Friday, November 04, 2005

Morning Raga

The beauty of Life is not in what we plan for, but in what we get...

Morning Raga wasn't recommended to me by anyone and I had caught a trailer on TV one desultory evening. It showed Perizad and Prakash Rao happily riding a bicycle amongst rural cyclists carrying several hands of bananas. The photography was noteworthy and I stopped to hear "Marugalera" in the background. Ummm-hmmmm. That is interesting. Modern movie featuring carnatic music without an antebellum storyline? This snared my attention like very few movies can ever do.
It's been several months since the movie was released. I haven't watched it. A friend of mine wanted to watch it and I might buy the DVD/VCD for her sake. But I love the songs in the movie and I cannot but help to get excited the minute they start playing. Two of my all time favourites are Thaaye Yashoda and Maatey (you can listen to them on this page).

Thaaye Yashoda was composed by one of my favourite composers, Oothukaadu Venkatasubbiyer. He is one of the lesser recognised amongst Carnatic (Bhakti) composers (unlike Thiagaraja or Dikshitar). There is so much love in the lyrics that I find it difficult not to let myself get carried away when he describes the various antics of Sri Krishna. Some of the finest poetry has been composed in describing the playful young Krishna as well as the romantic Krishna (well, poets don't seem to have been interested in his ever famous Gitopadesha!). Sudha Ragunathan has rendered this song very skillfully and the music is simply brilliant. I love the capriccio of violins at the outset of the song. She completes her swarams and the violins start out with gusto. When the string piece reaches its fervid heights, Sudha starts out singing Thaaye Yashoda very beautifully. The introduction of English lyrics (as a translation of "undan paiyannai pOlavE inda vayyagattil oru piLLai ammamma nAn kaNDadillai" which means "I haven't seen any other child in this entire world, like your (Yashoda's) son Krishna") can be ignored as they do not add much appeal. The song is not sung in its entirety but it is remarkably beautiful. Most of the song is filled with swaras and I find that so enrapturing.

Maatey composed by Muttayyah Bhagavathar, is most sweetly presented, again, by Sudha Ragunathan. The song starts in an alapana (I suppose that is what it is called. Corrections welcome) which is very sweet and makes one relax and cosily fit into a cushiony seat. A smile spreads as she continues with a "Maatey, Malayadvaja ...". The subtle elongation she introduces to the word "Maatey", is remarkable and its effect cannot go unnoticed. It feels like when one dearly implores the attention of the Goddess. Beautiful. I love the swaras that have been introduced in between (I spent a good 2 hours trying to figure them out) and the laughter of young girls in the background is like the fall of silver pebbles on a crystal floor. This song as such would be the perfect background score for a Bharatanatyam performance.

I would recommend the songs of this movie at least for the sake of these 2 songs. Do find time to listen to them...


  1. Well written..:)..I love this collection as well and I felt like I read exactly what I wanted to say about these two songs..:)..

  2. The movie is just middling.

    We saw it mainly because of the magnetic pull of the two songs which you have written about, used extensively in the promos.

    I used your post to once again listen to all the songs in the movie.

    I think it is Sudha Raghunathan who is single handedly responsible for the attraction of these two songs. Since the lyrics and the raagam have always been there, I am not mentioning them.

    I personally cannot stand any, even a tittle of a shadowing of the purity of any carnatic song rendition through concepts such as east meets west, modernising to make it more appealing to the general public, or god forbid - add English to tamil or telugu or sanskrit lyrics. UGH. I can never see these circus like acrobatics with perfectly wonderful divine and very very fulfilling music, enhance in any way anything of the song.

    Wish people would stick to practising their life out to do justice to the song in its purest form. That itself will take a life time, not to speak of the immense work needed to render just the right, completely original and difficult and attractively complicated, most creative Raagam Thaanam and Pallavi.

    2. Great lovely lyrics about young Krishna! Couldn't you write in the tamil script? Instead of the painstaking English letters?

    3. I think for poetry and songs, the emotional content is given a lot of importance just to be that much more attractive. That's why cerebral and life and death issues such as are discussed in the Gitopadesham are seldom used as subjects for songs. They are too heavy to be appealing to everyone all the time, unlike eternally interesting themes like cute baby antics, beloved-lover themes.

    And as you yrself have said, these songs will make excellent dance songs. A Gitopadesham has little activity - one person is sitting dejectedly throughout the 18 chapters, and the other is standing during the entire period of the Gita. Not much interest except to the scholar and he can do his job well enough from books.Songs and dances for this reason leave Gita alone. May be this was the thought process that led to not any or many songs based on the Gita..

    3. Your effort regarding every aspect of this post (Oh my God! How did you manage to understand the tamil lyrics, write it down in english, write the meaning in English!), is conscientious and as usual thorough.

    A veritable labour of love.

