Tag Archives: ragas

Raagas in Films: Sindhu Bhairavi

17 Apr

It is quite a task to write about one of the most loved raagas in Indian music, the versatile Sindhu Bhairavi. It is versatile because it gives a lot of scope for music composers to experiment. There have been innumerable tunes in this raaga but the beauty is all of them sound different! Another feature of this raaga is that it can be used for a variety of situations. Here is a list of the immortal tunes in this raaga. As always I have only posted some of my favourite Sindhu Bhairavi songs here, which showcased its beauty.

  1. Unnakenna Mele-MSV-Simla Special-Composing at its best, a very unique song with a varying tempo.
  2. Enna Satham-Ilaiyaraja-Punnagai Mannan
  3. Muthu Mani Maala-Ilaiyaraja-Chinna Kounder-Happy Sindhu Bhairavi, A case study on Sindhu Bhairavi composing. Period.
  4. Nilave Mugam Kaattu-Ilaiyaraja-Ejaman-This is Sad Sindhu Bhairavi for you. How many raagas will this man, Ilaiyaraja, play with?
  5. Maargazhi Thingal-A.R.Rahman-Sangaman-Brilliant song, very well sung, the pathos in the raaga rises to the fore!
  6. Nilavu Paattu-Ilaiyaraja-Kannukul Nilavu-Sindhu Bhairavi+Jazzy interludes, an unusual but captivating concoction!
  7. Ovvoru Pookalume-Bharadwaj-Autograph-Great tune+Inspiring lyrics+soulful singing
  8. Soll Soll En Nenje-Vidyasagar-Pirivom Sandippom-You will not imagine a song like this, especially the chords in the charanam.
  9. En Uyirukkul-Vidyasagar-Mahesh Sharanya Mattrum Palar-One of my recent favourites, splendid orchestration.

Raagas in Films: Hamsadhwani

8 Feb

Hamsadhwani is a very auspicious raaga, we refer to it as a “mangalakara” raagam i.e. its heralds happiness and prosperity. It is a raaga which is generally used to begin the proceedings (as in concerts, prayer meets, and even other functions).  The famous prayer to Lord Ganesha- Vakrathunda Mahaakaya is generally sung in Hamsadhwani. Hamsadhwani gives a lot of scope for music composers to experiment. There have been so many scintillating tunes in this raaga that its impossible to list all of them here. So I am listing the popular ones here, the more recent ones which I know, where the beauty of the raaga has been fully demonstrated. Read it as Song-Composer-Movie.

  1. Vaa Vaa Vaa–Ilaiyaraja-Velaikkaaran-The charanams are mindblowing with piano backings!
  2. Poo Mudithu-Ilaiyaraja-En Purushanthaan Enakku Mattumthaan
  3. Sri Ranga Ranga-Ilaiyaraja-Mahanadhi
  4. Unnodu Vaazhaatha-Bharadwaj-Amarrkalam-Wonderful tune set in westernized orchestration!
  5. Vellai Pookal-A.R.Rahman-Kannathil Muthamittaal-a serene tune.
  6. Theekuruvi-A.R.Rahman-Kangalal Kaidhu Sei-Whoa! what fusion-Hamsadhwani laced with bass guitar backgrounds and Hindustani-styled ghatkaas!
  7. Natta Nadu-Vijay Antony-A Aa E  Ee-Composed so beautifully that I could not recognize that it was Hamsadhwani, during the initial listens.

Raagas in film music: Amruthavarshini

21 Jan

There is no better way to begin enjoying the usage of different raagas in films, than by starting with the nectarine intense raaga Amruthavarshini. The name itself shows how beautiful the raaga is. This raaga has a wonderful anecdote behind it. [I heard this in a raaga series CD called ISAI PAYANAM, which is a series of discussions on different raagas done by Smt.Charulatha Mani, a Carnatic vocalist. It is a wonderful collection to have as it covers most of the major raagas, dwelling on their unique attributes, the major classical compositions in them and their usage in film music.]
Shri Muthuswamy Dikshithar, one of the greatest classical musicians of India, a member of the Trinity was going for his brother’s marriage from Tiruvaiyar. On the way, he was passing thro’ a village called Ettaiyapuram, which was at that time experiencing severe drought. The land was dry and parched and the people were suffering. Overcome by compassion for the villagers, Shri. Dikshithar started singing the masterpiece krithi and praying, “Aanandamruthakarshini Amruthavarshini” to Goddess to bring rain to the village and lo! it started to rain heavily. It poured so much that he had to ask the Goddess to stop the torrential downpour. What a wonderful demonstration of the power of music!
Coming back to film music, these are the famous songs composed in this raaga:

