“Chinna Chinna Izhai” – Pudhayal (1957) – Tamil Feature Film

Composition Extraordinaire & Voice Immortal Series (14)

“Chinna Chinna Izhai” (Pudhayal -1957), Voice: P Susheela & Composed by Viswanathan – Ramamurthy

Glorifying the Weavers – A Bohemian Rendition from Gana Saraswathi Susheelamma!

An accelerated growth pattern for composers Viswanathan-Ramamurthy indeed since “Genova” (1953). Starring Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini Chandrababu & T S Baliah, the movie was written by M Karunanidhi, produced by Kamal Brothers and directed by acclaimed Krihnan-Panju, the film had a scintillating score by the duo. Especially the stunner “Vinnodum Mukhilodum” (shot in the pristine Elliots beach with Sivaji & Padmini) voiced by C S Jayaraman & Gana Saraswathi Susheelamma penned by Athmanathan..haven’t quite left my memory yet or for that matter film historians. 

Most of the songs were hits including “Hello My Dear Rami” & “Ellam Unakkaga”. Decca Recording Artist – Latin American musician, Tympanist & Trinidadian Edmundo Ros’s (in association with Ginger Johnson, the ace percussionist in the 1940s) number became an inspiration for MSV while composing “Hello My Dear Rami” rendered by Chandrababu in his inimitable style (“The Wedding Samba” – 1949 was a chartbuster) which was later on used by Salilda and many others. The songs “Thanga Mohana Thamaraiye” (Athmanathan) & A Maruthakasi’s “Aasai Kadhale Maranthu Po” (sad melancholic) from the movie both by the Divine Songstress Susheelamma also deserve a special mention and worth listening for the sake of nostalgia.

Known in movie circles as “Pattukottaiyar” (penned the mentioned song), he hailed from Pattukottai (Tanjore Dist) and worked at Kavignar Bharatidasan’s “Kuyil” magazine in his 20s.  It was in 1956 (at the age of 26) he got an opportunity to pen lyrics for the film “Maheswari” (a Modern Theatres production) for Composer Gopalsamy Ramanatha Iyer, that the Tamil film industry took notice of his genius. Incidentally the dialogues for the movie were written by the acclaimed C.V. Sridhar and the duo would join for the immortal classic ‘Kalyana Parisu” (1959) and their association would prove quite successful.  Some of the films for which he penned lyrics were Paasa Valai (1956), Rangoon Radha (1956), Ambikapathi (1957), Pudhayal (1957), Makkalai Petra Maharasi (1957), Pathi Bhakthi (1958), Chakravarthi Thirumagal (1957), Mahadevi (1957), Nadodi Manan (1958), Uthamaputhiran (1958), Aval Yaar (1959), Bagha Pirivinai (1959), Thanga Padhumai (1959), Irumbuthirai (1960), Punar Jenmam (1960), Arasilangkumari (1961), Thirudadhe (1961),.  His untimely death at the age of 29 created a void that was hard to fill.  The Government of India brought out a souvenir on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of India’s Independence recognizing Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathi, Pavendhar Bharathidasan and Makkal Kavignar Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram as the three foremost poets of the 20th century in Tamil.

Pattukottai was credited for introducing the words ‘Chinna” in many of his lyrics “Chinna Pennana Pothile”, “Chinna Kutti Nathana”, “Chinnan Chiru Kanmalar”, “Chinna Payale” and the trend contiues even to this day. 

chinna chinna izhai
pinnip pinni varum
siththirak kaiththari selaiyadi
namma thennaattil ennaaLum
koNdaadum vElaiyadi  

A splendid performance by Susheelamma (in mono recording)  and recognizably different kind of singing unheard in that era creates an impact with chorus and Viswanthan- Ramamurthy’s assertive rustic score. An unusual rendition with beautiful voice from top to bottom, that’s her trademark – simply indescribable.  The chorus builds up nice and easy and follows her energetically.  Highlighting the glory of weavers, the song features the beautiful actress Padmini in her heydays.

In the Pallavi “Namma Thennatil Ennalum Kondadum Velayadi” (vibrato extensions), she gives full dramatic weight to the Pattukkotai Kalyanasundaram’s lyrics (who is known to have embraced marxist ideology) and colors her voice accordingly.

annaiyar thanthaiyar vannak kuzhandhaigaL
punnagai mangaiyar potrip pugazhndhidum
aadaiyadi seivOmadi
podungadi ohhhh ….(chinna)

Here again, Susheelamma carries the tough lyrics (a jaw breaker) of Pattukkotai Kalyanasundaram  with such ease and clarity – her hallmarks.  A principal playback singer must be an expert and must commit themselves to the rigorous vocal techniques, dramatic virtues and cohesive integrity and Susheelamma exactly accomplishes that here.

sindhai chirrpigal dhesaththarignargaL
senthamizh cholaiyil pooththa kalaignargaL
mangala maanilam engaL mangala maanilam
kaakkum maRavar yaavarum
puvi vaazhvai uyarththum anbai ellorum
vaangi magizhum ponnaadaiyadi (chinna)  

Susheelamma sets this phrase off well with her rich soprano voice & soars repeatedly with creamy tone, purity, and ease when the composition demands it. Her interpretative techniques is displayed here at full throttle. In my opinion, there are three that are unsurpassable in this piece: Pattukkotai/Viswanathan-Ramamurthy/Susheelamma for their combined musical genius especially Susheelamma using her voluptuous instrument (vocal chords) singing at peak form, led by distinguished composer(s). The performance throughout is first rate & what a voice…..

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