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ARR + Maniratnam's biggest flop
Jun 20, 2004 09:35 PM 8203 Views
(Updated Jun 20, 2004 09:41 PM)


Experiment is an obvious word to mention about any album from A.R.Rahman + Maniratnam + Vairamuthu combination. Iruvar is a period drama on the biography of two famous political leaders and film personalities MGR and Karunanidhi of 60’s and 70’s in Tamilnadu. So there is a lot of scope for A.R.Rahman to prove himself as a music composer and not a mere sound engineer. The album is a clear evidence of the talent of A.R.Rahman and his versatility. Each song has a different feel and ARR has brilliantly woven his style of score with his touches here and there. Being a historical biography there are so many constraints and limits and he has less freedom in the sound, usage of instruments and overall composition and it should have the essence of 60’s music and also should register his unique style and this album has both well blended. Let us analyse each track and I would like to list out the elements that gives the sound of period and that gives the sound of typical A.R.Rahman.

Hello Mr.Ethirkatchi

Singer: Harini

Genre: Blues, NightClub song in 60’s

Elements of 60’s

~ Dominance of Piano and the way it is used all through the song

~ The shivering male voice (what is it called, it has a musical term) in the interludes


~ The choice of the singer Harini. She is apt voice for Aishwarya rai.

~ The usage of percussions in the interludes

~ The female humming when harini delivers dialogues in the middle in a husky voice

Kannai Katti Kollathey

Singer: Hariharan

Genre: Typical MGR’s Message telling number

Elements of 60’s

~ “Thozha, thozha” chant by the chorus

~ Chorus repeating the last words of each line sung by the main singer is typical 60’s style of composition

~ The basic rythm of the song


~ Way the beautiful Tamil word “Viduthalai” is split up wrongly and sung to fit the tune

~ Usage of guitar all through the song in the background and second interlude has an excellent solo guitar piece

~ The first interlude with sax and percussions

~ Hariharan has sung with different pitches at different places. Especially the way he sings “chittu kuruvigal en pakkam” is great.


Singer: Asha Bhonsle

Genre: Jazz, A Dream love song

May be the sounds of the instrument takes us to that period but the way of usage have no such elements. And moreover the style of song is that of English songs in 60’s, I haven’t heard any Tamil song of this kind in 60’s. As this is a dream number, ARR takes full freedom. The song is fully rahmanish, I haven’t heard any song of this type is 60’s films. Asha Bhonsle excels as usual with her longing voice. The usage of saxophone and the chorus bits are rahmanish. The mild piano’s and sax bits and pieces at the end of each lines are soothing. The song has all to make it a perfect jazz number, trumpets, sax, piano, and above all tempo is too slow.

Poo kodiyin punnagai

Singer: P.Susheela

Genre: A Solo Love song of 60’s

Contrary to the previous song, this song has no elements to recognize it as a Rahmanish one. You cannot find Rahman anywhere in this song. The choice of singer, P.Susheela is a legendary female playback singer in Tamil film music of 60’s and 70’s. Her voice alone is enough to take us to that period. In addition, the usage of flute, tabla, harmonium, the shenoy, the strings and the tune itself has touches of M.S. Vishwanathan. It perfectly sounds like a MSV song. An old song with today’s sound quality. Even the lyrics and the way the words are woven are typical Kannadasan style. An excellent melody from ARR again.

Aayirathil naan oruvan

Singer: Mano

Genre: A typical 60’s MGR song of hero praising himself

Elements of 60’

~ The tune itself

~ Mano’s voice. He has tried to modulate his voice and pronounce the words like that of T.M.Soundarajan.

~ The first word itself “Aayirathil naan oruvan” is a famous phrase of MGR.

~ Domination of Harmoniums in the background


~ First interludes with kids voice, percussion, usage of Chinese instruments and the catchy tune in violins which is played again and again at various places.

~ Second interlude with strong percussion and an alap of a new kind neither karnatic nor hindustani


Singers: Unni Krishnan, Bombay Jayshree

Genre: Classical Love duet

It has both the feels blended and binded to an extent that it cannot be split up and strictly to my knowledge. The only thing that I could say is this is similar to the composition of “Kalayum Neeyae Malayum Neeyae” song from “Then Nilavu” released in mid 50’s. Again a pure classical song with traditional south Indian instruments like tabla, flute veena etc.,Unni krishnan and Bombay Jayshree are perfect choices of this song as both of them had formal training in classical music they both have done a great job. The tune is so fresh. The first interlude with mandolin, tabla, flute, temple bells and violin orchestration is great, clay pots are used. Lyrics by vairamuthu are top notch. In this genre it is a rare piece of work with lyrics that needs lot of in depth knowledge in the language to understand the complete meaning. I think more than the music the purity in the language gives the period feels to the song.

Unnodu Naan

Vocal: Arvind Swamy

Situation of the Poem:: A Man talks to his wife about their first sex and their deep love

The background for this poem had a tanpura as sruthi and a haunting humming by a female vocal. Arvind swamy whispers the poem in a husky voice throughout.

Those who don’t understand Tamil here are the translation of the whole poem for you.

Each and every microsecond I spent with you

I can’t forget even in my final deathbed

Those 90 minutes that I spent with you

Will remain in my mind for 800 years

Few seconds we starred at each other, few seconds left with fear

Few seconds left with tears on hugging each other

What is right and what is wrong, it didn’t appear to both of our minds

Is that night or is that day, we didn’t know about that

Who finished and who started there is no way to find out

Both of us started together but no questions so far

I came out of my fear and you hugged my desire

I came out of my dress and you came out of your shyness

Even all that vanished like a dream

The last shed tears still sticks in my hand

Udal mannukku

Vocal: Arvind Swamy

Situation of the poem:: It is like a king rescuing away the queen from his enemy’s prison. Meanwhile, he speaks about his empire and its culture.

The main to and fro rhythm in background is perfectly delivers the tension and the thrill in the sequence. Entire background music is awesome. The grand bell sound, thundering percussions midly used, violin usage and trumpet usage is great in 60’s style. The lyrics is also in the same tone, revolutionary, aggressive like Karunanidhi’s work who is one among the two protagonists of this movie. Arvind swamy is eniterly different in this track, his voice is more rustic and aggressive.

Those who don’t understand Tamil here are the translation of the whole poem for you.

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Iruvar Songs