Chronology of Vani Jayaram's Tamil Film Songs
- by Saravanan 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

To Song List

By now Vani had established herself as a front ranking singer in tamil films, and enjoyed the continued patronage of M.S.Viwanathan, which was of immense importance. As MSV was still calling the shots, other music directors also started gyrating towards VJ. That, and the fact that VJ was undoubtedly talented, trained, gifted with a superb voice, and with an utterly flawless pronunciation to boot, added to her impeccable credentials, making her harvest a bumper crop of songs this year. In addition to MSV, Vijayabaskar and Shankar-Ganesh for whom she had sung earlier, opportunities to sing under the baton of veterans like K.V.Mahadevan, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, V.Kumar and G.K.Venkatesh came knocking at her door in 1975 and she made the best use of them.

Let us enumerate her songs one by one:


Malligai mullai poo pandhal - Anbey Aaruyire
Muththamizhil paada vandhen - Mel Naattu Marumagal
Kalaimagal kai veenai muzhanguthamma - Mel naattu Marumagal
Pallaandu pallaandu - Mel naattu marumagal
How wonderful how beautiful - Melnaatu marumagal

En ullam azhagaana - Cinema Paithiyam
Paraseega kavignanukkum - Anbu Roja
Mazhaikaala megam maharajan vaazhga - Kasthuri Vijayam
Sorgathin thirappu vizha - Pallandu Vaazhga
Maasi Maasa kadasiyile - Pallandu Vaazhga

Chella papa - Pallandu Vaazhga
Pudhiyadhor ulagam seivom - Pallandu Vaazhga
Maanikka maamani maalayil - Thennangeetru
Sugham Aayiram en ninaiviley - Mayangugiraal Oru Maadhu
Oru puram vedan - Mayangugiraal oru maadhu

Pattu poochigal - Maalai Soodavaa
Aasai oru manimuththam - Maalai Soodavaa
Mazhaikkalam Varugindrathu - Pattum Bharathamum
Kollai ittavan nee thaan - Ninaithathai Mudippavan
Neerada neram nalla neram - Vaira Nenjam

Kaviri nagarinil - Vaazhndhu Kaatugiren
Engirundho oru Kural - Avan thaan Manithan
Enakkum unakkum vazhakku - Thaai veettu Seedhanam
Ezhu swarangalukkul - Apoorva Raagangal
Kelviyin Nayagane - Apoorva Ragangal

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Malligai mullai poo pandhal - Anbey Aaruyire
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A song which will definitely find a place of pride in any collection of VJ solos.

But, first about the film - Starred Sivaji, Manjula, Nagesh, Major, Sukumari and others. Directed by A.C.Thiurulogachander. The other songs include "Kamadhenuvum Somabaanamum"-TMS-PS, "Raja veedhi bavani enbathu"-TMS-PS, "Osai varaamal naam uravu kolvomey"-TMS-PS and "Pattanathu mapillaikku Bengalooru Ponnu"-TMS-LRE.

This song has a bespectacled Manjula explaining to Sivaji, on their first night, the significance of marriage and why people get married!!!

Trust MSV and VJ to come up trumps even with an impossible situation like this, and what a memorable song it turned out to be:

Malligai mullai poo pandhal
Maragatha maanikka pon oonjal
Manjal vaazhai maamarangal
Pachchai maavilai thoranangal
Ellaam etharkkaga, namakku kalyanam adharkkaga.

The song brings a traditional Tamizh kalyanam (and the shanthi muhoortham as well!) in front of our eyes. I love the place where VJ sings "Mandhiram sollum medayile, mangalam vaadhiyam muzhangayile, azhangan ungal aruginile, amarndhiruppal indha manamagale, with the lovely repetition of the last line - simply out of the world!

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Muththamizhil paada vandhen - Mel Naattu Marumagal
Singers:VJ - Music:Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan

A.P.Nagarajan's film about how a western girl gets married into an Indian household and imbibes traditional Indian values and teaches the family a thing or two return. It was now Sivakumar's turn to be paired with a foreigner, going the path traversed by MGR (Ulagam Sutrum Valiban) and Muthuraman (Uyiraa Maanamaa). Sivaji would do it later in "Pilot Premnath", as would Kamal and Rajini (Sattam En Kayil and Priya). Besides this pair, the film had Kamal and Jayasudha, the other marumagal, who despite being an Indian is attracted by western thoughts.

This song has the mel naattu marumagal singing in chaste tamizh:

Muththamizhil paada vanthen
Muruganaye vanangi nindren
Thiththikkum kumaran peyaril
Deiveega azhagai kanden

There is indeed "Deiveega azhagu" in this song. It proceeds so beautifully:

Velan endraal veeran varum
Kandan endraal karunai tharum
Shanmuganai charan adaindhaal
Sangeetham paada varum

Understandably, I love the line- Aarupadai veetil odi vilayaadum Swaminathaney, Saravananey!

