Browsing All Posts filed under »Music: Tamil Cinema«

Subramaniya Bharati’s poetry in Tamil cinema

September 11, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/subramaniya-bharati-poetry-tamil-cinema-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan The great Tamil poet, activist and social reformer died on September 11, 1921. Here are some of his songs that made it to the big screen. Had this been a literary web site, I would have used this occasion to talk about AR Venkatachalapathy’s Who Owns […]

Not ‘Chennai’… these songs are about ‘Madras’

August 22, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/chennai-songs-about-madras-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan On Madras Day, a flashback to songs that celebrate the city. Azhagiya mithilai nagarinile (Annai, 1962): A two-toned convertible carrying a young couple cruises through near-empty roads. This was still the studio era, so it’s surprising to see actual outdoor shooting (instead of a car propped […]

The man who made (and named) Ilayaraja

August 16, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/tamil-composer-singer-ilayaraja-panchu-arunachalam-mentor-death-anniversary-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Last Thursday was Panchu Arunachalam’s second death anniversary. Here’s a flashback to the time he introduced his most illustrious protégé. Panchu Arunachalam, who passed away on August 9, 2016, wore many hats. He is remembered as a lyricist – he began that phase of his career […]

Interview: Yuvan Shankar Raja

August 9, 2018

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Yuvan Shankar Raja talks about the three distinct phases of Tamil film music — the MSV era, the Ilayaraja era, the Rahman era — and why, later, it’s been difficult to get a composer who monopolised the scene. He speaks about his legendary father, Ilayaraja, and explains the difference in their composing techniques, using two […]

A shout-out to Jayasurya’s performance in ‘Njan Marykutty’…

July 5, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/njan-marykutty-jayasurya-performance-southern-lights-baradwaj-rangan Plus, thoughts on cis actors in trans roles, ‘Asuravadham’, and a beautiful ‘singer’s song’ from the seventies’. Since everyone’s talking about Ranbir Kapoor’s performance in Sanju, allow me to direct your attention to Jayasurya in the Malayalam film, Njan Marykutty, where the actor plays a transgender. […]

The contentious nature of the National Awards

April 14, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/the-contentious-nature-of-the-national-awards-baahubali-village-rockstars-sridevi/ Musings on the country’s most prestigious film awards – and this is not about whether X deserved to win over Y. Another year. Another set of arguments over the National Awards. For instance: Did Sridevi deserve Best Actress? Indeed, under normal circumstances, would her performance in […]

On being home-schooled in Tamil through the film song

March 15, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/southern-lights-home-schooled-tamil-film-song/ Paying attention to lyrics is a wonderful way to increase one’s proficiency in a language. (Added incentive: It’s fun too.) These days, a lot of the music I listen to comes from the phone. I just type in the name of a song I feel like listening […]

Readers Write In #32: O Butterfly and things that even Google can’t buy

January 27, 2018

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A piece about things that still do not have a google address, such as an obscure rendition of O Butterfly. Seemed apt to put this up now, given the Padma Vibhushan for Ilayaraja (though this isn’t really about him). Ilayaraja fans and maybe Vikram fans as well would be familiar with the 1991 hit song O […]

Word painter

January 11, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-20-years-of-thamarai-in-tamil-cinema This is Thamarai’s 20th year in the movies. The lyricist talks about her poetry, her personal life, her politics. Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor – “by the creator of Percy Jackson” – is the last book I expect to find in Thamarai’s living room, […]

Reviewing (and re-viewing) Rahman

November 2, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/southern-lights-reviewing-and-re-viewing-rahman Thoughts on the ‘2.0’ soundtrack and its composer, who keeps going on and on and on. What makes AR Rahman tick? That’s the question I had while listening to the composer’s soundtrack for Shankar’s 2.0. This isn’t about how he manages to keep making music, 25 […]

The TM Krishna interview

August 3, 2017

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My video interview with TM Krishna, on Tamil film music. (The promos appear first — these are bits that did not make it to the final cut of the interview.) Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Readers Write In #13: Adho Megha Oorvalam and how Rahman gave Ilayaraja feedback

April 8, 2017

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I am a happy man these days.  My DTH provider is now offering me Jaya Max as a part of the package I have already subscribed to. Why Jaya Max?  Because it plays Ilayaraja tracks mornings 7 to 8 and nights 9 to 10.  Watching a TV channel to listen to music may seem an […]

A brief chat with AR Rahman…

March 14, 2017

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This was done when AR Rahman was in town to release the music of ‘Lake of Fire’. We didn’t get much time with him, but we did get to tour his school. My favourite part of this experience is also least “professional” aspect. We barely got any time to set up, and I used a lapel […]

Readers Write In #10: Composers languishing in obscurity

March 11, 2017

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Tamil Cinema has been blessed to have been graced by a dizzying array of music composers, right from the days of Papanasam Sivan till  may I say… Santosh Narayanan, but lost in the vortex of box-office success, many have fallen by the wayside, this article is about my personal favorites , who were not as […]

The A.R. Rahman fan club

March 5, 2017

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livemint spoke to me about 25 years of Rahman, and a small portion of that chat has been reproduced in their latest weekend issue. Link:

Notes from the south

January 28, 2017

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Meandering thoughts on music based on a few recent happenings. When the Carnatic musician TM Krishna unveiled Chennai Poromboke Paadal a couple of weeks ago, it felt like the musical world’s answer to the fall of the Berlin Wall, facilitating a crossover between two hitherto separate realms. “Poramboke” refers to land set aside for communal […]

Aboorva raagangal…

June 13, 2016

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Thoughts on the music of ‘Kabali’, which is easily the least “Rajini-style” album since ‘Sri Raghavendra’. Listening to Santhosh Narayanan’s soundtrack for Kabali is an exercise in imagining what must have run through Rajinikanth’s head as he heard these songs. I’m sure he must have smiled at Neruppu da, even if the track is driven […]

A king and his times

May 21, 2016

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Looking back at the Ilayaraja era, which began forty years ago, with the release of ‘Annakili’ on 14 May, 1976. So Ilayaraja’s music and I, we’re both in our forties. This doesn’t mean that his is the only music I grew up with. The songs on radio and television came from the 60s, 50s, sometimes […]

Ode to a nightingale

April 9, 2016

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Reflections on the peerless P Susheela, who’s found her way into the record books. When I learnt that P Susheela had found her way into the Guinness Book of World Records and the Asia Book of Records for singing the most number of songs in Indian languages, there were two reactions. The first, a smile – […]

A few favourite things

March 12, 2016

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Remembering the list song, 25 years after ‘Paththar Ke Phool’ gave us ‘Kabhi tu Chhalia lagta hai’. Some part of me dies every time a film from my school or college days celebrates a major anniversary – I’m talking about you, Paththar Ke Phool, now 25 years old – but this isn’t a how-time-flies- post. […]