  3. The movie has been aired on Star One several times. Check out fusion flicks on sat/sun night.

  4. Dear A,
    Thank you! :-) Glad to be able to voice your feelings...

    Dear P,
    Not sure whether it is SR alone who has done the magic. The music directors have done a fantastic job too. If you listen to Maharajapuram Santhanam's Alaipayuthey ... well, I shall spare my critical comments, but I love ARR's rendition of the same using (I think) 3 voices in the movie with the same name. Music directors are key players in making a song sound beautiful. I agree with you about mixing leading to dilution or as riders call them "mixed blood", but I would prefer approaching each musical as a separate entity. If it is beautiful as it is, then it doesn't matter whether it is a modification. The earlier version (I wouldn't call anything an original) will continue to be appreciated. To answer your question as to why I do not write in Tamil: (a) Not everyone understands the script (b) I do not know how to read and write in Tamil! :-D. Gitopadesham has been used often in Bharatanatyam. There are several pieces which can be rendered as a dance performance.
    Thank you! :-)

    Dear W,
    Will check it out...

  5. Hi,
    I think morning raga is one of my fav films... not many directors venture into this subjet... music is really amazing... obviously one can never forget Maharajapuram's rendition of Oothakadu Venakatasubaiyer's krithis..

  6. Hi Padma,
    True. It would be difficult to not like this movie with all its lyrical and musical beauty. Maharajapuram Santhanam is ok. I really do not like his renditions for a few songs esp. Vaathaapi Ganapathim. My sister had danced for that song and it was sung so beautifullly that I invented words to match the tune (I didn't understand the lyrics). Maharajapuram quite genuinely murdered that song. Of course, I do not wish to affect your opinion of him. I was merely offering mine. I simply love the lyrics of O. Venkatasubaiyar. So much love and sheer devotion to the little butter-thief, melting hearts like the butter did in those little blue hands...

  7. Shweta8:46 AM

    Hi all,
    Is there any place I can get the lyrics of Mathe....I found half of it in

    I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me where I can find the complete version. Thanks!

  8. Dear S,
    Your query would get a wider audience if you comment on the latest post. No one, except me, checks the older ones!! :-)
    You can find the lyrics of Mathey on as I have already linked in my post.

  9. indru3:52 PM


    cool blog
    but as the person said above you can write in a native script peacefully
    thats a better idea...
    i can help you by suggesting this tool

    you just need to type in english it will convert to tamil script

  10. Nice post....

    Even I liked the songs very much...
    Could you please suggest me whr would I get Thaye Yashoda song lyrics .....

  11. Anonymous11:30 AM

    This is a nice and lovely picture in which carnatic music played a very important role... which I Love So Much.... Songs are really mind blowing..... I want the Thaye yashoda Song Lyrics..... Please help in finding out the song please.........

  12. Seetha11:47 AM

    Taaye Yashodaa
    raagam: Thodi
    Hanumatthodi 8th mela
    Aa: S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S
    Av: S N2 D1 P M1 G2 R1 S

    Taalam: Aadi
    Composer: Ootukkaadu Venkatasubbaiyyar
    Language: Tamil


    Taye Yashoda undan Ayar kula ttuditta mayan
    gopalakrishnan seyyum jalattai keladi ||Taye||


    Tayale keladi undan paiyannai polave inda
    vayyagattil oru pillai ammamma naan kandadillai ||Taye||


    Kalinil shilambu konjak-kaivalai kulunga muttu malaigal asaiyat-teru vasalil vandaan
    Kalashaiyum kaiyashaiyum talamodisaindu vara nilavannak kannanivan narttanamaadinaan
    Balanenru tavi anaitten anaitta ennai malaiyittavan pol vayil muttamittaandi
    balanalladi un maghan jalam migha seyyum krishnan nalu pergal ketka colla nanamigha lagudadi ||Taye||


    Anroru nal inda vazhi vanda virundivarum ayarndu padutturangum podinile-kannan
    tinradu pogak kaiyyil irunda vannaiyai anda virundinar vayil niraittu maraindanane anda
    nindai mighu pazhi inge pavamange enrapadi cintai migha nondidavum seyya taghumo
    nanda goparkkinda vidam anda mighu pillai pera nalla tavam seidaradi enna sheivomadi ||Taye||

  13. Abhay Pathil8:25 PM

    Hellow you all,I love this movie sooo much that when I very first watched it,I stunningly surprised that how anyone can be so much graceful to direct,sing,act,cinemautograph in this very classic movie..Such a gr8 movie.
    I personally am belong to south India,but never felt the same.
    But after watching this movie,I felt proud on my family roots,that I belong to such gr8 history and venture of Carnatic music.
    Thank you all...

  14. hello i like dis movie very much.i want full songs vit swaras...plz help me..

  15. Hey seetha thanks for the lyrics....thatz really one of the best compositions...:)

  16. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described

  17. Swetha Yerva11:26 PM

    Kudos to Sudha Raghunathan and Ranjani Ramakrishnan