[ Another treasure “reclaimed” from the defunct archives of DHOOL. Republishing Saravanan Natarajan’s tribute to Raveendran Master, written in the year of his passing, in 2005. Saravanan takes you through the 7 Tamil movies of Raveendran Master, amongst which are surprisingly, the Tamil versions of “Ezhu Swarangalum” and “Thenum Vayambum” ! ]
Ganga Creations’ Hemavin Kaadhalargal must have been years in the making, for while it was released in 1985, the EP sleeve of the movie mentions its year of manufacture as 1982. The film was produced by Ganga and was the second film of the acclaimed Malayalam director T.V.Chandran. Though Chandran had commenced his career as an actor in P. A. Backer’s Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol, he realized his true calling when he directed his first film Krishnankutty in 1981. Hemavin Kaadhalargal was his second film, and also his only outing in Tamil. In later years he crafted some of Malayalam cinema’s finest films like Alicinte Anveshanam, Ponthan Mada, Ormakalundayirikkanam, Mangamma, Susannah, Danny, Padam Onnu: Oru Vilapam and the recent Kathavasheshan.
About Hemavin Kaadhalargal (1985)
I gleaned the story outline of Hemavin Kaadhalargal from a staid and taciturn colleague who suddenly opened up when we were talking about the life and times of Raveendran. The mention of Hemavin Kaadhalargalmust have touched a long forgotten chord in him, for he leaned forward and asked us shyly if any of us had seen the film, and as we listened in pleasant surprise, he went on to pay a glowing panegyric to the bold theme and the genius of its brilliant director. As the title indicates, the film revolved around Hema (played by Anuradha ) and her elusive search for a perfect spouse. She finds herself drawn to one of the two young men who come her way, and marries him. But she is soon disenchanted by his narrow, male chauvinistic attitude, and walks out of what had become a stifling wedlock. She then finds the man of her dreams, an idealistic, fiery labour leader. But she realizes that she is unlucky the second time too, and his untimely demise leaves her shattered. Nevertheless life must go on for the living, and Hema continues her quest, undeterred.
Besides Anuradha, the film had in its cast Delhi Ganesh, Vijayamohan, Sabita Anand and others. The dialogues were written by writer Ramanichandran.
Raveendran’s debut in Tamil – Hemavin Kaadhalargal (1985)
It was Hemavin Kaadhalargal then, which marked the debut of the gifted Raveendran (1943-2005) in the Tamil film industry. Raveendran’s Tamil film albums amount to a paltry 7, but his genius glitters in each one of them, and the songs live on to tell the tale of the man behind the music.
Paarvai Theril from Hemavin Kaadhalargal (1985)
As you listen to “Paarvai Theril“, you realise Raveendran’s imagination is in full play here, and right from the unconventionally structured pallavi, the song traverses along some unexplored, exciting paths. SPB seems to have given Raveendran a joyous welcome to Tamil film music, for he simply captivates with his magic. Hark at his stifled chuckle just before ‘punnagai allum..’, and how he smiles, sulks, cajoles, teases, woos and exults…what a singer !
Besides this, the movie had one other song – the spellbinding ‘Kaalai poove nee vaa’, where S Janaki summons to kaleidoscopic life the magical vistas envisaged by Raveendran. Raveendran was next heard in 1986, when as a sudden delightful deluge, 4 movies carrying his music were released, filling discerning fans with joy.
Kanmaniye Pesu ( 1986 )
Kanmaniye Pesu ( Aieres Cine Arts ), released in January 1986, was Rajasekar’s adaptation of Ramesh Talwar’s Hindi film Baseraa (1981). The film starred Sivakumar, Lakshmi, Ambika, Ganga & Ashwini. A lesser MD might have baulked at the thought of working on a film in whose original RD Burman had given some unforgettable songs. But the unassuming Raveendran vindicated the confidence that Rajasekar placed in him, and came out with some stunners. SJ’s ‘nalam paaduven nee vaazhathaan’, for me, ranks notches above Lata’s Baseraa equivalent ‘jahaan pe sawera ho, basera wohi hai’. Raveendran’s intricate piano and violin filigrees, and SJ’s remarkable rendition of the convoluted charanam lines makes the song very, very special.
Jahan pe sawera ho from Baseraa (1981)
KJY’s ruminative ‘maname mayangaadhe vidiyum kalangaadhe’, Chitra’ spirited ‘vilakku vechcha’, MV & Chitra’a joyous ‘vaanam engaL ellai’ are all noteworthy compositions.
Rasigan oru Rasigai (1986)
Rasigan oru Rasigai ( Vasan Brothers ) followed in February. Directed by Balu Anand, the film starred Satyaraj, Ambika, Ramesh, Janani and others. This album remains Raveendran’s best effort in Tamil. With an ensemble of singers like Yesudas, Jayachandran, Malaysia Vasudevan, S.Janaki and Vani Jairam, and a team of lyricists like Vaali, Pulamaipithan, M.G.Vallaban and Gangaiamaran,
Paadi azhaithen from Rasigan oru Rasigai (1986)
Raveendran came out with some timeless treasures. KJY’s ‘yezhisai geethame’ and ‘paadi azhaithen’, though re-purposed from Raveendran’s creations in Chiriyo chiri and Thenum Vayambum, made Tamil film music connoisseurs sit up and take notice of the composer.
