join the league of Ustads.