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Kalaimagal kai veenai muzhanguthamma - Mel naattu Marumagal
Singers:VJ - Music:Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan

This song has VJ singing for both the marumagals, one who praises the Indian ethos and the other who is all for phirangee ideas. VJ swings so effortlessly between both the styles, though she sounds a bit contrived in the western parts. Of course, let me hasten to add that this is just my opinion, lest some indignant VJ fan should haul me over coals for making this statement!

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Pallaandu pallaandu - Mel naattu marumagal
Singers:VJ&T.K.Kala - Music:Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan

This song is sung during the "Sashtiapthapoorthi" of the parents of Sivakumar and Kamal. Lyrics by Geethapriyan.

It goes like this:

Pallaandu pallaandu vaazhiyavey
Palakodi nooraayiram nanmayellaam adaindhu—

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How wonderful—how beautiful — Melnaatu marumagal
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan

I am not really sure about the lyrics- Its been ages since I've heard it. I remember another line "Heaven seems to be very near". I vaguely remember Kamal dancing with his ex-wife Vani Ganapathi (guest appearance) for this song.

Mel Naattu Marumagal was a big hit for Kunnakkudi and Vani. Henceforth Kunnakkudi would ensure that VJ would have at least one song in all his ventures.

Other hit songs in this film: Usha Uthup's "Life is a flower" and the duet "Sugam tharum sorgalogamey" by an unknown duo - Rajesh and Manohari.

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En ullam azhagaana - Cinema Paithiyam
Singers:VJ - Music:Shankar-Ganesh

Here VJ sings the tamizh equivalent of her own "Bole re papihara". Jayachitra was the tamizh Guddi and a crazy fan of "Makkal Kalaignar" Jaishankar. Also starred Kamal, Sowcar Janaki and Major. Sivaji, JJ and a lot of other actors made special appearances. The late leader Kamaraj is said to have seen the film and commended it highly for the message it sought to convey. Hmm- sad to say incorrigible film buffs like us wouldn't learn from it!!!

Another song in the film is "Naan arindha mattil indha naatil ulla paithiyangal"-TMS.

Among the first great hits in the Shankar-Ganesh-VJ combination. She would always remain their favorite singer.

En Ullam azhagaana vellithirai
athil un vannamey pon oviyam
nizhalaadum padam endrum nee allavaa--

Kamal thinks she is singing, thinking about him. However Jayachitra is living in a fantasy, where Jaishankar is the hero, and she herself is the heroine. "Nee Kathainayagan, Mangai kathainayagi", she asserts strongly.

I love the way VJ dives low in one line and soars so high in the next--What an artist!

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Paraseega kavignanukkum - Anbu Roja
Singers:VJ - Music:Shankar-Ganesh

Can anyone help with the starcast? All I know about it is that it had two other great songs: "Enada Kanna"-AMR&PS and "Paal nilavu neram"-SPB&PS.

This song is essentially for a "Kottevaali" and would have been more at home in "Umrao Jaan". However VJ carries it off, and does it well too.

Paraseega kavignanukkum pattezhuthi thandhaval naan
Baghdad nagarathile bavaniyaai vandhaval naan
Arabia desathaye adimai kondu nindraval naan
aayiram baadshaivai azhagaale vendraval naan

(Obviously this courtesan belonged to Baghdad of pre-Saddam days!)

Then a lovely alaap follows, which is applauded by an intoxicated male voice with "Waare wah!". Then follows:

Aadaab arz mera salaam
salaam hai
Ennodu aadalaam
ellorum paadalaam

Incredible lines like "Golconda Sultan en kaal kandaan, kaal kandu en meedhu maal kondaan" follow!

Good use of instruments like harmonium, sarangi etc.

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Mazhaikaala megam maharajan vaazhga - Kasthuri Vijayam
Singers:VJ - Music:V.Kumar

A film which K.R.Vijaya solely carried on her shoulders. She enters a household and goes about setting right the numerous wrongs therein.

Another good song from the film is the PS solo-"Pallaandu pallaandu pallayiram aandu"

Mazhaikkala megam maharajan vaazhga
Vatraatha deepam sindhum oli pola vaazhga

VJ wages a veritable "Kurukshetram" in this song - seeking analogies from various characters of the Mahabharatha:

Sariyaana neram sollum Bagavaanin Geethai
than koondhal soodi kondaal Panchali kothai
Kanna un dharmam ingey, pagaivorum ingey
pangali unnai kandaal pagaiyaali engey--

Aadum pagadai kaayai uruttum Sakuni maamane
allum pagalum unnai ethirkkum naane Paarthane
Gaandeebam ingey undu, kalam ondru undu
Kanna un leelai engey vaithaayo indru--

A song which was played often on Ilangai Vaanoli in the late 70s - I remember so many hot, lazy afternoons - this song seems to belong there.

