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

To Song List

We now come to 1976. We had earlier seen the meteoric rise of VJ and how all the top ranking MDs of the period vied with one another in giving her challenging and memorable songs. MSV, who was still the monarch among the MDs, had infused fresh sound to his music by making a winning combination with her. VJ was singing for the older heroines - KRVijaya, Jayalalitha, as well as the next generation - Sujatha, Latha, Manjula, Srividya, Jayachitra. And winning the exalted National Award as well, at the threshold of 1976, she looked all set to fly higher and higher.

But, as we all know, 1976 was a watershed year for tfm, for it marked the arrival of Illayaraja. TFM would never be the same again. In fact, many tend to view tfm in two distinct timeframes - Pre-IR and Post-IR. The arrival of Ilayaraja had far reaching consequences.

MSV found himself suddenly removed from centre stage (though he would continue to give many excellent songs for some more years). Vijayabhaskar, who had 6 films in 1975, had only 2 in 1976 and the numbers dwindled as the years went by. Soundaryame varuga varuga (1980) was his swansong in tfm. V.Kumar, who showed so much promise, found his career abruptly cut short. KVM would continue to show flashes of his former self in a few films here and there, but he had plenty of films in Telugu. Shankar-Ganesh were the only ones not really affected - they never had any pretensions to greatness - they were all along working for small-budget/B-grade films (with some excellent exceptions, of course) – and these films continued to fall on their lot in greater numbers.

So, steadily and surely, Ilayaraja became "The Name Above The Title". No MD had wielded so much power before. Most of the big banners, big films, new-wave directors, and many of the veteran ones too, latched on to him.

And with IR, came SJ with an emphatic bang. She had waited in the sidelines for too long and this was the moment she was waiting for. IR was her messiah to glory, fame and critical acclaim. With "Machanai Paartheengala" and "Annakili Unnai Theduthey", overnight she got the adulation and recognition which had eluded her for 20 years- (Her first song was released in 1957). Janaki had arrived, finally. And she would only grow from strength to strength, and would firmly hang on to the numero uno position for at least the next decade.

However, she would never monopolize the field the way PS did in the 60s. Though she was IR's prima donna, there were only a handful of films in which she was the only female singer. In most of IR's films, SJ would share the honors with one or more of others like PS, VJ, Jency, SPS, BSS and UR. And in many of IR's big hits, SJ was completely excluded, but these were stray exceptions. SJ would always be a perennial presence in IR's music. And with IR firmly backing her, other MDs too would start to give her songs in greater numbers. In fact MSV would give her more songs in the next 7-8 years, than what he had given her in the 20 years before Annakkili.

This, to a great extent, affected VJ's growth. As all the MDs who patronized her gradually lost their relevance, VJ's songs too would gradually reduce in number, though not in allure. However IR gave VJ some of her best songs in these years.

Let us now trace VJ’s songs in 1976:


Kannan Kovil Paravai ithu - Akka
Nilavu Theivathu - Akka
Maalaimalar pandhal - Akka
Idhuthaan mudhal raathiri - Oorukku Uzhaippavan
Kodivitta Sirumullai - Mayor Meenakshi

Thirumurugan Aruginiley - Mayor Meenakshi
Irundhaal ozhunga iru - Mayor Meenakshi
Kalyyaanamey Oru pennoduthaan - Lalitha
Sorgathiley mudivaanathu - Lalitha
Naan oru vagayinil - Oru Kodiyil Iru Malargal

Aadi velli thedi unnai - Moondru Mudichu
Vasantha kaala nadhigaliley - Moondru Mudichu
Aththani Mandapathil - Maharasi Vaazhga
Isaithuraiyil enakku kaadhal - Maharasi Vaazhaga
Vaanathil paduthu - Veedu Varai Uravu

Anbey un peyar enna - Idayamalar
Chendumalli poo pol - Idayamalar
Saamathil pootha malli - Ungalil Oruthi
Neeyum vaazha vendum - Chitra Pournami
Aagayathil thottil kattum - Thunivey Thunai

No No No - Unakkaga Naan
Avaley en kaadhali - Perum Pugazhum
Aaramba kaalam - Payanam
Pazhathottam en thottam - Uzhaikkum Karangal
Kandhanukku maalaiyittaal - Uzhaikkum Karangal

Naadhamenum kovililey - Manmatha Leelai
Chabalam Salanam - Oh Manju
Manamagaley - Kalangalil Aval Vasantham
Paadum Vande Parthathunda - Kalangalil Aval Vasantham
Anbenum sudaraal - Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham

Mudhal mudhal varum - Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham
Sangeetham ragangal illamala - Moham 30 varusham
Gangai Nadhiyoram Raman Nadandhaan - Varaprasadam
Ninaipathu Niraiverum - Ninaipathu Niraiverum
Ennendru Solvenadi - Ninaipathu Niraiverum

Naal Nalla Naal - Panakkaara Penn
Madhukkinnam yendhungal - Mittai Mummy
Aandavanilla Ulagamedhu - Oru Oodhaappoo Kann Simittugirathu

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Kannan Kovil Paravai ithu - Akka
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air

I can never, never understand why this magnificent song did not hit the popularity charts. Did the song of the Annakili stifle the voice of this Kannan kovil paravai?

Akka, I remember, starred KRV and Jaiganesh. I remember seeing a record of the film, the cover showing KRV sitting as though giving a cutcheri. Maybe she tried to do another MRB? Can anyone who has seen the film throw more light on the story?

Kannan Kovil Paravai ithu Karunai mannan deepam ithu Annal kadalin odam ithu Adhu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu

Brindavanathin mullai ithu
Perumaan tholin killai ithu
Krishna nadhiyin vellam ithu
Adhu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu

Devaki maindan adimai ithu
Andha devanukke ini udamai ithu
Yadhava, Madhavan maalai ithu
Adhu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu

Gopiar paadum geetham idhu
Gokula veenayin naadham ithu
Arjunan ariyaa Geethai ithu
Adhu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu

Bama Rukmani paadham ithu
Paarijaatham vazhangiyathu
Avanai nambiya paavai ithu
Adhu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu

A great Cutcheri song, with the usual accompaniments of violin, mirudangam, ghatam and tampura. VJ at her classical best, her training assisting her in no small measure. The entire song is punctuated by spellbinding and swift swara sojourns (especially towards the end) and amazing alaaps. The brighas are reminiscent of the great S.Varalakshmi in her prime. Also mention must be made of the subtle variations in each repetition of the refrain "Athu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu". Definitely among VJ's best songs. In fact I would not hesitate to rate this right along with "Ezhu swarangalukkul" and "Sugamaana Ragangalaey".

If you had wondered at VJ's exclusion from MSV's famous private album "Krishnaganam", don't worry on that count, this song is equal to all the songs of Krishnanganam put together. Maybe Kannadasan and MSV felt that too!!!

Many may recognise the similarity in structure, which this song shares with the pathos filled "Deviyin kovil paravai ithu, Thirunaal ettrum deepam ithu"-SJ, from "Avalukkendru oru manam". Both songs are by Kannadasan and tuned by MSV. While the line "Athu thaan ippodhu paaduvathu" recurs at the end of each verse, the corresponding 4th line in "Deviyin Kovil" is "Kanneer ezhuthum kavithai ithu". However, while "Deviyin Kovil" is an emotional cascade, "Kannan Kovil" is a classic, soulful Krishnaganam.

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Nilavu Theivathu - Akka
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Another superb solo from the same film. This time, it’s a haunting, philosophical song. Perhaps an asareeri. It has an eerie air about it, which is difficult to fathom, without knowing the situation.

It begins with an arresting humming.

Nilavu theivathu valarvatharkkaaga
Nee arivaai kanne
Neram pirandhaal, ninaiththu nadakkum
yen azhuthaai kanne?

The song holds a ray of hope to the damsel in distress and VJ's voice adopts a tone of concern and soothing solicitude throughout.

Oru naal manadhil amaidhi
Maru naal adhile thuyaram
Maaridum, illai maatruvom
Unmai yenadi azhavendum?

Another gem, lost and buried in the sands of time.

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Maalaimalar pandhal - Akka
Singers:VJ,SPB - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Unusual duet, as VJ has only Sa ri and no vari!!! I mean she sings only swaras, while SPB gets the words. In way, a forerunner of Sippi irukkuthu (Varumayin Niram sigappu). But a masterful composition by MSV, as usual.

Maalai malar pandhal itta megam
Mangayidam sangolikkum ragam
Kodi nagai pinnalitta dhegam
Gopurathil Etri vaitha deepam

The interlude music follows the path of VJ's swarams – I love the place where SPB follows VJ with "Ival thirumagal,Pugazh tharum Aval, thunai en vaazhvil Avan thandha dheiveegam".

