Magix 'n' Curses Returns

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A little while longer

When the initial rushes of Maryan and Raanjhanaa landed on YouTube, I'd commented that good times were here again. I hadn't bargained for it to be this good though! 

I haven't really stopped smiling over the last couple of days. Maryan has been playing on an endless loop and I still can't get enough of it. Like most Rahman albums, every song has been playing musical chairs vying for my-favourite-song-of-the-album spot. And with every round of listening, there's a new winner.

Today, it looks like it's going to be Innum Konjam Neram all day. The song is an aural equivalent of a hug.

(Even as the hero leaves the shores, and his love, to work abroad,) A song about reluctant separation it may be. But it is not about the heaviness of the moment or the pain of separation. It is about a beautiful future together and making the most of whatever little time they have left before he embarks on his journey. (Of course, I may be completely wrong about the premise, but this is what the music sings out to me, and I'll cling to this till I watch the movie)

The unwillingness to leave is childishly innocent. Mariyaan and Panimalar have accepted that he needs to go. They both know the "innum konjam neram" is an indulgence. Like a child's plea for "5 more minutes" in his bed, kathi-rolled in his cozy blanket before he has to get up and go to school. And indulge, they do.

This playfulness is beautifully brought out by the ghatam. There is a sincerity about it (albeit with a complete lack of seriousness), as it punctuates the melancholic accordion strains. I don't think you could've picked a better pair of instruments to express the bittersweet pain.

The beauty of this song, though, lies in its simple, uncluttered melody. Vijay Prakash's versatile voice glides over a gamut of emotions, from a breathy appeal ("Yaen avasaram? Enna avasaram? Nillu ponne.") to a mock complaint ("Innum pesa kooda thodangala...") to a mini tantrum ("Ippo mala pola nee vantha kadal pola naanirupen").

That's when the magic begins for me. Shwetha Mohan makes an entry so reminiscent of Swarnalatha that it left me stunned for a for a few seconds. The way the tune begins to ebb, halt and flow ("... andha alaigala pola...") puts in my mind an image of someone (reluctant to leave) being playfully pushed along his way by another from the back.

I had a discussion with @rahmantic the other day about the most versatile contemporary female singer in tamil. The second charanam firmly tilts my vote towards Shwetha Mohan ("... thalai aati naan rasipen"). Just listen to her nail this song. With an inherently honey dipped voice that can change texture at will, her voice becomes husky one second, sad the next, and then goes on to ring with sharp clarity, each with equal aplomb. She even throws in a Rahman special semi-chuckle for good measure! ("Vanthu on kaiyila mattikuven, valaiyala pola").

As the song winds up on a positive note, and as Rahman sprinkles some magic dust to bless the couple (Ok, those are chimes. Faaaine!), your mind pleads to the song - "Innum konjam neram irundhaal thaan enna?".