Eluthundru from Gaayam-2

When I was listening to the song “Eluthundru” from Gaayam-2, my room mate, who is a very casual film-music listener, called me with some unparlimentary words and asked me to stop the song. It made me think for a while about, what in the song evoked such a response from him. When a listener is not able to identify with the very basic emotion that the song wants to invoke in a listener, he cannot go any further in searching for and appreciating the musical aspects of the song. The anger against corruption, system and the politicians is something that not many identify with these days, or atleast not with the level of intensity and rigor that comes out of these songs. The melody in “Eluthundru” is soaked in such an intense anger and helplessness that the voices hit every note in the melody hard like how an arrow hits a dartboard.

Even film makers don’t prefer to make such films or show such loud anger against politicians in their films. Even if such a situation arises in the film, they don’t usually put a song to push it. The angry young man of 80s and early 90s is obsolete in Indian cinema now. Even the people who I know from rural villages around Salem are either grooving to filmy-folk songs or melodies of Asili-Pisili types. Our radio stations and music channels continuously play only these types of songs. The pathos songs that occasionally turn out to be chartbusters are all about nostalgia or romance, but not about politics, politicians or society. Songs like “Eluthundru” are not something you hum in the bath room, sing along or feel happy about while listening to and it definitely is not meant for that. It is made for a specific situation in the film that is made with certain sensibilities.

Even if some could connect and identify with such emotions in a film song, there is still the factor of Ilaiyaraaja using abundant Synth that stops them from completely embracing and enjoying the music. Even though Ilaiyaraaja uses Synth, he has a very unique way of using it. It took sometime for me to understand and get used to this new Ilaiyaraaja sound. Every single layer of even the so-called synth-ful Raaja songs can still be notated on paper and given to a live orchestra to perform. However, I must admit that Raaja’s usage of Pad rhythms in songs like “Kalaganae” certainly spoils mood of the song for me.

Even if someone is fine with Raaja’s Synth there is this tendency of comparing the new song and old classic and worrying why the new song is not as great as the classic. “Eluthundru” took me back to the magnificent “Ulagamae Nee” from Ivan, but I am not comparing or complaining here. Both “Eluthundru” and “Ulagamae Nee” are on loop in my playlist since yesterday.