Yezhisai Geethame from Rasigan oru Rasigai (1986)
VJ’s ‘Kaatrinile varum geetham’ is a fine racy number soaked in pristine classical notes. SJ’ s ‘unakkaagave naan uyir vaazhgiren’ fills the listener’s heart with a quiet rapture. And right from the opening humming, JC & SJ’s ‘amma adi amma sugam summa varuma’ thrills in the startling unpredictability of Raveendran’s arrangements.
Kaatrinile varum geetham from Rasigan oru Rasigai (1986)
‘Velli mookku minna minna’ has KJY enjoying a rare rustic outing, with his drawl on ‘kazhuthai saththam nalla sagunam’ adding to the appeal. MV’s ‘naadu nalla naadu’ catches your fancy even as the song unfolds with an unorthodox choral humming.
Velli mookku from Rasigan oru Rasigai (1986)
Deepavali fell on 1st November that year, and with it came two of Raveendran’s films, among a host of many high profile releases. Remember, Ilaiayraja’s landmark Punnagai Mannan, along with a formidable array like Aruvadai Naal, Kannukku mai ezhuthu, Thazhuvaatha KaigaL, Vidinja Kalyaanam and Maaveeran were all released on that day. In the midst of this enchantment, it is a wonder that Raveendran’s two albums too elicited notice.
Lakshmi Vandhaachu (1986)
Lakshmi vandhaachu ( Aieres Cine Arts ) was one of the two Deepavali releases of M Raveendran. “The Hindu” Rangarajan (who had produced Kanmaniye Pesu too) was the producer, and Rajasekar was the director again. The film was an adaptation of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Khubsurat. Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini, Revathi, Nizhalgal Ravi and Jayachitra were in the cast. SJ’s ‘Kaadhal vennila kannil vandhadhu’ showcases Raveendran in his scintillating elements, and not surprisingly the song could effortlessly claim a rightful share of airtime.
Kaadhal vennila kannil vandhadhu from Lakshmi Vandhachu (1986)
‘Kaalam kanindhadhu’ (KS Chitra) and ‘Sandhana nilavoli’ (MV coming out unscathed in this complex classical number!) are other enticing contents of the album.
Dharma Devathai (1986)
The other Deepavali’ 86 release of Raveendran was AVM’s Dharma Devathai . The film starred Vijayakanth, Radhika, Pallavi and Saratbabu. ‘Thodu thodu vaa mella’ (KJY/SJ) was the pick of the album. The sudden ‘Entharo mahanubhavulu’-ish Veenai flourish in the second interlude is such an imaginative touch! ‘Idhu natta nadu raathiri (SJ) and ‘Oorukku uzhaithaal’ (SPB) are other songs that I recall from the film.
Thodu thodu vaa from Dharma Devathai (1986)
Thaaye Neeye Thunai (1987)
1987 followed with Thaaye neeye thunai (Bhuvaneswari Kalamandir) releasing for Pongal. The film was directed by P.R.Somasundar, and like devotional films of yore, had a crowded cast – Karthik, Pandiyan, KR Vijaya, Nalini, Pallavi, Sudha Chandran, Srividya and many others. Raveendran worked with a bevy of lyricists like Vaali, Muthulingam, Ponnaruvi, Chidambaranathan and Thirupathooran, to come with a good album. ‘Koo kuyile kaadhal kavikkuyile’ is dainty duet by SPB & VJ. ‘Bhuvaneswari arul puri aadhari’ (KJY/Chitra) is a fervent, emotional appeal to the Almighty. Chitra’s ‘chellakkiliye’ is a caressing lullaby.
Bhuvaneswari from Thaaye Neeye Thunai (1987)
Malare Kurinji Malare (1993)
The last Tamil movie that came out with Raveendran’s music was produced by Raja Movie Productions. This film too was some years in the making. It was directed by A. Parthiban. An obscure Raja Venkatesh was the hero, while Seetha played his pair. Raveendran had sung in this album- the song ‘deepangale neengaL vizhi moodinaal’ is a veritable aural treat. ‘Kaadhal paingiliye’ (KS Chitra), ‘Vaa ilayavane’ (KJY/ Chitra), ‘Aathoram’ ( Mano/Chitra) are other memorable songs in the album.
Vaa ilayavane from Malare Kurinji Malare (1993)
With Malare Kurinji Malare (1993), Raveendran bid adieu to Tamil film music. His stay here was woefully brief, yet he has left behind some fleeting glimpses of his infinite capabilities. He will live on in our hearts, and his songs would continue to fascinate generations of fans.