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Idhuthaan mudhal raathiri - Oorukku Uzhaippavan
Singers:VJ,KJY - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A MGR starrer, in which he played a dual role, with Vanishri and Vennira Adai Nirmala. Usual MGR stuff. What was unusual was that TMS did not have a single song in it. All the songs were hits and all were by KJY. While "Iravu paadagan oruvan vandhaan"-KJY is a short caressing lullaby, "Pillai tamizh paadugiren"-KJY is a superb song having a poignant situational value. The other duet "Azhagenum oviyam ingey"-KJY-PS, also became popular.

The song begins with a humming by both the singers.

KJY: Ithu thaan mudhal raathiri
Anbu kaadhali ennai aadhari

VJ: Thalaiva, konjam kaathiru
Vetkam ponadhum ennai serthiru

Na.Kamarasan sings paeans to the Puratchi Thalaivar in refreshing lyrics:

Kaigalil vaari vazhangiya Paari
thandhaano nee thandha maadhiri?

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Kodivitta Sirumullai - Mayor Meenakshi
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Another K.R.Vijaya film, one among the many wherein she is the chief protagonist and the hero (Jaishankar in this case) is a mere dummy. Many of these films were produced by KRV herself! Indeed if we scrutinize the 70s, we find that she was a hero among the heroines, and easily the greatest crowd puller. Many films did brisk business on her name alone!

Mayor Meenakshi had KRV in the role of a scavenger who rises to the high office of the Mayor, much to the dismay of the wily V.K.Ramasamy whom she crosses swords with frequently. Meenakshi continues to appear with a broom and bucket, lest she should forget her humble roots! As it happens, her husband, Jai, is in the enemy camp. After many predictable twists and turns, all is well that ends well.

Another solo is the eternally appealing "Evalo oru pennaam" by PS.

"Kodi vitta" is a song preaching socialism, perhaps KRV singing to a small child, with the child responding with a mouth organ. I vaguely remember, many reels later, the child being kidnapped and held in a highrise building and playing the same tune on the mouth organ to attract the attention of KRV, who is passing below - a la King Richard and John the minstrel, or Daisy Irani and Rajasulochana for an inspiration nearer home!

Kodi vitta siru mullai malarey
Ezhil kovilil sirikkindra silaye
Ulagai padaithavan Iraivan
Athil oorai eikkum oruvan

Simple catchy lyrics - VJ reciting the opening lines in prose form is an aural delight!

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Thirumurugan Aruginiley - Mayor Meenakshi
Singers:VJ,JC - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Perhaps the first song of the pair who would give ever so many dreamy duets in the future - P.Jayachandran and Vani. I always feel that Jayachandran was VJ's best singing partner - somehow there was magic in the air whenever the two sang together.

Another popular duet from the film was "Kanden kalyana pen pondra megham"-SPB-PS.

While "Kanden kalayana" was by Jai-KRV, "Thirumurugan aruginiley" was filmed on the second pair - Vijayakumar and Sripriya.

This song begins with a humming by JC & VJ.

JC: Thirumurugan aruginiley Valli kurathi
VJ: Nee poomaalai pon oonjal pottal vaaren kannala
Vaaren kaannala, ethirpaarthe ninnala

VJ's charming repetition of the first line with subtle emphasis on the last syllables of the first two words is memorable, as also her rendition of the lines "Valai karam mella thottu vayaadum pothu, ananda leelai aramba velai athu thane".

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Irundhaal ozhunga iru - Mayor Meenakshi
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I don't remember this song much. It has been ages since I heard it last. Was it MSV whose voice is also heard in this song? I very vaguely remember the admonishing line "Gammunnu kada"!

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Kalyyaanamey Oru pennoduthaan - Lalitha
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Valampuri Somanathan's remake of "Kora Kaagaz" starring an over the hill Gemini Ganesh and Sujatha. It was Sujatha's scintillating performance, which was the saving grace of the film.

Sujatha is the rich daughter of Calcutta Viswanathan and Sukumari. She falls in love with Gemini, a poor lecturer in her college. She adamantly marries him in the face of stiff opposition from her status conscious mother. Then the usual problems in such situations crop up - for poor as Gemini may be, he values dignity and self-respect. And the constant, veiled and sometimes direct barbs of Sukumari do nothing to help the situation — leading to their separation - and several years and heartburns later they patch up.

Their problems start on their first night itself and Gemini is understandably miffed. This song has Lalitha trying to pacify him and coaxing him to come to bed to consummate their marriage, not in so many words, of course! Watch VJ clothe even seduction with a winsome veneer of dignity - Can any one else even dream of it? Class always shows, and how!!

Kalyaaname oru pennoduthaan
Ithil yaar enna sonnaalum oor enna sonnaalum
Un vaazhvu ennoduthaan!

Thaayin veedu, pennai petru, thaarai vaarkkum varai
Pennin veedu, kaalakaalam, thalaivan azhaikkum varai
Pallikkoodam thaayodu mudiyum
Palli mudiyathandro

Again VJ's caressing play while whisperingly reciting the line "Oodal konjam naduvil vandhaal koodal sugamaavathu" is a treat to listen! Hark at her bashful "Indha vilakkam edharkkaaga chonnen - indru edhaavathu - hmmhmm - indru edhaavathu?" That 'hmm hmm' alone is enough to do the trick! What an accomplished playback actress is our VJ!

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Sorgathiley mudivaanathu - Lalitha
Singers:VJ,SPB - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The 25th Wedding anniversary celebration of Calcutta Viswanathan and Sukumari - song by Sujatha and her brother Kamal. In fact, the HMV record of "Lalitha" shows a suited and coated Kamal playing the piano, with a wigged Sujatha looking heavily made up and pensive.

Gemini, as usual, is conspicuously absent at the party, and Sujatha is beginning to feel the rot that has set in - she subtly voices her disillusionment in poignant words.

SPB gets off to a lively start:

Sorgathiley mudivaanathu
Sondhathile nilayaanathu
Vaazhnaalellam valamaanathu
Ivar vaazhvu thaan vaazhvenbathu

VJ's entry changes the mood of the song, as Lalitha pours forth her despondency:

Deepathil ondru karpooram ondru
erigindrathingey ondraaga nindru
ellamum kovil ellamum deepam
erigindra deepam silar kanda laabam
eriyaatha deepam, silar seitha paavam
Nayagan nayagi baavam kaanbathu kovilil kaangindra kaatchi
Naan athai kanden verethai solven, thadukindrathey manasaatchi

VJ's slow and sorrow drenched rendition of the line "eriyaatha deepam silar seitha paavam" is truly heartrending! Can even the stone-hearted amongst us remain unmoved when hearing the emotional appeal in the lines "Ther kodu vandhen, silai matrum illai, seer thandha veetil thunai matrum illai"?

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Naan oru vagayinil - Oru Kodiyil Iru Malargal
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I have not seen the film, but I have a rough idea that Jaishankar plays Sujatha's brother, and Srikanth plays her pair. The two versions (both appealing in their own distinct way) of "Kannanin sannathiyil" strengthen my belief about the story line.

This solo by VJ seems to have come a distant third after these two songs, as far as popularity goes. Yet, it is another gem from the MSV-VJ team. In a way it is like "Chandira pirai paarthen" – the heroine relates the story of her marriage in lovely, meaningful lyrics. Going by the words, her life should be filled with happiness, but there is a feeling of pathos in the song, I wonder why?

Naan oru vagayinil koduthu vaithen
Nalla kanavanin nizhal kandu
adaikkalam avan endru
naan pala kanavugal padaithu vaithen

Kanmalarndha poonkodi
Kai odindha painkili
than kurayai koorinaal
Thalaivanidam vendinaal
Penn paarkka vandhavan
kann vazhiye pesinaan
pon maname selvamaai
poo mudikka enninaan

Naalu vagai vedamum
Naadaswara geethamum
Osai idum naalile
Maalai itten tholile
Aasaiyennum deepamum
Anbu magal roopamum
Aanazhagan kovilil
amarndhadhamma kaavalil

Paal nilavin saatchiyaai
Then nilavin kaatchigal
eerudalum paarthathu
or iravil nerndhathu
Then kudithu oindhathu
Poovidhazhgal kaaindhathu
Naan paditha mandiram
Kodi inbam vaaindhathu

A ballad with romantic lyrics and VJ bring life and meaning to each word. Hark at her taking off in the second "Naan" and softening in the repetition of "Koduthu vaithen" - Indha paadalai kettavargal koduthu vaithavargal!