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Sorgathin thirappu vizha - Pallandu Vaazhga
Singers:VJ&KJY - Music:K.V.Mahadevan

MGR-K.Shankar's gruesome remake of Shantharam's epoch-making "Do Aankhen Baarah haath". Till this day DABH remains a milestone in Indian film-making. How utterly revolting is our version! And compare the superbly talented Sandhya's scintillating performance with our Latha's titillating exhibition- and we can see the abysmal depths to which the tamizh version had sunk.

KVM's music was the saving grace. Though he gave a song each to TK Kala (Poi vaa nadh alaiye) and PS ( Enna sugham), he reserved the best for VJ. This was perhaps the first film in which VJ worked with "Mama" and what magic they would together create in the future with Shankarabaranam, Swathi Kiranam, Sruthilayalu--

This song is a mellifluous melody, perhaps the first duet by KJY and VJ.

VJ starts off as though in a whisper:

Sorgathin thirappu vizha
pudhu cholaikku vasantha vizha
pakkathil paruva nila, ilamai tharum iniya pala
paarkkattum inba ula--

Particularly pleasing is the way in which VJ plays with the last syllable in the words "Asaindhum" and "thavazhndhum" in the repetion of the line "Megham asaindhum thavazhndhum vilayaadum vaanathiley".

The haunting humming in the interlude and KJY and VJ's repetition after each other (at the end of each saranam) of the words "Pudhu mozhigal" and "Kathai ithuvo" make you sigh with rapture! This is the stuff dreams are made of!

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Maasi Maasa kadasiyile - Pallandu Vaazhga
Singers:VJ - Music:K.V.Mahadevan

This is when the prisoners are at work and Latha comes along, playing her "kottankuchi fiddle" and selling her wares. The noise of the wheeled contraption she pulls behind her is heard throughout the song.

Kicks off with VJ's jolly humming.

Masi maasa kadasiyile machchaan vandhaaru
panguni masam paakku vechchu parisam pottaaru

Hark at her "Ammamooo" in the middle. Also, listen to the small laughter she gives between "Aasayile thudichaaru" and "Arthathodu sirichaaru"- I swear each time you hear that laughter, you get pudhu pudhu arthangal! Again listen to the bashful way she confesses "Onnu mattumaa koduthen, en ullathaye thaan koduthen"- Captivating!

- That she could sing even such a jolly folksy song, with perfect ease and with mesmerising grace, must have come as a pleasant surprise to many!

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Chella papa - Pallandu Vaazhga
Singers:VJ - Music:K.V.Mahadevan

This is when Latha plays with the kids.

VJ begins thus:

Chella papa,
unnai ondru ketpen sollu papa,
nee pirandha naatai annayaai ninaithu madhithu
nalla peyar eduppaya?

- to which the kids reply "Oh, eduppen" and VJ lauds them with "Appadi sollu" and of course, that famous "Thakathaka thai thai thakathaka thai thai--" follows.

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Pudhiyadhor ulagam seivom - Pallandu Vaazhga
Singers:VJ,TMS&Chorus - Music:K.V.Mahadevan

The only song which TMS got in Pallandu Vaazhga- an indication of the changing equations. Bharathidasan's song.

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Maanikka maamani maalayil - Thennangeetru
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:G.K.Venkatesh

The movie directed by Kovi Manisegaran starred Vijayakumar and Sujatha. Another good song in it is the KJY solo- “Aandavan potta pulliyai maatra"

This song has SPB starting and singing the first saranam too, all by himself. It begins like this:

Manikka maamani maalayil
Mangai aval thanga mugham naan kandathu

VJ makes her appearance only after the 2nd interlude. Her opening lines are –Poo mughathi oru kodi deepam kanden.

In the third saranam, listen to VJ's humming along SPB's lines: Naan varuven dhinam mundhi sandhi neram.

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Sugham Aayiram en ninaiviley - Mayangugiraal Oru Maadhu
Singers:VJ - Music:Vijayabaskar

A landmark film for Vijayabhaskar. All his four compositions for this film were super hits. SPB's "Samsaaram enbathu veenai" and KJY's " Vara vendum vaazhkkayil vasantham" remain to this day as foremost among their evergreen hits.

The film had Muthuraman, Sujatha, Vijaykumar, Fadafat Jayalakshmi and Thengai Srinivasan. It was remade in Hindi many years later as "Bezubaan" starring Shashi Kapoor, Reena Roy, Raj Kiran and Naseeruddin Shah.

