“Hariye Ninna Virasa Bhava” – Hari Bhaktha (1956) – Kannada Feature Film

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Hari Bhaktha – ಹರಿ ಭಕ್ತ (1956) – “Hariye Ninna Virasa Bhava” (ಹರಿಯೇ ನಿನ್ನ ವಿರಸ ಭಾವ) – (Raga Bhoopali/Deshkar) – Composed by Gurajada Krishnadas Venkatesh (G K Venkatesh) ಗುರಜದ ಕೃಷ್ಣದಾಸ್ ವೆಂಕಟೇಶ್ – Voice: P Susheela (ಪುಳಪಕ ಸುಶೀಲ)


Produced under the Vishwa Kala Chitra Banner by T. V. Singh Thakur & G N Viswanatha Shetty, “Hari Bhakta” (Bhakthi Genre) is a Kannada feature film directed by T. V. Singh Thakur (Assoc Dir G V Iyer). The film stars Rajkumar and Pandari Bai in lead roles. It had Mynavathi, Narasimharaju, G V Iyer, B Shanthamma, B Sharadamma, Sushilabai, H Ramachandra Shastry, B Anilkumar, Marirao, Varadaraj, Basavaraj, Guggu, Chidambara, Bhadrachari, Girimaji playing supporting roles. G. V. Iyer was responsible for the story-screenplay & dialogue while Ku. Ra.Seetharama Shastry & Gundu Rao provided the lyrical support. The film’s musical score was directed by Gurajada Krishnadas Venkatesh (G K Venkatesh). The other technical crew included B. Dorairaj (Cinematography), N. C. Rajan (Editor), P.S. Gopalakrishnan (Choreography), R.B.S. Mani (Art), N. Master (Costumes), K. V. Kumar/Muthu (Make-up) & A. Krishnan/Hari (Sound Recording).


Plot: The hero (Rajkumar) is a vain individual who spends his life in luxury and lust ignoring his wife (Pandari Bai). But when his wealth is appropriated by a royal courtesan (Mynavathi), he realizes life’s realities, reforms (spiritual quest) and spends the rest of his days serving his parents and his dear “Hari” (God).


The highlight of the film was its pleasing music (bhakthi laden tunes in both Hindustani & Carnatic styles) by G K Venkatesh (GKV). He was a prominent composer of film music in Kannada cinema during the 1960s, 1970s and until the late 1980s. He also composed music for Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu feature films. GKV was talented singer and excelled in playing the “Veena”. He played Veena for the 40s & 50s era legendary music composers such as S. V. Venkatraman, S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and C. R. Subburaman. He was credited for singing some of the “chorus” portions in the famed M. S. Subbulakshni starrer “Meera” (1945).


In the year 1950, he became an independent composer for a Malayalam film titled “Chechi”. The film starred Kottarakara Sreedharan Nair and the famed Miss Kumari in lead roles. After a two year hiatus, GKV became part of the legendary Viswanathan-Ramamurthy troupe while the duo was composing for the Tamil feature film “Panam” (1952). He was roped in to sing “Ezhayin Kovilai Naadinaen” (along with M L Vasanthakumari) in “Panam”. He continued to sing for the duo in their various projects including Vairamalai (1954) – “Nadana Kala Rani” with A P Komala & P Leela, Gulebakavali (1955) – “Villendum Veerarellam” with Tiruchi Loganathan & P Leela, Santhosham (1955) – “Theeyani Eenati Reyi” with P Susheela, Raja Malayasimman (1959) – “Maligaiyile Vasikkum” with P B Srinivas & Seerkazhi Govindarajan, Kavalai Illadha Manidhan (1960) – “Kannodu Vin Pesum Jadai” with K Jamuna Rani, T Bhagavathi & A L Raghavan, Pava Manippu (1961) – “Vandha Naal Mudhal” with T M Soundararajan, & Senthamarai (1962) – “Kanave Kadhal Vazhve” to name a few.


He continued to compose in Malayalam & Tamil in the early 50s & the film ‘Nadigai” was one of them & which did not do well at the box office. In 1955, he started to compose music for a Kannada films and became successful along with T G Lingappa & Vijayabhaskar. GKV launched P. B. Sreenivos as a successful playback singer in Kannada films. Some of his memorable Kannada films in the 50s & 60s include “ Ohileshwara”, “Hari Bhaktha”, Anna Thangi”, “Dharma Vijaya”, Mahishasura Mardhini”, “Jagajyothi Basweshwara”, “Dashavathara”, “Sreeshaila Mahathme”, “Kanne Theredu Nodu”, “ Bhoodaana”, “ Mahatma Kabir”, “Bangari”, “Gowri”, “Kanyaratna”, “Malli Madhuve”, “Killadi Ranga”, “Sati Savitri”, “Parvathi Kalyana”, “Manasakshi”, Goa dhalli CID”.

He came back to Tamil films in the mid-60s for “Magale Un Samathu” (1964), “Naanum Manidhan Thaan (1965) & Thaayin Karunai (1965). He continued composing with great success for Kannada films in the 70s – “Kasturi Nivasa”, “Baala Bandhana”, “Bangarada Manushya”, “Doorada Betta”, “Sampathige Saval, “Daari Thapidha Magha”, “Galata Samsara”, “Sannadi Appanna” & “Huliya Halina Mevu” with the trend continuing into the 80s as well. During this period he also composed handful of films in Telugu & Tamil. He was fondly remembered for introducing western orchestration in his films which was later followed suit by his disciple Ilayaraja.