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Aadi velli thedi unnai - Moondru Mudichu
Singers:VJ,JC - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The launching pad for Sridevi as a heroine in tamizh films. She had appeared as a child artist earlier in many films (Babu, Nam Naadu, Engal Kuladeivam, Julie and Thirumangalyam, to list a few) and this was her debut as a heroine. Though it was not an easy role to essay, she carried it off effortlessly, making this a memorable film in her long career. Kamal, of course, had tutelage earlier under KB in films like Arangetram, Sollathaan Ninaikiren, Aval oru thodarkathai and Apoorva Ragangal - he appeared as the lover of Sridevi and dies halfway. And Rajini made a mark as the stylish villain, who has a change of heart in the end. Under the expert supervision of KB, these three fresh faces brought to life the characters of Selvi, Balaji and Prasad.

There were three songs in the film, two by VJ-JC and the third ‘Aval oru kathanayagi’ by PS-LRE.

This song is in the "Andhaadhi" pattern, with Kannadasan at his lyrical best.

It is in some cultural show, where Kamal and Sridevi are in the audience. It is an Andhaadhi competition between boys and girls. Sivachandran and Meera, both of whom KB would formally introduce in his Pattina Pravesam the next year, appear as participants, and recite the opening lines.

Balaji and Selvi are transported to dreamland and we see them, not skiing down Alpine slopes or bungee jumping in New Zealand, but merely walking amidst the ancient trees of Adyar Theosophical Society! How simple were the celluloid lovers of 1976!

JC: Aadivelli thedi unnai naan adaindha neram
Kodi invam naadi vandhen Kaviriyin oram

VJ: Orakkannil oora vaiththa then kavithai chaaram
Osai indri pesuvathu aasaiyennum vedham

JC: Vedham solli melamittu medai kandu aadum
Meththai kandu thaththai ondru viththai pala naadum

VJ: Naadum ullam koodum ennam pesum mozhi mounam
Ragam thannai moodi vaiththa veenai aval chinnam

JC: Chinnammikka vannakkili vannachilai kolam
Ennai aval pinnikkolla endru varum kaalam

VJ: Kaalamithu kaalamendru kaadhal deivam paadum
Gangai nadhi pongum kadal sangamathil koodum!

Kaviarasaraa Kokka! What wonderful lyrics, interwoven so skilfully into the Andhaadhi pattern!

Unobtrusive music by MSV, he knows well when he has to adakkivaasichify, for don't the lyrics themselves have music in them? Nonetheless, he shows his craft in the enchanting chorus bits in the interludes. The "hahaha" ending in "aasayennum vedham", as though reminding JC of the word he has to commence with, and the "namthananthanam"—ending with "Veenai aval chinnam", giving JC his cue again are simply out of the world! VJ's humming along with JC's pallavi, and her voice merging with the chorus in the end, give this song a dreamy finish.

Let us leave Balaji and Selvi there. Kanavin mayalogathiley avargal kalandhey ullasam kaanattum.

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Vasantha kaala nadhigaliley - Moondru Mudichu
Singers:VJ,JC - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

It seems Kannadasan hadn't recovered from the "Andhaadhi" bug, for this song also is a lovely lyrical play in the same pattern.

Here we find Balaji and Selvi, with the unwelcome addition of Prasad, two men and a woman in a boat (with due apologies to Jerome K Jerome!), innocent Balaji happily playing the mouth organ, blissfully unaware of his bosom pal's obsession with Selvi, Selvi trying to ignore Prasad, and sing with her beloved, and Prasad, rowing the boat, with his disarming smile masking his evil machinations.

JC: Vasanthakaala nadhigaliley, vaira mani neeralaigal Neeralaigal meedhiniley nenjirandin ninaivalaigal

VJ: Ninaivalaigal thodarndhu vandhaal, neramellam kanavalaigal Kanavalaigal valarvadharkku Kaman avan malarkkanaigal

JC: Malarkkanaigal paaindhuvittal madi irandum panjanaigal Panjanaiyil pallikkondaal manam irandum thalaiyanaigal

VJ: Thalaiyanaiyil mugham pudhaithu, sarasamidum pudhukkalaigal Pudhu kalaigal peruvadharkku poomaalai manavinaigal

VJ simply scintillates in this song, be it her singing the verse "Ninaivalaigal thodarndhu" in two different pitches, or her stunning humming in the interlude, or her shy utterance of the word "sarasam", or the laughter she shares with JC towards the end - hark at how she utters "Poo", and then breaks helplessly into giggles - Superb!

Of course, there in no necessity for us to recollect that there now is a sudden catastrophe, and Balaji falls overboard and drowns, Selvi is shell-shocked, but Prasad, with a ghoulish relish, looks on, and sings a few triumphant lines in MSV's voice — as Balaji's suddenly orphaned mouth-organ is seen floating on the water.

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Aththani Mandapathil - Maharasi Vaazhga
Singers:VJ,PS - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Can any one recollect the star cast of this film? I have a vague memory of K.R.Vijaya and perhaps Pramila (as seen on "Oliyum Oliyum" thousands of Fridays ago). All the songs, however, are fresh in my memory. Other songs include "Kandha Muruga unnai kaana"-PS and "Paalirukkuthu pazhamirukkuthu"-TMS-LRE.

This song has PS reiterating the importance of achcham, madam, naanam, etc of chaste womanhood and VJ responding that wealth is more important than all the qualities PS is waxing eloquent on.

PS: Aththaani mandapathil muthu muthu deepam Annathin thogai poley velli minnal kolam Thaai sonna neethi - karpu ennum jothi Thandhai sonna vedham - thanmaana deepam

VJ: Selvam enbathu vandha pinbu thaan irunda veetilum deepam Endha paadhayum sendru paarkkalaam vaazhvil ennathaan paavam Ilamayin degham inbamenum ragam Enna vandha pothum, vandha varai yogam

PS rebuts VJ’s reply with
Kodi pengalai bhoomi kandathu
Deivam aanaval Seethai
Kodi paadhaigal mannil ullana
Nermai ondru thaan paadhai

To this, VJ's spirited rejoinder is
Acham enbathum naanam enbathum
Panjam theerkkave illai
Andhi vaanathu chandiran ena vaazhndhu paarpathey thollai

Sabaash, sariyaana potti!

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Isaithuraiyil enakku kaadhal - Maharasi Vaazhaga
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A stunning solo. Another of VJ's dazzling gems, cast off very unfairly to join the list of "bhooley bisrey geeth" - What a shame!

What a soulful alaap VJ commences this lovely song with, an indication of the rare treat that is to follow.

Isaithurayil enakku kaadhal vegham
Rasigargale umakku ethiley mogham
Aasai padam eduththathu
Nenjil idam pidiththathu
Naadham varam koduththathu
Aasai padam eduththathu
Thunivudan vandhen ingey

Maaligaiyil ival pirandhirundhaal
Ival engo engo iruppaal
Manalil undaana maanikka padhumai
Kudathil vilakkaaga nindraal
Gnaanam migindhirundhathu
Naanam maraindhirundhathu
Kaalam pirandhuvittathu
Paalam thirandhuvittathu
Thunivudan vandhen ingey

Jaadhi illai, oru madhamum illai
Iasai engum pogum inimai
Thalaivan illamal thaanaaga isaithaal
Viragam undaakkum vedhanai
Vaazhvai arindhu kondathu
Vaazha ninaithu vittathu
Megham thirandhuvittathu
Thunivudan vandhen ingey

What a song! What exquisite filigrees by VJ on this jewel crafted with care by the master music-smith! I am at a loss to choose which part to highlight - her enthralling variations in the repetition of "Umakku ethiley mogham", the memorable prolonging of "Mogam", the emotion-choked repetition of "Kudathil vilakkaga nindraal", the swift change and jubilant speed of "Gnaanam migindhirundhathu", the palpable pathos in the repetition of "Viragam undaakkum vedhanai", the defiant assertiveness in "Vaazhavai arindhukkondathu" - my hands may tire of trying to enumerate VJ's value-additions in this song, but my ears will never, never tire of listening to it! And each time I listen to it, I discover something new! What a wide range of emotions, so expressively, effectively and enthrallingly conveyed!

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Vaanathil paduthu - Veedu Varai Uravu
Singers:VJ,MSV - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Again, another film about which I am quite in the dark. I think it had Sujatha, with perhaps Jaiganesh. Another good song from it is "Maanikka veenayin raagam"-SPB-PS.

It sounds like a "Rayil paadal"- with the whistle of the engine, and the chikku-bukku chug of the train forming a rhythmic backdrop and a lot of kids joining in.

MSV begins by reciting:
Paal nilavil thottil katti aadu kanne aadu
Pasam anbu deivam endru paadu kanne paadu
Kuyilgal, kiligal, anilgal ellaam ungalai poley thambi
Ulagam ennum urundai pandhu ulladhu ungalai nambi

VJ makes a breezy entry with:
Vaanathil paduthu sirikkum velli nila
Ananda irakkai virikkum pillaigala
Mazhalaigal sindhum muthu
Kurunagai ungal soththu
Vanjangal illadha mullaikkoththu

A fast-paced song, with VJ effortlessly and swiftly soaring high and then swooping down, listen to the vocal circus in the line "Annam ennum vellai ullam, ponnai vellum anbu vellam, pasam enabathai sumandhu" - Well, with Ringmaster MSV joining her in the vocals as well, we should not be surprised!! We can only join the kids in clapping our hands in the end!