The film was made memorable by two factors- One was Vijayabaskar's music, the other was Sujatha's magnificent performance. Kannadasan is said to have highly commended Sujatha after watching this film.

This song is a celebration of youth and the feelings which youth awakens in her. She wonders about the changes in her body and her longings for the touch of a man.

Sugham aayiram en ninaiviley
Ilamayin kanavu malarum valarum uraviley—

Panimalar meniyile pudhumaigal thondruthamma
Paarvaigal serumpothu paruvam angey vaaduthamma
Kaviyam paada nayagan engey— Ilamayin kanavu—

Hark at the humming between the lines "paarvaigal serumpothu" and "kaviyam paada". Again, listen to way she lowers her voice when she says "Ragasiam" in the line- "Thanimayil inimai illai ragasiyam purindhu konden"- Enchanting!

VJ sings the first line of the pallavi- Sugham aayiram en ninaiviley, around 6 times in the course of the song- and each time she manages to sing it differently! Chorus voices in the interlude add to the song's appeal. (the first and third interludes being similar).

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Oru puram vedan - Mayangugiraal oru maadhu
Singers:VJ - Music:Vijayabaskar

"Oh, what tangled webs we will have to weave, if we choose to deceive"!

Here we will have to recall more of the story to be able to have a better appreciation of this lovely song. As we have already seen earlier, Sujatha is bursting with youthful yearnings. She falls for handsome Vijaykumar and allows herself to be seduced by him. Later he vanishes, and to her dismay, she finds herself pregnant. She goes to Dr.M.N.Rajam for an abortion. Then, later when she gets married to Muthraman, she is horrified to find that he is MNRajam's brother. However, all is well, as apparently the good doctor has not revealed anything to Muthu. But her peace is short lived. Vijaykumar enters her life again as Muthu's chauffeur. And to make matters worse, her friend Fatafat marries Thengai, a photographer, who has clicked Sujatha and Vijaykumar together. He starts blackmailing her.

Whom can she turn to? Is there to be no deliverance from her wretched state? This is the situation. And what a wonderful song the joint effort of Kanndasan, Vijayabaskar and Vani has produced! Verily has Kannadasan captured her plight in evocative lines!

Oru puram vedan
Marupuram naagam
Irandukkum naduve
azhagiya kalaimaan

Ragasiya idhayam
Pala vagai thuyaram
Avan arul kidaithaal
thuyarangal vilagum

VJ is not merely a playback singer here- she is the playback actress. Hearing her fervent plea as she implores "Kanna unadhu karunayai kaattu, kaarigai vaazhvinil nimmadhi oottu" , one would almost believe it is VJ herself who is afflicted. Again listen to her despair as she laments "Yaar arivaaro oomayin kanavu"?

A remarkable hit for VJ!

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Pattu poochigal - Maalai Soodavaa
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:Vijayabaskar

The film starred Kamal and "Kannada" Manjula. I have seen it on TV long back, but don't remember anything of the story, except the college ragging scenes. Perhaps a run of the mill love story. Of course, KJY's "Yaarukku yaar sondham" was very popular those days. "Pattu poochigal" has a lot of chorus voices along with SPB and VJ.

Pattu poochigal vattam adithaal
katti anaikkum poochendu
Kattu kaaval meeri nadakkum
kaadhal vaazhiya pallandu

Maalai pozhithil leelai nadathum
vaalai paruvam thaan
Yengigindra yekkamellaam
Then kudikka thaan—

Almost sounds like a "parade" song, if you know what I mean!

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Aasai oru manimuththam - Maalai Soodavaa
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:Vijayabaskar

Another duet from the same film.

SPB: Aasai oru mani muththam padhithida aasai
VJ: Osai, malar udhattinil pirandhidum osai
SPB: Oru dharam ammamma oru dharam
VJ: Avasaram, appappa avasaram

SPB and VJ seem to have had lots of fun singing this song. Watch SPB beg "Oru dharam, please, orey dharam" and VJ chiding him "Avasaram, appa, avasaram" – especially her apparent disgust when she says "appa" in that line is a treat to listen!

However SPB's quoting law sections in his inimitable English(!) in the interludes mar the beauty of the song:

"According to section 379, whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to 3 years or with fine or with both"
"According to section 376, whoever commits rape, shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to 10 years or with fine or both"
What punishment can we think of for the person whose brainwave resulted in these insertions?

Vijaya bhaskar did 4 more films in 1975. Surprisingly VJ seems to have been excluded from them! I will list the films- can any one can confirm that VJ indeed didn't have any song in any of them?

