Continuing from Part 1, this concludes my favourite Tamil hits from the one and only Vidyasagar. He created music for Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil movies since the late 1980s but he was prominent in the late 1990s and the 2000s covering huge hits in Tamil such as Vijay’s Ghilli, Vikram’s Dhool, Kamal Haasan’s Anbe Sivam and Rajinikanth’s Chandramukhi.
Malare Mounamma (Karnaa 1995)
This movie features Arjun in the lead and this song, in particular, is one of the songs that still brings the goosebumps whenever one listens to it even after all these years. The prominent tabla together with the rhythm of the song and occasional violin is well-paced and beautifully strung together.
The chorus is indeed the best part of the song. But what makes this song even special is how this song was composed:-
Vidyasagar was a young musician and was not very popular. But when SPB agreed to sing for the young music director he was on cloud nine. He had already recorded the portions sung by S Janaki for the duet.
After they recorded some songs and he was about to sing the song, SPB realised that it was 8 pm. He has the habit of not singing songs after 8 pm, and he refused to sing the song.
But the young music director requested him to at least listen to the track and portion sung by S Janaki. SPB heeded to it, and when he listened to the song, he had a change of mind and he wanted to sing it then itself. Vidyasagar recalled that like a crazy man, SPB went on singing the song. Though every recording was perfect, the musician in SPB was not happy.
Apparently SPB felt he could not match the singing of S Janaki and wanted to perfect his singing and the recording went past midnight. Musicians recall that when SPB finished singing he was in tears.
The song featured in the movie Karna released in 1995 is considered one of the best duet songs in Indian cinema. Whenever Janaki and SPB used to perform live, they made it a point to sing the song on stage.
Poovukkellam (Uyirodu Uriraga 1998)
This movie has Ajith in the lead and this song, in particular, stands out for the starting guitar composition that is very unique and one of the first one to feature guitar prominently (yup, way before Harris Jayaraj). The start alone is enough to set this song a classic and a must-have in Vidyasagar list of hits.
Forget the dumb picturization of this song, whilst it is trying very hard to match the song it does not do the justification to the composition and Srinivas’ voice for this song. This song deserves to listen to its own in a warm room with a cosy fireplace and with a cold rain outside. This is truly a Zen moment from Vidyasagar.
This movie also boasts a very good soundtrack with most of its songs such as Anbe Anbe worth a place in one’s playlist. One can be mistaken to think that some of the songs were composed by AR Rahman as it has a similar trend.
Katrin Mozhi (Mozhi 2007)
And of course, one cannot miss Prakash Raj’s Mozhi which took a simple love story and turned into one of the major hits for the year. It is the first time one sees Prakash Raj (who was also the producer) in a different character especially in the comical role. The whole movie was well directed and with all characters Jyothika and Prithviraj playing their roles just too well.
This song also starts with the guitar and continues with piano and tabla merging at one point. The lyric of this song is also very meaningful and hits the crux of the story on the point. Rediff commented:-
Katrin mozhiyae by Balram is the toast of this album. The song begins with the guitar. Vairamuthu gives a free run to his imagination and the result is breathtakingly beautiful poetry.
He seems to be saying that where there is kadhal (love), words are redundant and nature’s sounds are more expressive than human vocals. The guitar and dulcimer interludes giving additional dimension to the soft tune and soothing rhythm.
Vidyasagar goes on an excursion into melody realm in this semi-classical track. Balram’s singing style perfectly suits this number and the effect is soul-touching.
As mentioned, it is difficult to place Vidyasagar in the Tamil music scene but the soundtracks of the movies that he had composed songs are truly gems and are worth to listen over and over again.