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Anbey un peyar enna - Idayamalar
Singers:VJ,JC - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Udayam Productions Manian's film. I believe it was directed by Gemini Ganesh, though somewhere I remember reading that it was only partly directed by Gemini. It starred Kamal, Sujatha, Sowcar Janaki and Gemini himself. The song must have been filmed on Kamal-Sujatha.

JC: Anbey un peyar enna Rathiyo?
VJ: Manmathan sonnathu
JC: Ananda neeradum nadhiyo?
VJ: Pongiye Vanthathu
JC: Kanney un sollenna amudho?
VJ: Senthamizh thandhathu
JC: Kaanadha kolangal edhuvo?
VJ: Kaaviam solvathu

A simple, melodious duet. VJ's answers to JC's queries in the Pallavi are enchanting.

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Chendumalli poo pol - Idayamalar
Singers:VJ,KJY - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Another duet from the same film, Kamal and Sujatha playing a game, and suitably attired, with the sound of the racket on the ball giving the beat for the song, reminiscent of MGR and Sarojadevi's "Parakkum pandhu parakkum".

KJY calls "Love All" and VJ corrects him, with "Love One"

KJY: Chendumalli pooppol azhagiya pandhu
Sel vizhi aadattum kaadhalil vandhu - Love All!

VJ: Love One

Here, the score called by VJ assumes added significance, for she also means that she would love only one person, as her next lines indicate:

Endrum indha idhayam oruvanukkendru
Iruppathai koorattum viraivinil sendru

KJY: Gangaiyin sangamam kadalodu kanden
Mangaiyin sangamam paarthida vandhen
VJ: Karai vazhi selvathu Gangaiyin perumai
Murai vazhi selvathu Mangaiyin perumai

VJ: Aayiram naadugal sendru vandhaalum
Thaayaga perumai kaaththida vendum
KJY: Kaadhalum thaayaga perumaiyil ondru
Kaanattum adhayum ilamayil indru

KJY: Mandiram sollum manavarikkolam
Manathinil thondrum ovvoru naalum
VJ: Ennuvathellaam nerinil kaanum
punniyam irundhaal adhu engu pogum

Excellent lyrics with subtle word play. Kamal wanting to go the whole way and Sujatha advocating patience, his assertion that "Kaadhalum thaayaga perumayil ondru" is the brilliant ace in between the sweet volleys!

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Saamathil pootha malli - Ungalil Oruthi
Singers:VJ,JC - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Another of those films where the starcast is elusive. Did it have Sujatha?

From the lyrics, it appears that the hero has lost the use of his legs, and he is wallowing in self-pity and bemoans his crippled state. She plays the ministering angel and tells him to take heart. He regains his composure quickly enough. There's nothing like a wee little bit of romance to ward off depression, is there? Music is the food of love... and they play on.

VJ: Saamathil pooththa malli
Chandiranai saatchi vechen
Samiye unnai enni
laabathai varavu vechen

JC: Mohathil vizhundhu vitta
Mundhaanai izhuthadhamma
Degathin kurai marandhu
thenpaangu paadudhamma

VJ: Arjunakku ther izhutha
andha naal pennoruthi
Achani murindhadhendru
aadhara kai koduthaal

JC: Kai kodutha devamagal
Kaal kodukka maattaalo?
Kai kuzhandaiyaai irundhaal
paal kodukka maattalo?

JC: Nallarambu vaasamitta
Nagamani poonkuzhali
pal arumbu sirikka kandu
patta sugam konjam alla

VJ: Chakkarathu salangaigalpol
saththamidum sirippetharkku?
Sakkaraiyil then vizhundhu
sandhosham adaivatharkku!

Analogies from the Mahabharatha, good lyrics with caressingly embracing music, understanding voices, with just the right expressions in the right proportions - hark at VJ's gentle repetition of "aadhara kai koduthaal" and JC's short laughter after "Patta sugham konjam alla".

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Neeyum vaazha vendum - Chitra Pournami
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

An ennui filled exercise in Eastman colour. A waste of giants like Sivaji, Jayalalitha, Muthuraman and Vijayakumari. I can still recall being aghast by the unseemly sight of a portly Sivaji playing a loud revolutionary, with a garish bandana around his head. He hides in the hills and is out to settle scores with rich Muthuraman, one of the landed gentry.

Another song, which did its rounds from this film, is "Vandhaalum vandhaandi"-TMS-PS.

This song has Vijayakumari, on stage, beseeching Sivaji to spare her husband, Muthuraman, in what she fancies as words crouched with hidden meanings, which only Sivaji could understand!

Neeyum vaazhavendum Ayya
Naanum vaazha vendum
Nenjam endra malarinil karunai
Niraivathu neethi sollum kadamai

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Aagayathil thottil kattum - Thunivey Thunai
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The mother of all "Pei" songs!

The film was a full-fledged thrilling entertainer with Jaishankar playing the dashing hero. This time, the villain was not Manohar or Nambiar, but a wigged Rajasulochana, with smoke curling from her lips and an evil glint in her eye!

There is this isolated hamlet, seemingly sleepy and tranquil, where there is no police too, but there are some disturbing reports from there. So Police Officer Vijayakumar is sent to investigate. He is beguiled by an apparition in white, who sings this song, and Vijayakumar disappears, never to be seen again.

His brother Jai, out to trace him, arrives in the same deserted station, again in the middle of the night, and again the same shimmering Sundari appears - singing this haunting song (of course, Jai is made of sterner stuff).

MSV brings in the eerie effect in full measure, the jingling bells of the bullocks pulling the cart, the frightening sounds of the nocturnal creatures and ghostly effects in the interludes.

Aagayathil thottil kattum mangai unnai kandaal
Aasai theril yerikkondu neril ingey vandhaal
Innerathil vandhen endru yedho enna vendaam
Pennaagathaan vandhen ingu, kanna un mel ennam undu

Alli varum poo vaasam, velli muthu ponnaaram
Thennai ilam poomaalai, vellai nira ilanchelai
Kaalalavu karugkoondhal kanni endru solladho
Kamarathi sugavaasal nee ariya koodatho
Kannai thottu, kaiyil pattu, unnai konjum mullai mottu

Uchchi veyil varum pothu pachchai niram en meni
Andhippattu inneram, chandiranin sanjaaram
Aalamara nizhaliniley naal muzhudhum naan iruppen
Aadharithu nee anaithaal bethalikkum sugam tharuven
Manjal undu, pottum undu, majam mattum innummillai

However all the special effects pale before MSV's greatest weapon - VJ's voice! Don't you feel the goosebumps when you listen to her prolong the last syllable in "Kaalalavu karungkoondhal" and repeat "karungkoondhal" – you are bathed with sweat as you listen to that terrorizing "aalamara nizhaliniley" and the haunting repetition of "Nizhaliniley".

VJ transforms herself into a mesmerising Mohini, as we are irresistibly and irrevocably stricken by this bewitching la belle dame sans merci - oh, the awe inspiring enchantment!

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No No No - Unakkaga Naan
Singers:VJ,SPB - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The appalling remake of the appealing "Namak Haraam", with Sivaji and Gemini coming nowhere near the magic created by Amitabh and Rajesh Khanna. Lakshmi, V.A.Nirmala and Manorama also starred in this doomed and damning debacle.

The other songs were "Ramu, I love you"-TMS-KJY, "Iraivan ulagathai padaithaanaam"-KJY&Chorus and "Kaadu thaanda"-S.C.Krishnan, Manorama & Chorus.

This song was a Sivaji-Lakshmi duet. It goes like:

No, No, No, No, No, No
Kaadhal kadhai solveno
katti sugam kolveno

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Avaley en kaadhali - Perum Pugazhum
Singers:VJ,SPB - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

The film had Muthuraman and Sujatha in the lead. It has Sujatha hankering after fame and glory, which leads to disastrous consequences for her. I particularly remember the scenes where Muthuraman, who is going on tour, telling his wife Sujatha, who is carrying their first child, not to step out of the house while he's away. Then, Manorama comes and coaxes Sujatha to attend a public meeting, telling her of the wide publicity she would receive. Sujatha is tempted and goes there. Alas, there's a wild stampede on the stage, and Sujatha is injured and also suffers a miscarriage.

Other good songs in the film were the famous KJY solo "Thaane thanakkul" and "Nalla perodu"-SPB,PS. I vaguely remember another pair also in the film, perhaps "Avaley en kaadhali" features them?

