I thought it is best to start the year with a Tamil classic from the early 1980s which has some of the best soundtracks by Illayarajaa. Image source: Amazon
This is a song from the 1981 Tamil movie Alaigal Oyivathillai which was directed by great Bharathiraja who has also written other great Tamil classics like 16 Vayathinile, Kizhake Pogum Rail, Sigappu Rojakkal (this saw Kamal Haasan in a negative role) and my personal favourite, Mudhal Mariyathai (acted brilliantly by Sivaji Ganesan and Radha)
Alaigal Oyivathillai sees the debut of Karthik and Radha in the lead roles (although their voices were dubbed) and the soundtrack is by the one and only Maestro Illayaraaja. One of the best songs from the movie soundtrack is Kadhal Oviyam (translated as Painting or Art of Love) that is sung by Ilaiyaraaja and Jency Anthony.
The song starts with the mantra chants of Hindu priests (considering Karthik is a poor Hindu in the movie) with temple bells in the background and followed by a lovely church choir (representing Radha who plays the rich Christian in the movie) and then followed by church bells closely followed by the stringing of the sitar.
With this premise, the song then starts with the soothing voice of Jency and then by the Maestro. Nice background of guitar keeps the rhythm on track with the chorus continued with the bells, flute, piano, choir and sitar and finished by quick sessions of the violin.
A polished up version of the Tamil song did the right justification to the great composition where one now can clearly hear the various background instruments – on the dot bass, drum and strings. The background of the music video is also been synced with what one would feel listening to this song on a cold, rainy day.
This is something that I have mentioned many times before – there should a major project to take Maestro’s older Tamil compositions that has not been recorded digitally to be cleaned up and re-recorded again – trust me, there will be new die-hard fans of the Maestro.