1.Uravu Solla Oruvan- I think I'm certain that VJ didn't sing in this. The only song to have a female voice was "Pani malar neeril" and it was by PS. The other songs being " Mohan punnagai"-KJY, "Nadandha kathayai"-KJY and "Kelu papa"-SPB.

2.Unga Veetu Kalyanam- I can recall "Kannazhagil neeyum oru"-TMS-SJ, "Iyer aathu ponnu sonna"- Kovai Soundararajan-LR Anjali, "Pesaamal vaa en pakkam"-TMS-LRE. Any VJ songs?

3.Yaarukku Mapillai yaaro- I can recall only one song-the lovely "Muththukkal sindhi thiththikkum mozhiyil"-SPB-PS

4.Thottathellaam Ponnaagum- 3 great duets and all by SPB-PS: Panimalai meghangal pozhigindra kulirinil, Aavani malare Ippasi mazhaye, and Ninaithathai mudippathu

I really cannot accept that Vijayabaskar, in a single year, made 4 films without his favourite VJ.

We commenced our sojourn in 1975 with MSV (Malligai Mullai) and we'll end it also with MSV's songs with VJ. In between we dealt with her songs with other MDs during this year. It should be re-emphasised that a strong point in VJ's favour was that MSV took an immediate, though thorughly justified, liking to her.

Vijayabaskar, all said and done, was but a visitor in Tamil film music, though he left some lovely lingering memories of his brief visit lasting 5-6 years. He could never scale great heights or bag big banners, in spite of his undisputed talent. Perhaps his low profile and unassuming nature was the reason. So much so, that till today, many remember his songs, but think that they were by MSV! Perhaps he could have still been a viable alternative to MSV had not Illayaraja arrived in 1976. Vijayabaskar returned to concentrate solely on his flourishing career in Kannada films in 1980. Hence being Vijayabaskar's favourite singer, ipso facto could not have been of any significant use to VJ's career in Tamil film music.

Please bear with me for meandering a little in this context. All this is, of course, my own conclusions. From the late 50s, it was MSV who was setting the trend for Tamil film music and PS was, for all practical purposes, the only female singer in the Tamil film music in the sixties. LRE could get some songs, mostly for the vamp, or for the second heroine if there was a female duet. MSV ensured the undisputed reign of PS throughout these years. And KVM, who had given lovely songs to a variety of singers till 1959, opted for the safe path and latched on to PS too. Overnight, a host of talented voices became still. P Leela, Jikki, Jamuna Rani, TS Baghavathi, (Radha)Jayalakshmi, MS Rajeswari, Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, Ravvu Balasaraswathi, AP Komala – who were all highly accomplished and enthralled listeners in the 50s, and whose voices were still sweet, suddenly found themselves unemployed. Some of them would get a few songs – but these were few and far between.

We should, however, reserve a great portion of our sympathy for SJ. Though she made a mark with her initial songs in the late 50s, she shot to stardom with her "Sinagaravelaney deva"- Konjum salangai in 1962. Veteran MDs like G.Ramanathan, S.M.Subbiah and R.Sudarsanam recognised her tremendous potential, and gave her some memorable songs. Sadly, these MDs themselves were wiped out by the Mellisai Mannargal wave. So it was vital that SJ should find favour with MSV-TKR, if she was to survive. However, MSV-TKR had decided that PS alone would be their mascot. Hence SJ was ignored. And she was ignored in spite of the fact that in all the rare occasions when she sang for MSV-TKR, the songs turned out to be super hits. Only powerful directors who could have a say, like Sridhar, made sure that SJ sang for at least some of their films. Policekaaran Magal and Sumaithaangi had SJ at her best and the songs are immensely appealing to this day. However MSV and consequently Tamil film music, firmly shut out SJ and she found solace in Malayalam and Kannada films, which welcomed her with open arms.

However, towards the end of the 60s, when a younger set of actors was coming up, a certain freshness was becoming increasing necessary in the music as well. MSV realised that if he had to remain where he was, he could no longer afford to continue giving all songs in a film to PS. Demand for variety was becoming stronger day by day. So, though he wouldn't give up PS entirely, she no longer got all the songs in a film. SJ gained by this and reminded people of her infinite talent by singing some great songs under MSV in the early 70s.

However the entry of VJ marked a complete change in MSV. He found in VJ all that he hoped for and more. He became sufficiently emboldened to completely exclude PS from even some of his biggest movies. He gained immediate confidence in her skills and gave her some challenging songs right from the beginning. Till the end of MSV's career, VJ would be a principal part of his entourage. So MSV's acceptance of VJ was the final seal of approval and Tamil film music embraced her lovingly.