SPB: Avaley en kaadhali!
Kodi neerukulley malar meley
Penn kuliththadhu thamarai poley
Naan neerai pirandhirundhaalum, inneram ennenavo

VJ: Avaney en kaadhalan!
Nadai medayiley vizhi ingey
Avan nadagam paarpathu engey
Avan neerai pirandhirundhaalum, inneram ennennavo

VJ: Thaalaattum pillai ondru, Selaattam pennai kandu
Vaalattum ennam enna - ilayo, malaro, kaniyo?
SPB: Paal vaasam sindhum chinna papavin ullam indru
Poovasam kondathenna, adhuvo,idhuvo, edhuvo?

SPB: Thottaalum ottikollum pattaana velli kannam
ettaamal seivathenna inamo, kulamo, bhayamo?
VJ: Peraasai vellam vandhu poraadum pothum penngal
Thaai veedu thandha selvam - acham, naanam, vetkam!

From the lyrics, it is apparent that she is a bathing beauty(!) and he is wishing fervently that he should have been the lucky water!!! The opening music immediately after SPB's declaration of "Avaley en kaadhali" and again after VJ's assertion "Avaney en kaadhalan" is something which only MSV could have created. Again the music which leads from the charanam back to the pallavi is wonderful. Hark at VJ stress pointedly on "ingey" and "angey" in the repetition of "Nadai medayile" and again her "Acham, naanam, vetkam" - Charmingly romantic!

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Aaramba kaalam - Payanam
Singers:VJ,KJY - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I know only the songs from this film - whom did it star? (Ravichandran?) Where was the payanam to?

Other songs forming part of this journey were "Thendralukku endrum vayathu"-SPB, "Payanam payanam"-MSV and "Naatukku kaval"-SPB.

KJY: Aaramba kaalam oru pakka thaalam
adhuthaan kaadhal panpaadu
VJ: Aanappinnaley iruppakka melam
adhuthaan vaazhkkai anbodu

KJY: Devamirudham-thenidhazhgal,devargal illai naan vandhen
VJ: Maarbin agalam kundrangal, malargal illai naan vandhen
KJY: Manjal meni thendral pattu anjakkandu naan vandhen
VJ: Maalaigal yendhu, mangala chaandhu, maarbinil neendhu, ennai thandhen

KJY: Nadagamedai thirai illai, nayagi vandhaal kavi paadi
VJ: Nayagiyudane thunai illai, nayagan vandhaan thunai thedi
KJY: Minnal roja ponnil oori kaiyil vandhadhu uravaadi
VJ: Kannan-Radha, Raman-Seetha, vandhaar ingey nammai thedi

VJ stamps her elegant touches all over - the humming in the pallavi, the enchanting variations in the repetition of "anbodu" (especially in the fade out in the end), and the humming along KJY's "Nadagamedai".

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Pazhathottam en thottam - Uzhaikkum Karangal
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

Uzhaikkum Karangal had MGR, Latha, Kumari Padmini and various others. I saw it as a child, and remember not being able to accept Thangavelu as a diabolical villain! The film was produced by Kovai Sezhiyan and directed by K Shankar.

As is usual in even the worst MGR film, the songs were good, "Naalai ulagai aala vendum"-KJY& SV, "Vaaren vazhi paarthiruppen"-TMS&TK Kala and "Aadiya paadhangal ambalathil"-PS are all memorable songs.

From the lyrics, it seems here the heroine is warding off birds from her orchard, a type of "Aalolam" song, with the usual "cho" in between. TFM has many such "aalolam" songs - PA Periyanayaki in SriValli, PS in Kandan karunai and SJ in Deiva thirumanangal have all sung to ward off birds from eating up the crops. But Uzhaikkum Karangal was not a mythological tale, so VJ gets to sing a social "Aalolam" and in the process of warding off the parrots and sparrows, also shoots off some political arrows (on behalf of the Puratchi Thalaivar, of course!).

She starts off advising the birds initially.

Kani thedum kili inamey
Kadhai sollum kuyil inamey
Aduthavarin porul meedhu aasai vaikka koodathu

and progresses to preach to mankind as well:

Adhigaaram varumpothu thavaraadha manam vendum
Thalai kanangal vandhaale, thaan veezhum nilai thondrum
Dhinam uzhaippathu podhu udamai, nam udal idhu thani udamai
Nalla aalena pereduthal, adhu avaravar guna nilamai

Vidhai thoova nilam thevai, puvi aala madhi thevai
Akiramam nee seithaal, adhai ketkkum aal thevai
Naan thunivulla ilamangai, ennai thodubavar yaar ingey
Vizhi asaivugal kavi paadum, adhu aayiram porul koorum!

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Kandhanukku maalaiyittaal - Uzhaikkum Karangal
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

A lovely, pathos filled song, with lyrics soaked with meaning- Can any one explain the situation- Did Kumari Padmini feature in this song? It appears that she has sacrificed her love and laments her loss.

Kandhanukku malaiyittaal, kaanagathu Valli mayil
Kalyana kolathiley kavithai sonnaal kaadhal kuyil

Sokkarudan Meenatchi sokki nikkum thirukkaatchi
Kaanavandha kangal rendum, kaadhalukku oru saatchi

Poovodu pottum thandhen, oru poovaikku vaazhvu thandhen
Salangai kattum illathiley, thaali kattum nadakka kanden
Devanai thedi sendren-Deviyudan avanirundhaan
Veenayudan naanirundhen, vidhiyai enni paadugindren!

Both the Veenai and Vani touch your heart, not just your ears.

The song opens with the veenai, the sorrow drenched notes highlighting the mood, Vani sets off on a pathos pilgrimage. Whilst her repetition of "kalyana kolathiley" is particularly moving, her hushed sobs after "thaali kattum veetiniley" are a study in dignified suffering. The strings of the veenai tug at your heartstrings throughout, more so in the end. Don’t miss VJ's soft and poignant "Kandhanukku malaiyittaal" in the end.

A gem of a song by MSV, VJ and Muthulingam!

An interesting anecdote, in this connection. This was the first song which Muthulingam wrote for a MGR film. When the situation for this song was explained to him, Muthulingam wrote 4 different pallavis. MSV set all the 4 to 4 different mettus. While MSV, VJ and Muthulingam felt that the lyrics and the music were the best for the pallavi beginning with "Aandavan sannithiyil", Kovai Sezhiyan insisted on "Kandhanukku malaiyittaal" and he had his way in the end.

Tailpiece: Before you start wondering on how the discarded "Aandavan sannithiyil" would have sounded, let me relate that it was the mettu which MSV composed for "Aandavan sannithiyil", which he used for "Naadhamenum kovililey" , again by VJ, which we are going to dwell on next.

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Naadhamenum kovililey - Manmatha Leelai
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

K.Balachandar's film (based perhaps on Burt Reynolds's "The Man who loved Women") on a compulsive womanizer, who makes philandering an art, played with zeal by Kamal. The bevy of beauties ranged from Aalam to Jayapradha, with Y.Vijaya playing the "Wrong Number" cameo.

MSV, as usual, came out with stunning scores. "Manaivi amaivathellaam"-KJY, "Hello my dear wrong number"-KJY-LRE, "Sugam thaana sollu kanney"-SPB-PS, "Manmadha leelai"-SPB, "Netroru Menakai Indroru Urvasi"-A.V.Ramanan - all becoming immensely popular.

However, the pick of the lot is easily VJ's "Naadham". The song remains a treasured masterpiece in her portfolio.

Naadhamennum kovililey
gynaana vilakketri vaithen
Etri vaitha vilakkiniley
ennai vida nee kidaithaai

Isaiyum enakkisayum
Dhinam en manam thaan athil asayum
Karamum undhan siramum
Nee asaithaai, naan isaithen

Vilayey enakkilaye
dhinam verunkathai aanadhu kalaiye
Nilaye solli unaye
naan azhaithen uyir pizhaithen

Iraivan, ena Oruvan
Enadhisayil mayangida varuvaan
Rasigan endra peyaril
Indru Avan thaan unnai koduthaan

A lovely, lovely song! Vani's pedigree comes out glittering, as she bestows upon this light classical song her own brand of seemingly simple, but actually intricate touches, which add splendor to this already splendid MSV creation.

What an alluring alaap the song commences with. Before we lose ourselves in it, we have to forcibly remind ourselves that this is just the hors d’oeuvre, and the main course is yet to follow!

Hark at pronunciation-conscious VJ say "eNNai", listen to her Ma da ni da sa — swara play in the 1st and 3rd interludes, hear her humming in the 2nd, gasp at her gamakas throughout.

Long after the song is over, you still sit as though in a trance, Vani still lingering in you. Ungal karamum siramum asaindhukkonde irukkum, Vani isaindhukkonde iruppaar!

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Chabalam Salanam - Oh Manju
Singers:VJ - Music:M.S.Viswanathan

I guess this must have been by MSV. Please confirm.