  1. Sivakami Aadavandhaal-Paatum Bhaarathamum-MSV
  2. Thoongaatha Vizhigal-Agni Nakshathram-Ilaiyaraja-The most famous film song in this raaga, a masterpiece traversing the entire swaras in this raaga.
  3. Kaathirundha Malli-Malluvetti Minor-Ilaiyaraja-a fantastic song.
  4. Naandhana-Ninaithaale-Vijay Antony

One thing to note here, is that in some cases, the composers may not be within the raaga throughout the song, there may be minor deviations from the raaga. This is fine as in films, composers can take liberties to make the song sound better.

Raagas—the treasure chest of Indian Music

10 Jan

The purpose of this post is not to analyze the raaga concept technically (though it is fun to do so, as the concept is very scientific) but to see how it enriches our music. Raagas are the epitome of the astounding variety in music that we see today. Just imagine, with just 7 swaras/notes, we are able to have so many zillions of tunes! There are about 300 or more known raagas though it is believed that there were about 800 of them originally but many have been lost. The credit for preserving, propagating raagas should go to the classical music stalwarts of India, especially the trinity. The utility of the raaga concept is manifold:

  1. It serves as a starting point for composing. It is NOT necessary that a tune must be in the same raaga throughout, so we have raagamaalikas (compositions comprising of many raagas). But a tune in a raaga has a unique charm as it showcases the essence of that raaga fully.
  2. It is a guide to compose in many situations, for e.g. if its a sad situation, raagas like Shubhapantuvarali could be used. If its an auspicious moment, then Anandabhairavi could be used. This is why we find in marriages, the compositions played would consist of these raagas. Raagas personify the situation and create a grandeur in that situation. Imagine a marriage without any live music!
  3. Each raaga is a world by itself, a world of melody. As discussed here before, raagas do have medicinal benefits and they heal us, if we have faith. Hence we say music HEALS. They are being extensively used in promoting well-being and as a curative for many diseases.

I will be taking up individual raagas and their usage in film music in the ensuing posts. Whatever I know is purely because of my interest/passion in this concept. I am learning to even appreciate the technical nuances so as to have a holistic view. Its going to be a wonderful journey to examine specific raagas, because for me they are pure bliss! This is what makes Indian music special!

Music and Healing

1 Dec

It is a proven fact that music indeed is one of the most effective therapies. Owing to sheer interest, I have read a few expert articles written on Shri Kunnakudy Vaidyanathan, who until recently, before his demise, was heading the Raaga Research Centre in Madras. He and his late father (who was one of the pioneers of raaga research) have confirmed that music/raagas have the power to cure us of many ailments! This is certainly good news to all music lovers. I personally believe in this completely and I have experienced the therapeutic effects of music innumerable times. Each raaga is said to have a unique medicinal property. This post is just a starting point to discuss about the healing effects of music. The study in this field has been quite extensive leading to some pleasantly stunning results. I give below the unique properties of a few raagas. These are culled from various authentic articles in the internet and “The Hindu” newspaper.

  1. Keeravani-Good for heart.
  2. Rathipathipriya-Strength and vigour, remove ill-will.
  3. Shanmukhapriya-Sharpens intellect and instils courage.
  4. Kalyani-Destroys fear.
  5. Karaharapriya-Remedy for worry, stress and neurotic disorders.
  6. Abheri-Heals the mind.
  7. Shankarabharanam-Cures mental disorders, showers wealth!
  8. Charukesi-Rejenuvates mind
  9. Mohanam-Filters ill-effects of our bad qualities like anger, lust and attachment.
  10. Mayamalavagowla-Counters pollution.
  11. Anandabhairavi-Lowers blood pressure.

This is an incomplete list. For those who have faith, music is the best medicine. If we are mentally happy, then I feel, the presence of physical diseases cannot affect us. Music is a wealth that we have, its a gift from God itself which can give us a lot of bliss and satisfaction. Let us use it so that there is more Love, Peace and Harmony and let us promote, good, melodious music!