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Mazhaikkalam Varugindrathu - Pattum Bharathamum
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Perhaps the last film of the Sivaji-JJ pair. Directed by P.Madhavan. Sivaji in a dual role as father and son. Also starring Sripriya, Vijayakumar, and Sukumari among others. The film flopped, the lovely songs notwithstanding. Both Sivaji and JJ come as classical dancers and the younger Sivaji comes as a "pop" singer called Arun. ( The only, perhaps, where you got to see a bespectacled JJ as she ages!). Other songs include the classical "Sivakami aada vandhaal"-TMS-PS, "Maanthorana veedhiyil"-TMS-PS, the soulful "Deivathin thereduthu"-TMS and SPB's "My song is for you". The last mentioned being for the younger Sivaji, where SPB breaks into "Ennadi Rakkamma" towards the end!

The song starts off with MSV's chant:

Thirisoolam sathiyam
Pulitholil thaththuvam,
Nagamani mandhiram,
Naan maraigal sundaram—

VJ enters with

Mazhaikkaalam varugindrathu
then malar thottam therikindrathu
Pon mani osai ketkindrathu
ennai valai veesi azhaikkindrathu—

Lovely lines, emphasizing the mood—listen to the expression of tremulous melancholy in the repetition of the line "Alankaram kalaiyaamal dhinam vaadugindren". Again, watch how hope reverberates as she sings the lines "Avan koyil karpooram enakkaga eriyum, avan megham dhinandhorum ennakkaga pozhiyum".

How happy would have MSV been to get a singer like VJ!

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Kollai ittavan nee thaan - Ninaithathai Mudippavan
Singers:VJ&PS - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Now thanks again to, I am hearing this song. The song begins with the sound of anklets, and indeed seems to be a dance song, with both Latha and Manjula trying to claim MGR's love.

PS: Kollai ittavan nee thaan
Kotti vaithavan nee thaan
Kannam ittavan nee thaan
Illai endru unadhu thaai mel aanai ittu sol!

PS: Kollai ittavan nee thaan
VJ: en ullathai
PS: Kotti vaithavan nee thaan
VJ: nal inbathai
PS: Kannam ittavan nee thaan
VJ: en kannathil
Kandu kondaval naan thaan-un ennathai!

Hark at how VJ presses her suit with prompt rejoinders to PS’s lines!

Other songs in this MGR starrer that were more popular "Oruvar meedhu oruvar saaindhu"-TMS-PS, "Poomazhai thoovi" and "Kannai nambathey"-both TMS.

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Neerada neram nalla neram - Vaira Nenjam
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A catastrophe for both Sivaji and Sridhar. There was a lot of hype about this film and it was some years in the making. Initially, it was supposed to be released earlier and was even titled optimistically as "Hero 74" or something like that. It was in this film that Sridhar introduced Padmapriya, who had her brief tenure of glory in tamil films. She would also feature in some of VJ's best songs in this period. An enchanting duet by TMS-PS "Senthamizh paadum sandhana kaatru" is also from this film.

This film featured Sivaji in a James Bond type of a role, with Muthuraman playing a supporting role.

This song became a raging hit even before the film was released and with the pictures of pretty Padmapriya being published in all magazines, everyone was imagining Padmapriya dancing to this song. So imagine the horror, when it was CID Shakunthala in all her glory, whom Sridhar unleashed on an unsuspecting public! That the song remains popular, in spite of CID, is a telling indication of how VJ could carry off a song on her own.

I am not ashamed to say that this song remains among my favorite VJ songs!

Neerada neram nalla neram
Poraada poovai nalla poovai
Meni oru paalaadai
Minnuvathu noolaadai

VJ stamps her class on this cabaret number. Watch how she brings in unexpected beauty by prolonging the last syllable in the line "Kamalam malara kandaayo" and again in the line "Vairam undu vizhigalile". Hear her slur over the word "bodhai" when she sings "Bodhayudan oodaada". Listen to her versatile variations in her repetitions of the lines "Pothum ithu naam kooda" and "Arugil vandhu nil nil nil" – and you'll understand MSV's foresight in giving this to VJ, and not to LRE, so typical of the 70s.

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Kaviri nagarinil - Vaazhndhu Kaatugiren
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A strictly avoidable film starring Muthuraman, Sujatha and Padmapriya. Sujatha playing Kannagi to Padmapriya's Madhavi. What a colossal waste of talented artists!

This song has two versions. The one featuring Padmapriya is sung by VJ and Sujatha's version by PS. (Of course, the lyrics also differ appropriately). Another good song from the film is "Kotti kidandhathu kani irandu"-SPB,PS.

This song is sung by Padmapriya on stage at the Wedding Reception of Muthu-Sujatha. The lyrics give a clear indication of Padmapriya's intentions. Muthu making eyes at her and Sujatha looking sufficiently irate.