Sridhar's disastrous film, in which Master Shekhar and Kavitha made their debut as the lead pair. I have not had the opportunity of seeing it, but I haven't missed much, going by what little I've heard of it. Another good song from it is "Ulagam oru kavithai" by KJY & PS.

Going by the lyrics, I am inclined to sum up the substance as "Endha kuzhandhaiyum nalla kuzhndhai thaan mannil pirakkayile, pin nallavar aavadhum theeyavar aavathum annai valarpathile" (to borrow the words from "Neethikku thalai vanangu"). The heroine puts the blame for her wretched state on her bad upbringing.

Chabalam, salanam, mayakkam, kuzhappam Ellam paramparai pazhakkam Periya manithargal siriya ninaippinil vizhundhu viduvathendraal Siriya kuzhandhaigal periya ninaippinil valarndhu viduvadhundu

Vidhai thane chedi aagum, verenna aagum Nilam pola neer kooda niram maarippogum Ragangal bedhangal aanaal, paadalgal anandam aagumo? Aadum thottil, aadum pothu kuzhandhai nadappathillai, Annai thandhai nadaiyai paarthu, nadakka marapathillai!

Kannadi thavaraanaal mugam maarippogum, Kann paarvai thavaraanaal manam maarippogum Paathiram nanjena aanaal, paalum nanjena aagume- Indha vayathil vizhundha ennam endrum marapathillai Thannai unarum kaalam varaiyil, ethuvum purivathillai!

A sad lesson for all parents.

VJ doesn't overdo the melancholy, and each rendition of "Chabalam salanam" is delightfully different!

That, I think, rounds off VJ's songs for the Mellisai Mannar in 1976. What wonderful songs he gave her, ranging from "Kannan kovil paravai idhu" to "Chabalam salanam"!

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Manamagaley - Kalangalil Aval Vasantham
Singers:VJ - Music:Vijayabhaskar

We had earlier seen the wonderful variety of songs that VJ got to sing for MSV in 1976. Let us now recollect her work with Vijayabhaskar. Admitted, he had nothing great to offer her in terms of numbers, for he had but two films in that year. But what he lacked in volume, he more than made up in value, and in both the films, gave songs that are enshrined forever in the hearts of discerning listeners.

Vijayabhaskar, during his brief stint in tfm, never worked for big banners or big stars, save a couple of exceptions. Nonetheless, his music was of the highest order and his classic creations have survived the ruthless ravages of time. An unassuming genius, who left tfm as unobtrusively as he entered it. He was in many ways, like Wordsworth's Lucy. He lived unknown, and few could know when VB ceased to be.

"Kalangalil Aval Vasantham" starred Muthuraman, Srividya and Chandrakala. I haven't seen the film, or any song on TV either-surprising, considering how popular they were. But I do remember that while watching a hindi film called "Basera" (Shashi Kapoor, Rakhee, Rekha), one of my aunts commented that it seemed to be a modified version of KAV. Ironically, Basera itself was remade in tamizh again as "Kanmaniye Pesu"–1986, stg. Sivakumar, Lakshmi and Ambika. This was an emotion charged drama of an elder sister giving up her husband, and marital bliss, for the sake of her younger sister.

Let me summarize the story of "Basera". Shashi is happily married to Rakhee. Rekha is the younger sister of Rakhee. Her wedding is arranged. Tragedy strikes suddenly and Rekha's husband dies immediately after the wedding. Rakhee is so shocked that she loses her senses and becomes a raving lunatic. She is admitted to a mental hospital, with no hope of recovery. Sashi marries Rekha in due course, more out of convenience. Rekha gets security and Sashi gets a mother for his son. Years roll by. Suddenly Rakhee gets back her sanity. But the doctor warns Sashi that she is still delicately balanced, and if she knew that he has married Rekha, she may become insane again. So Rekha dons the vennira aadai and Rakhee returns home. But gradually she stumbles upon the truth, and in order to ensure the continued happiness of her sister, pretends to become mad again and gets sent back to the hospital.

Does the story of Kaalangalail Aval Vasantham run along similar lines?

Another unforgettable "Kalyanamey" song by VJ. How many such auspicious songs she must have sung, and how aptly does her voice suit such songs! This surely would rate as the best among them. VB, with the help of Vani, Veenai, Nadhaswaram and Melam, has a created an immortal song in which all the wedding rituals unfold in your mind one by one, and Vani captures each detail with vibrant vivacity.

Manamagaley, un manavarai kolam
Naalai varugindrathu
Maalai vizhugindrathu
Kanni kazhigindrathu

Madurai Meenatchi maharani thilagam
Maindhan Kumaresan thirupalli pathigam
Mayavaram koorai pattadai jolikkum
Mangai oorgolam malar maalai mayakkam
Yendi Ilanchittu, Vendhan kai pattu
Enna seithaai endroru thozhi sirikkum!

Manjal varam kondu malar mangai varuvaal
Maithunan nambi Madhusoodhan varuvaan
Kasiperundhevi Gangai neer tharuvaal
Kaiththalam thandhu kalyanam purivaal
Melam isai meva
Maadhar malar thoova
Vedha munivorgal meigyagam purivaar

As usual, Vani steals our ears and hearts with the opening alaap itself - how speedily she runs, and what heights she scales, of course, without batting an eyelid or missing a single note, and she pauses only at the summit, where VB welcomes her with the Nadhaswara thoranam. Oh, the sheer bliss which envelopes us, as we too reach the pinnacle of pleasure! And the short musical boulevard from that peak is decorated with the Veenai notes striking a captivating chord, leading to the pallavi, whence Vani once again takes off with "Manamagaley".

Pray listen to the Nadaswaram and Vani-swaram duet in the first interlude. It is something which lesser singers can't even dream of! VB gives exquisite "kalyana" touches after each line beginning from Melam isai meva. Class!

In short, VByum VJyum serndhu oru kalyanaththaye nadathivittaargal!!

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Paadum vande paarthathunda - Kalangalil Aval Vasantham
Singers:VJ - Music:Vijayabhaskar

KAV was a VJ show all the way. Of the 4 songs, 3 were VJ solos and the 4th was a SPB-VJ duet.

A complete change of mood from "Manamagaley". We find a different VJ here. Singing for the heroine who has lost her man, perhaps on her wedding night itself, the calamity has thrown her into an unhinged state. She is reeling from the shock and lamenting her loss.

Paadum vandey paarthathundaa
Maalai anindha en mapillai
Yendi thozhi, enna seithaai,
Engu maraithaai? Kannan Engey? Engey? Engey? Engey? Engey?

Vaari mudikka malargal thoduthaar
Vannachelai vaangi koduthaar
Kolam thiruthi kaathu kidanthen
Kovil vazhiyai paarthu kidanthen
Oorvalam engey? uravugal engey?
Unmai sollayadi endhan Kannalan vandhaar ingey
Engey? Engey? Engey? Engey?

Yengiya naatkal nooradi thozhi
Thoongiya iravo ondrarai naazhi
Aalayam paaduthu ananda vaazhi
Avarindri koovuthu aayiram kozhi
Kannilum paarthen, kanavilum paarthen
Indru vandhaanadi endhan Kannalan Vandhaar ingey
Engey? Engey? Engey? Engey?

Vani sets the mood at the outset itself – the vacant, hysterical laughter she gives is the chilling prelude. The random ramblings of a mind freed from any semblance of balance, the stupefaction caused by a sudden tragedy, and the mind refusing to accept the loss. VJ touchingly brings out all this and more, that echoing "Engey" is a haunting touch!

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Anbenum sudaraal - Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham
Singers:VJ - Music:Vijayabhaskar

The third soulful solo from Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham. A song in the lines of the "Deviyar iruvar Muruganukku" (Kalaikkovil) and "Punnagai mannan poovizhi kannan" (Iru Kodugal). Here she acknowledges that the life that she is enjoying is a donation from her sister, and, with illustrative analogies, justifies bigamy. She hints at the nijam, which has become a nizhal.

Anbennum sudaraal erindhadhu vilakku
Adhanaal erindhadhu innoru vilakku

Siriyathu jothi Periyathu deepam
Irandum eriayattum, ithilenna paavam?
Oru kai thaangum, Maru kai meettum
Iru kai veenayil pirappathu ragam!
Thalai oru madiyil, Kaal oru madiyil
Thirumaal arivaan, Thirumagal dhaabam

Valadhu kai unakku, Idadhu kai enakku
Valli Deivaani pottathu kanakku
Valadhu kann paarthaal Idadhu kann paarkkum
Manidharukkellaam irandu kann edharkku?
Idhuvarai sonnathu ulagathin vazhakku
Innoru ragasiyam idhayathil irukku!

VJ brings out with depth of understanding the plethora of turbulent emotions that the situation demands. Listen to her lower her voice, albeit ever so slightly, in "Innoru"(Innoru ragasiyam idhayathil irukku) - andha nodiyil angey kalai vaazhnthathu!

