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Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Beginning of a "Great Combo"

Dear SPB Fans,


We have read so many articles discussing in great lengths the “IR-SPB” combo and the superb quality of the songs generated by this great combo.

This prompted me to embark upon the exercise of finding out the root of this great relationship in films and their first song that hit the screens.

And I ended up with this song “Oru Naal Unnodu Oru Naal” from the Tamil Film “Uravaadum Nenjam” (1976). Lyrics is by Panchu Arunachalam.

This song used to be one of my favorites at that time & always on my lips and then like many other songs had gone into the archives once again surfacing now when I ventured to find out the first song of this combo and what great pleasure i derived listening to it again after so many years.

The quality of SPB-SJ voices is so great and prominent that it gives ultimate pleasure when savoring it. The song is very lively and is also melodiously paced. Great Orchestration by the Maestro. An extensive use of the violin throughout the song. It is understood that the violinists had a tough time bringing out what IR wanted. Just listen to the beautiful play of violin and flute just before the first charanam. This song also silenced IR's critics who till then had branded IR as a "GramathuRaja" capable of composing only village based songs (based on his Annakili songs which had the flavour of the soil and his subsequent film also). IR proved a point that he had a wide repertoire under his belt waiting to blossom them on to the screens.

The main actors in this film are Sivakumar & Chandrakala. Obviously the song would have featured these two. The lyrics is great with the couple exchanging thoughts on their future life together and the adjustments (give & take) they need to make to live a happy life. The lady compliments her man and pleads lovingly with him to get rid of two traits. (pls correct me if i am wrong as i have not seen this movie or the song clip).

I came upon an article talking elaborately on the background to this song. This was posted by one Mr. Manisekaran (must be a Malaysian Tamil, I presume) on Nov 16, 2004 in one of the discussion threads (on the net) related to IR. He seems to be an encyclopedia / authority on IR info, from whatever I read of his articles.

I have just “cut and paste”d below the portion of his article dwelling on this first song of “IR-SPB” Combo. It also happens to be the first “IR-SPB-SJ” combo song.

Manisekaran wrote :

Sri Vishnupriya Creations URAVAADUM NENJAM is an important film for
Ilayaraja. The film itself happened to be an utter failure. But there was a
landmark that Ilayaraja had left for us. The song Oru Naal Unnodu Oru Naal was
earmarked for success of the movie. The song was an instant hit alright, but the
movie had nothing to boast of.

This was the third film for Raja, after Palooti Valartha Kili.
However, S.P. Bala’s first song under Ilayaraja was recorded for URAVAADUM NENJAM movie, and that is Oru Naal Unnodu Oru Naal. Ilayaraja had assisted other MDs, such as GK Vengatesh, who had used Bala. But those were not to be attributed to Raja.

When Ilayaraja was composing under various MDs in the late 1960s
Bala was already a playback singer following the film Shanthi Nilayam, under MS
Visvanathan. Bala’s first ever-Tamil song was a duet with LR Eswary in the film
Hotel Ramba. The song is “Athanukku Eppadi Irukku Mansukkulle.” Both the song
and the film were never released. The Shanthi Nilayam song was the first to be
released. But it was the song Ayiram Nilave Vaa in ADIMAI PENN that boosted Bala to new heights.

While looking for cine chances, Bala was first singing under the Paavalar Brothers. Later Raja played harmonium and guitar under the band that Bala initiated.

Raja was invited to compose for a film called UYIR. Bala and a few others sang and recorded 4 songs under Raja’s composition. The film never materialised. Then came Annakili. Bala and Raja were among the thickest of friends. However, when Annakili came by, Raja could not impose on using Bala. It was Raja’s debut and Panju had all the say. Raja was interested in breaking through. But when URAVADUM NENJAM was in the making,
Raja made sure Bala was in. In an attempt to honour his close friend, Raja wanted to make sure he composed a song that would be cherished by both the composer and the singer. Remember the title of the film is also URAVADUM NENJAM. So Ilayaraja centered all his energy, effort and imagination to compose what would ever remain as one of the best songs for a best friend of his. Likewise, SP Bala too made sure he sang with much feeling. S. Janaki too followed suit. The lyrics were by Panju Arunasalam.

The song, especially the orchestration was something unknown to many fans of Tamil film music. It was simply rich orchestration. Ilayaraja told Bala that the film would run for 100 days on the strength of the song. Raja proposed, but the moviegoers disposed. The film became an utter failure- commercially. However, the song became immortalised, and is one of my best.

The story did not end there. It was on the lips of Bala for a long time. Every time Bala entered the recording studio, he used to sing to himself or hum this song. And Raja used to immediately respond, “ Naama Ennnumo Nenachom, Padam Odalaiye daa” (These two friends called each other “vaada poda.”)

However, Raja’s first song for his closest friend shall always be on our lips too.

One more information which I gathered regarding the music composition for this song is as follows (from one of IR’s interviews)

Another song he (ilayaraja) mentioned where the violinists found it
really difficult was "Oru Naal Unnodu Oru Naal" from Uravadum Nenjam, which
incidentally is the first song sung by SPB for him.(for ilayaraja)

LYRICS (By Panchu Arunachalam) :

oru naaL unnOdu oru naaL
uravinil aada
puthumaigaL kaaNa
kaaNbOmE yennaaLum thirunaaL
oru naaL..

manjaLin maharaaNi
kunguma perundhEvi
unnaal ponnaaL kaNdEnE
kaNNil sorgaththin nizhalai kaNdEnE
unn mugam paarththu malarndhEnE
unn nizhal thEdi vaLarndhEnE (oru naaL)

unnidam naan kaNda
perumaigaL pala undu
kObam vEham maaraadhO
maarum nannaaL
yennaaL kaaNbEnO
punnagaiyaalE yenai maatru
ponnazhagE nee poongaatru (oru naaL)

mangala naaN vENdum
maganudan magaL vENdum
yendrum kaaval neeyaga
undhan vaazhvin geetham naanaga(mangala)
kaaviyam pOlE vaazhnthiruppOm
aayiram nilavai paarthiruppOm (oru naaL)

1 comment:

NJS said...

this song is the one best songs ,which i was trying to get for many years because i don't know the movie name,atlast i foundit . thankyou