Kaviri nagarinil kadarkkarai orathil Madhavi aada vandhaal
Oru mannavan kooda vandhan—
Avar pooviri manjathil porundhiya pinbe Kannagi vaazhavandhaal
Adhayum Madhavi kaanavandhaal-

She seems to assert that he was her man much before he married Sujatha. And she will continue to be a part of his life. In the following lines she suggests hopefully that Muthu will soon tire of Sujatha, and will find solace in her own arms.

"Thiru" vum, "manam"um serndhathuthaane thirumanam endruraithaar,
angu thiru ver aagavum, manam ver aagavum, iruvarum thanithirundhaar,
maalai anindhaval sooriyan poley kaaigindra gunamum undu-
anaal mayakkathil vandhaval ven mathi poley manathinai kulirvathundu—

She gives a veiled threat to Sujatha, hinting that she will be following a "Wait and Watch" policy-
Aayiram kaalathu thendralai poley vaazhiya kulamagaley,
Unnai aruginil irundhu paarthu kondiruppaal azhagiya kalai magaley

Kannadasan, with his known felicity, thus brings beauty even to a pedestrian situation like this. And VJ, in her own sweet way, makes it a memorable song.

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Engirundho oru Kural - Avan thaan Manithan
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I have not seen this film- so I have no idea about the situation. Can some one help? I know it starred Sivaji, Manjula, JJ and Muthuraman and was directed by AC Thirulogachandar. I have seen the lovely TMS-PS duet "Anbu nadamaadum kalaikoodamey" on TV (Sivaji, Manjula, Singapore). The other songs – solos by TMS- "Oonjalukku Poochooti", "Manithan ninaippathundu" and "Aatuvittaar yaar oruvar" were also very popular and were played often on the radio in the late 70s.

The songs begins with a lovely humming by VJ and proceeds beautifully:

Engirundho oru kural vandhathu-
athu endha devadhayin kuralo?
Engal deepangalil oli vandhathu-
athu endha kailgal thandha oliyo?

Thaazham kudaigal thazhuvum kodigal
Thaamarai pookalin thotram
Maalai manigal mandira kanigal
Mazhalai endrodru thotram
Maalayile oru madhi vandhathu
athu endha vaanathu madhiyo?
Mayamaaga oru oli vandhathu
athu endha alayathin maniyo?

-An enchanting song, sung engagingly by VJ - don't you dare miss the softening in the last line in the end "Athu endha devathayin kuralo" ?

Nichayammaga, ithu Engal Devadhayin kural thaan!

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Enakkum unakkum vazhakku - Thaai veettu Seedhanam
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The film starred KR Vijaya, with either Jaishankar or Ravichandran as the hero. Other good songs in it include "Kaalathai vellum intha kaadhal vaazhga"-KJY-PS, and "Yaarukkum vaazhkkai undu"- MSV.

Enakkum unakkum vazhakku
Irandum sugathin kanakku
Kai inaithu,
Naam kalandhaal enna—

Today's singers could learn a thing or two from VJ's enunciation- Listen to her lines, where she distinguishes "la" and "La" so clearly:

ULLam thannil uLLam ondru oLigindrathu
PaLLam kandu veLLam vandhu paaigindrathu—


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Ezhu swarangalukkul - Apoorva Raagangal
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

What does one say about this immortal song, which has not been said already? Do phrases like " the sparkling jewel in the crown of VJ" or "the brightest feather in her cap" do any justice to the ethereal beauty of this song? Can mere words describe the auditory ecstasy that thrills you even the 100th time you listen to it? Can you ever, ever tire of listening to it?

I've listened to it as a child, listened to it as a teenager, listened to it when in my 20s, and am listening to it as I have commenced my 30s-- I've listened to it at the crack of dawn, listened to it in drowsy, ennui filled afternoons, and listened to it in the still of night—I've listened to it when delirious with joy, when overwhelmed with sorrow, when jumping with excitement, when inconsolable with disappointment, when recuperating from illness, while at home, when at work, while travelling,- and even now each time I listen to it again, I am drenched anew with a sense of rapture, with peace, hope and faith. What magical potion have Kannadasan, MSV and VJ jointly concocted- how wonderfully it serves as an elixir for depression, nay a musical panacea for all ills!