What a wonderful clean sweep by Vani. Three superb solos in a single film!

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Mudhal mudhal varum - Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:Vijayabhaskar

A melodious duet by Vijayabhaskar's favorite pair. Going by the lyrics, it is yet another song where the hero tries to get too physical, and the heroine, in good tamizh tradition, counsels patience till their marriage is solemnized.

SPB: Mudhal mudhal varum sugam edhuvena ilamai ketkirathu
VJ: Mudhal iravinil varum sugamena idhazhgal solgirathu

SPB: Unnai naanum ennai neeyum unarndha pinnaley,
Unnai thottu aadi magizha thadaigal sollaadhey
VJ: Manathil manadhu serndha pothum maalai vendaama
Maalai ondru potta pinnaal madiyil vizhalaame
SPB: Paruvakaalathin pudhiya kanavugal kaathu kidappathil enna laabam?

VJ: Indha azhagum paruva sugamum nilaithu nirkkaathu
Nenjil valarum unmai anbu endrum maaraathu
SPB: Andha unmai ariyum ullam enakku kidaiyaathaa?
Adhuvum vendum, idhuvum vendum, unakku theriyaatha?
VJ: Adhuvum puriyuthu idhuvum theriyithu
Kaalam kaniyattum alli tharuven!

Simple lyrics, bringing out the age-old argument refreshingly. Good show by SPB & VJ. Of special mention are the opening humming by both and VJ's lovely prolonging of "Vendaamaa" in the first charanam and "nirkkaathu" in the second charanam.

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Sangeetham ragangal illamala - Moham 30 varusham
Singers:VJ&SPB - Music:Vijayabhaskar

Film starred Kamal, Sumitra, Sripriya and perhaps Fadafat Jayalakshmi too. Have a feeling it was Maniyan's story. Kamal is a fun loving modern youth. Alas! He gets married to orthodox Sumitra and the travails that follow.

Other good songs from the film include KJY's famous "Enathu vaazhkkai paadhayil" and PS's "Irubathu vayathin".

This song initially has Kamal begging his wife Sumitra to satisfy his physical longings. When his pleas fall on deaf ears, he is miffed. Then she tries to entice him, but now it is his turn to play hard to get, and finally they unite.

Sangeetham ragangal illamala
Sandhosham samsaaram illamala
Punniyama purushaarthama?

SPB puts forth his pleas forcefully:

Seethaiyidam Raman kaanaadhadhaa?
Deviyarin vaazhvil illaadhadhaa?
Radhaiyidam Kannan naadaadhadhaa?
Raasaleelai enna koodadhadhaa?
Ulagil Oru baagam, uravu kollum dhaagam, Punniyama purushaarthama?

VJ voices Sumitra’s longings thus:

Ennazhagai naane thaan solvatha?
Yekkam ennavendru naan solvadha?
Oviyathu penmai uyir kolluma?
Uravu illa penmai thuyil kolluma?
Kooturavu inbam, kettupperum thunbam, Punniyama purushaarthama?

- and so they go on and make up in the third charanam. Here watch out for VJ's seductive lowering of "thanal" in the line "Penn manadhu ingey thanal kondathu"... Oof!

Also not to be missed are VJ's konjal "Hmm, summa irunga, thookkam varuthu" in the prelude, just after the whistle and parrot opening, and SPB's erichal "Summa Irumaa, don't disturb me. Adadaa!" in the interlude.

Mudhalil oodal, piragu koodal, adharkku indha paadal!!

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Gangai Nadhiyoram Raman Nadandhaan - Varaprasadam
Singers:VJ&KJY - Music:R.Govardhanam

Film starred Ravichandran, Vijayakumar, Jayachitra and Ashokan among others. I remember seeing it on TV long back, but the storyline is only hazy in my recollection. Jayachitra loves Vijayakumar, but by a quirky turn of circumstances, marries Ravichandran. This song featured Ravichandran and Jayachitra. Another good song from the film is "Engirundhu paarthaalum vaanam ondru thaan"-TMS.

R.Govardhanam is the immensely talented younger brother of the late R.Sudharsanam, the veteran MD. He initially assisted C.R.Subburaman, and later his brother Sudharsanam. He was the conductor in the orchestra of MSV-TKR during 1960-65, and continued in the same post for MSV till 1970. He has assisted Illayaraja, Vijayabhaskar, Chandrabose and Deva, performing the roles of a Conductor and Arranger.

In the meantime, he did the music for the few films that came his way, and all of them had excellent songs: Jaadhagam(1953) in which PBS sang his first tamizh song, Orey Vazhi(1959), Kairasi(1960), Pattanathil Bhoodham(1967), Poovum Pottum(1968), Anjal Petti 520(1969) and Porchilai(1969) and Varaprasadham(1976). All the films are remembered to this day for their enchanting songs.

The wonderful relationship that wedlock brings between a man and a woman, and the values it signifies are brought out in meaningful lyrics (Pulamaipithan).

VJ: Gangai nadhioram Raman nadandhaan
Kanninmani Seethai thaanum thodarndhaal
Mella nadandhaal

Kalyanam ennum deiveega bandham
Kaalangal thorum vaazhgindra sondham
Vilayaattu pillai manal veedu alla
Vidhiyennum kaatril paripovadhalla!

KJY: Mangai aval Seethai mullil nadandhaal
Mannanavan kannil Gangai vazhindhaal
Ullam negizhndhaan
Mannavan kannil Gangai vazhindhaal

Maanikka paavai nee vandha velai
ninaiyaadhadhellaam niraivera kanden
Anbaana deivam, azhiyaatha selvam,
pennendru vandhaal, ennendru solven

KJY: Maniosai kettu manamaalai sootti
uravaana vaazhkkai nalamaaga vendum
VJ: Nadamaadum kovil manavaalan paadham
vazhi kaattum vedham, vizhi sollum bhaavam
KJY: Thirunaalil yetrum anayaadha deepam
VJ: Ananda poojai aaramba velai

The situational significance and beauty of the lyrics is enhanced tenfold by Govardhanam's lilting music. The opening giutar notes are spellbinding and what follows is pure enchantment. The music that follows VJ's pallavi takes us to another plane altogether! Govardhanam shows his orchestral skills in the interlude that follows "Ennendru solven" - Adada,Adhai ennendru solven! VJ and KJY are at their mellifluous best and together with Govardhanam cast a spell upon us till the last humming notes - Excellent!

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Ninaipathu Niraiverum - Ninaipathu Niraiverum
Singers:VJ&MLS - Music:M.L.Srikanth

Mariadoss Louis Srikanth was a member of MSV's orchestra for some years. He had earlier composed music for "Thalattu"(1969), which had memorable songs like "Malligai pooppottu"-TMS-Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, "Vikkillamal kanakkezhuthi"-TMS, "Varum pothu medaiyil"-Seergazhi Govindarajan. He had also given the humming in the famous PS song "Kaadhal Kaadhal endru"-Uththaravindri Ulley Vaa. He had also sung, along with SPB, SJ and LRE, the song "Kuliradikkuthey"-Dhikku theriyaatha kaatil. I also remember a MLS-SJ duet "Valluvan kuralil" from the film "Kalyana valaiosai", which doesn't seem to have come out of the cans.

MLS: Ninaipathu niraiverum nee irundhaal ennodu
VJ: Nadappathu nalamaagum naan irundhaal unnodu
VJ: Iruvarum serndhirundhaal anbodu, indruppol vaazhndhidalaam panbodu

VJ: Oruvarin idhayathil oruvar kudiyirundhaal
Oruvaril iruvaraiyum orudalaai kandidalaam
MLS: Thanimai unakkedhu
VJ: Thaangum idhayam enakkedhu
MLS: Ulagathai marandhu vandhu uravu solli vilayaadu

MLS: Thensuvai thamizhpesi thenmaangu isai paadi
Iruvarum perumayudan inbamellaam kandidalaam
VJ: Kaadhal kavipaadu
MLS: Kaalamellaam uravaadu
VJ: Manathai parikkoduthen, marandhu vaazha mudiyaadhu

This song figured frequently in Vividh Bharathi in the late 70s. MLS begins with an "Aradhana" type humming. The trumpet notes in the interlude are noteworthy, as the humming in the second interlude. A memorable duet.

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Ennendru Solvenadi - Ninaipathu Niraiverum
Singers:VJ - Music:M.L.Srikanth

Oh, youth! And the sheer exuberance of it! This young maiden is unabashedly in raptures about her own beauty, and wonders at the charms it holds for the beholders.