Ezhu swarangalukkul eththanai paadal
Idhayachurangathull eththanai kelvi
Kaanum manitharukkul eththanai salanam
Verum karpanai sandhoshathil avanadhu gavanam—

Kaalai ezhundhavudan naalaya kelvi
Adhu kaiyil kidaitha pinnum thudikkuthu aavi
Yen endra kelvi ondru endraikkum thangum
Manithan inbam thunbam ethilum kelvi thaan minjum

Enakkaga nee azhalaam iyarkkayil nadakkum
Nee enakkaga unavu unna eppadi nadakkum?
Namakkendru bhoomiyile kadamaigal undu-
adhai namakkaaga nam kaiyaal seivathu nandru

Aarambathil pirappum un kaiyil illai
Endrum aduththadutha nadappum un kaiyil illai
Paadhai vaguththa pinbu bayandhenna laabam, adhil
Payanam nadathi vidu, maraindhidum paavam!

Naalai pozhuthu endrum namakkena vaazhga
Athai nadatha oruvan undu, kovilil kanga
Velai pirakkum endru nambikkai kolga
Endha vedhanayum maarum meghathai pola!

What a song! What a comforting assurance of "God is in his heaven and all is well with the world"!

The picturisation was a major disappointment, though. Who would have thought that this masterpiece would be wasted for the titles? (MRB (M.R.Bhairavi=Srividya) singing for "Karthik Fine Arts"). Isn't it absolutely to VJ's credit that this song fetched her the National award for the best female playback singer of 1975, despite being bereft of any "situational" value in the film's story?

I have heard from various people-people who ought to know-that this song is a Ragamaligai- that the foundation of this elegant edifice is in Panthu varali-though it has short and sweet forays into Khamboji and Sindhu Bhairavi, it unfailingly returns to base Panthu varali. (Please correct me if I'm wrong). Learned musicologists were said to be awed by this complex composition. Even, Subbudu, if I remember right, finding it without blemish, comforted himself in faulting Srividya's thaalam!!

This song will transcend aeons- it has a magical timeless quality about it. Posterity will discover afresh the beauty of Vani's voice - generations to come will scarce believe that such a singer existed, and will never forgive our lot for being myopic enough to banish this exquisite artist, when still in her prime, from the portals of Tamil film music.

Take heart, friends, with "Neela", there is hope yet. Velai pirakkum endru nambikkai kolga.

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Kelviyin Nayagane - Apoorva Ragangal
Singers:VJ&B.S.Sasirekha - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I don't think I have to dwell on the situation - everyone I'm sure is familiar with this twisted tale, with a twist in the tail. VJ is the Aadhi and the Antham of the film. It begins with her "Ezhu Swarangalukkul" and ends with her "Kelviyin Nayaganey".

Another Cutcheri song. If "Ezhu swarangal" lacked in situational value, "Kelviyin nayagane" had it in abundant measure. Kannadasan (he makes a brief appearance too, playing himself, in the film), gives a brief synopsis of the story in the song and proceeds to entangle the mess as well. Everything falls into its rightful place in the course of this long song. Indeed, "A place for everyone and everyone in his/her place" seems to be the theme of this song- "Yaarum irukkum idathil irundhukondaal ellam sowkkiyamey"- to borrow the great bard's words from another film!

Each saranam is replete with striking analogies- "Pasuvidam kandru vandhu paal arundhum, kandru paal arundhum pothaa kaalai varum" and "Thalaivaan Thiruchanoor vandhu vittan, Devi dharma darisanathai thedugiraan" - hark at VJ's emotion-choked prolonging of "theduginraan"-astounding!

B.S.Sasirekha (Jayasudha) comes to her rescue as she breaks down after asking, with a sob, "Indha kelvikku—"? Then there is a lovely musical conversation between the re-united mother and daughter. What pregnant questions by the anxious mother and what equally loaded answers by the reassuring daughter.

VJ: Oru kannum maru kannum paarthu kondaal,
BSS: Paarthu kondaal?
VJ: Avai ondrodu ondru sollum seithi enna?
BSS: Iru kannum ondraaga serndhu vittal,
Avai irandukkum paarvayile bedham enna
VJ: Bedham maraindhadhendru kooru kanne
BSS: Namadhu vedham thanai marandhu nadakkum munne
VJ: Kanne un kaalam sendra kathai enna?
BSS: Unnai kaana pizhaithirundhen, veru enna?!
VJ: Udal Eppadi?
BSS: Munbu irundhaarpadi!
VJ: Manam Eppadi?
BSS: Nee virumbumpadi!

VJ continues alone with "Pazhani malayil ulla vel Muruga" when Prasanna (Kamal) goes back to his father (Major). All is well that ends well—er-not quite- MRB finds her husband (Rajini)—dead!

I think that completes the 1975's journal – an unforgettable year for VJ.

In 1975, perhaps I should have added that short, lovely swara bit in Apoorva Ragangal. Srividya hums a few swaras while bathing, when Kamal responds with the mirudangam. Surprised, she continues, and she comes out, singing, to see who is playing the mirudangam. An excellent Vani-mirudangam duet!

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