Ennendru Solvenadi
Ilamai ezhilodu pirandhenadi
Neeradum en meni nilavodu nigaraana azhagendru solvenadi

Minnalaippol vandhu kaatchi alikkuthu, thendralil vandhenadi
En kannin karuvizhi sollum kadhaigalil kaadhal undaaguthu

Pooththu kulunguthu
Pon nirameniyil
Eththanai vannangal
Minni kidakkathu
Idhai paarthu magizhndhida kaathu kidakkuthu, eththanai kanngaladi

Sondham kondaaduthu
Sandhana saarin narumanam poley midhandhu vandhenadi
En maambazha kannathil thengi kidappathu mandhira jaalamadi!

How winningly does Vani portray the vain thoughts of this narcissist nangai! How coy she sounds in some lines! Her repetition of "Kanniparuvamadi", the sudden change of tempo in "Poothu kulunguthu", the slow sweetness of "Idhai paarthu magizhndhida", the hidden pride in the whispered "Ethanai kanngaladi", the jaalam in "jaalamadi", the extended "Solvenadi" in the end. The distinct "Vani Works" metamorphose this simple song into a scintillating solo!

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Naal Nalla Naal - Panakkaara Penn
Singers:VJ&TMS - Music:V.Kumar

Film starred Jaishankar and Jayachitra. A fast paced, breezy duet, with the pallavi reminding you, ever so slightly, of the Hindi song "Vaadha karlo saajna".

V.Kumar's favourite singer was always PS, but he did give some memorable songs to LRE, SJ, VJ and his wife K.Swarna. He was another MD, who "dwelt among the untrodden ways", but has left behind him songs that to this day "smell sweet and blossom in the dust".

TMS: Naal nalla naal
Un idhazhil ezhuthum iniya kavithai inba then sindhum naal
Inba then sindhum naal

VJ: Naal nalla naal
Un varavu mazhaiyil nanayum iravu kandu then sindhum naal
Inba then sindhum naal

TMS: Vinnukkum mannukkum oru paadhayaam
VJ: Vellithther vannathil varum megamaam
TMS: Paaraalum Rajathi oorgolamaam
VJ: Pakkathil Rajavai naan kaanalaam
TMS: Kandaai kaadhal kondaai mullai chendaai nenjilaada
VJ: Kanna kaadhal manna endru vandhen sindhu paada

VJ: Unnaithaan ennithaan naan vaazhvathu
TMS: Ullaththai allaththaan naal paarththathu
VJ: Aaramba kaalathil naanam varum
TMS: Ananda ragathil bodhai varum
VJ: Vandhaal enna thandhaal enna endre vandha paavai
TMS: Thandhen indru thandhen ennai innum enna thevai?

The highlight is, of course, VJ's humming at the end of the second charanam, leading back to the pallavi. TMS does the same at the end of the first charanam, but VJ simply sparkles in her turn! Also, don't miss her prolonging of the second "Naal" in "Naal nalla naal" and the humming by both the singers as their voices fade away in the end.

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Madhukkinnam yendhungal - Mittai Mummy
Singers:VJ - Music:V.Kumar

This film was initially titled "Deivam thandha veedu". I have seen the record in this name. It starred Jaishankar and K.R.Vijaya, and was directed by lyricist Avinashi Mani, who had earlier directed "Aayirathil Oruthi" and "Janaki sabatham". The mesmerising TMS-PS duet from this film-"Thirukkoyil thedi rathi devi vandhaal" will live on forever, ensuring a place of pride for V.Kumar the "Mellisai Maamani" in the annals of tfm. I also seem to remember a solo by PS, peddling mittai.

I cannot imagine that this seductive, clubdance number would have featured KRV. However, I have a vague memory of having seen CID Sakunthala in a cabaret costume on the cover of the record. So, in all probability, this song must have featured her.

Madhukkinnam yendhungal
Theeradhu bodhai
Mangai ennum kinnam ingu
Madhuvennum inbam kondathu

Ananda meniye naattiya koodam
Arambamaagume aayiram paadam
Kodaikku ingey thaan kulir kaatru veesum
Koodungal ullathil pudhu vellam odum
Iniyathum ingu thaan
Pudhiyathum ingu thaan
Madhuvennum inbam kondathu

Aadhikkam seiyungal-naan ungal sondham
Paadhikku paadhi serndhadhu bandham
Meedhiyai sollattum vilayaattu manjam
Vetkathai vittu naan sonnathu konjam
Ini enna solvathu?
Inaivathu nallathu
Madhuvennum inbam kondathu!

"Oru Koppayiley en kudiyiruppu, oru kolamayil en thunai iruupu" sang the bard. Here the kolamayil asserts that her charm is more intoxicating than all the contents of the koppai. The woman is more winsome than the wine!

And Vani pulls off this enticing number with euphonic élan and ease. Hark at her vampish humming in the middle of the charanams, the slurred rendition of "ini enna solvathu", the seductive lowered "Vetkaththai"’, the soft "Madhukinnam yendhungal" in the end. We can only fall flat in tipsy surrender!

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Aandavanilla Ulagamedhu - Oru Oodhaappoo Kann Simittugirathu
Singers:VJ&TMS - Music:V.Dakshinamoorthi

"Oru Oodhaappoo Kann Simittugirathu" starred Kamal, Vijayakumar and Sujatha. It was based on Pushpa Thangadurai's story serialised in Dhinamani Kathir. Produced by S.Shankaran and directed by S.P.Muthuraman. A rather bold story of a youth who gets incarcerated in the process of saving the honor of his beloved. And when he comes out of prison, he finds that she has in the meantime, become another man's wife. And the emotional upheavals that follow between the corners of the eternal triangle, with a bit of preaching in the end made this an engrossing film.

Other songs in the film include KJY's soulful "Nalla manam vaazhga" and T.K.Kala's "Murrukko murrukku".

V.Dakshinamoorthi is a living legend of Malayalam Film Music and the few films he did in Tamil bespeak his calibre. He is reverentially called "Swami" by the entire South-Indian film fraternity. His illustrious students range from N.C.Vasanthakokilam and P.Leela to today's Bhavathaarini. He is a veritable ocean of musical knowledge. His voice can be heard teaching "Sudha Maadhurya" to SJ in "Maragadha Veenai" in IR’s music. (The record refers to him as "Dakshinamoorthi Swamigal"). His memorable works in Tamil include Jeevitha Nowka(1951), Amma(1952), Kanavu(1954), Devi(1968), Jeevanaadi(1970), OOKS(1976), Nanda En Nila(1977), Oru Kovil Iru Deepangal(1979), Jagathguru Aadhi Shankarar(1979) and Bhaktha Hanuman(1981), the last two being dubbed from Malayalam.

This song has the lovers sitting on the sands of the beach, and the fisher-folk singing in their boats. However, it is quite unlike the other songs of this genre. "Hum tumhe chaahthey hain aisey" or even "Chithira sevvanam sirikka kanden", it veers off sharply into a philosophical vein, ruminating on the unpredictable twists and turns which constitute life.

TMS: Aandavanilla ulagamedhu
Aasaigalillaa idhayamedhu
VJ: Nadhiyirundhaal meenirukkum, vidhiyirundhaal serndhirukkum
Kaalam adhan kolam, endro? engo?

TMS: Pirakkayile vizhigal kooda thirandhirukkaadhu
Pinborunaal vizhi irandum thoonga vidaathu
VJ: Pirakkayile vizhigal kooda thirandhirukkaadhu
Pinborunaal vizhi irandum thoonga vidaathu
TMS: Aanum pennum mannil vaithaan, aasai ondrai kannil vaithaan
VJ: Kaadhalendru perum ittaan, kattilittaan, thottillittaan
Both: Kaalam, adhan kolam, endro? engo?

TMS: Ullathile vidhai vizhundhu udhayamaavathu
Udalukkulle ver vizhundhu adhigamaavathu
VJ: Ullathile vidhai vizhundhu udhayamaavathu
Udalukkulle ver vizhundhu adhigamaavathu
TMS: Udhirathile poovai kandu, adharathile kaniyai kandu
VJ: Iravillellaam kanavu kandu, inaindhavudan irandum ondru
Both: Kaalam, adhan kolam, endro? engo?

The chorus voices, with their "Elo Elo" and "Aylesa" usher in the salty whiff of the sea, while TMS and VJ sound reflective. The prolonged "Kaalam" and its "kolam" add a sad sheen to the song. The meaning-laden lyrics gain strength in VJ repeating the lines after TMS. The chorus humming in between is a moody touch by the "Swami".

We come to the end of 1976 with this song, with the voices of TMS and VJ fading as the boats sail into the sunset. We saw VJ sing many memorable songs for the Mellisai Mannar, some exquisite songs for Vijayabhaskar and some superb songs for the other MDs.

I have tried to ensure a sense of completion. But there may be some more forgotten songs by VJ in 1976. For instance, much as I try, I cannot recollect a single song by VJ for SG in this year. What we have covered, however, is her best of the year, and that should suffice, at least for now.

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