GKV – P Susheela collaboration (Telugu, Kannda & Tamil) goes a long way since the early 50s and up to the late 80s. Some of the immortal hits include: “Preethine Aa Dyvarau – Doorada Betta (P B Srinivas, P Susheela)”, “Olavanthe Geluvanthe – Malli Madhuve” (P B Srinivas, P Susheela), “Ee Shubhdinada” “Gulaaabi O Gulaabi” – Naguva Hoovu (P Susheela), “Mrogindhhi Veena – Zamindargaru Ammayi”, “Kanulalo Neeroopam – Ravanude Ramanaithe”, Kalalu Kanna Radha – Pasi Hrudayalu, “Maduve Emba – Malli Madhuve”(P Susheela), “Ananda Thandamade – America Ammayi” (P Susheela), “Anbil Aaadudhe – Magale Un Samarthu” (P B Srinivas, P Susheela), “Elle UIru Hege Iru – Kasturi Nivasa” (P Susheela), “Nee Bantu Ninthaga – Kasturi Nivasa” (P B Srinivas, P Susheela), “Glibili Yaake & Mai Nimiri Ninthu – Manasakshi (P Susheela)”, “Ellirali Hegiralli – Bangarada Gudi (P Susheela)”, “Maguve Nanna – Chiranjeevi (P Susheela)”, “Ananda Sadhana – Ohileswara (P Susheela)”, “Bala Bangara Neenu – Bangaradha Manushya (P Susheela), Manjalum Vaazhga – Thenankeetru (P Susheela)”.


For “Hari Bhaktha”, the soundtrack directed by GKV had 13 songs. “Kannu Kannina Nota Berathiralu” (P Leela), “Hariye Ninna Virasa Bhaava” (P Susheela), “Ninna Nambide Hariye” (P Leela), “Paavanaaga Neela Gopala” (G K Venkatesh), “Naagambike Naa Vandipe” (P Susheela), “Neenaade Doora” (P Susheela), “Thaayi Thandeya Seveya Yoga” (Ghantasala), “Poojithare Nimma Prema Prabhava” (Ghantasala), “Nodalide Santhoshada Notavu” (G K Venkatesh), “Deva Darusuneva Needaya” (Ghantasala).


Kudos to the composition (set in slow tempo) & such extraordinary innovative rendition (for that era) with grace & finesse by Gana Saraswathi Susheelamma who captured the soul of the song!. The orchestration (bansuri, tabla & sitar) of GKV was simple & authentic lifting it to a “divine” territory. Now that is what I call a “devotional start”. Written, created and beautifully conceptualized by the Director, the celluloid treatment was out and out recreation of Krishna Bhakthi involving the story of man who undergoes a radical reformation and ultimately finds refuge in “Hari”.


The composition itself is set in Raga Bhoopali (Kalyan-anga) with traces of (Bilawal-anga) Raga Deshkar (both pentatonic ragas with identical swara set: s r g p d) as well. The ascent-descent is straightforward, and most of the elaboration in Bhupali takes place in the second half of the low register and the middle register. Ga and Dha are the important notes, and on Ga, Pa and Sa phrases commonly end. Raga Deshkar has the same ascent-descent as Bhupali but the note treatment and the melodic progression is different. Most light-music compositions seldom follow the strict construction of “raga lakshanas” and one cannot but note Bhoopali & Deshkar lurking behind each other. One of the immortal compositions in Raga Bhoopli is by Sabrang aka Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s (Patiala Gharana) “Prabhu Rang Bina”. This composition by GKV has similar hues as well.


The set is well designed to create the spiritual mood (feeling of dawn with dim lit lamps, smoke from incense). Pictured on actress Pandari Bai (brilliantly essayed the role) with tambur, Gana Saraswathi P Susheela begins her vocal act with a “zen-like”alaap displaying her exquisite tonal contours.


ಹರಿಯೇ ನಿನ್ನ ವಿರಸ ಭಾವ ಅರಿಯಲಾರೆನೋ
ಏನು ರೀತಿ ಏನು ನೀತಿ ಆವುಧೋಗತಿ
hariye ninna virasa bhava ariyalareno
yenu reethi yenu neethi aavudhogathi

With an underlying “Sakhya Bhava”- interactive conversatorial tone with Lord Krishna (as a friend) her dexterity and enigmatic expressions in “hariye ninna virasa bhava ariyalareno”, truly needs to be lauded. With the “Bhava”demanding purity, boldness, understanding & courage she beautifully glides through various layers of divinity in “yenu reethi yenu neethi aavudhogathi”- a conspicuous demonstration of equality & maturity – a vocal display of pure virtuosity & “adhyathmika”bhakthi.


ಮಧುವ ನೀವ ಹೂವ ಧೀಂಧೆ ಮುಲ್ಲಾ ನಿರಿಸಿಧೆ
ನಾಗಮಣಿಯ ಮುದಿಯತೆಳಗೆ ವಿಷಾಧ ಜೊಳಿಗೆ
ಅಲ್ಲೇ ಲೀಲೆ ಅಲ್ಲಾಹೂಲೆ ಬೆಲಡಿಹೆ ಮಾಲೆ
madhuva neeva hoovadindhe mulla nirisidhe
naagamaniya mudiyathelege vishadha jolighe
alle leele alle hoole belathige maale

With the metaphysical component (Vedanta) built into the composition, the songstress marshals’ great musical maturity and ingenuity while rendering “madhuva neeva hoovadindhe mulla nirisidhe naagamaniya mudiyathelege vishadha jolighe” – to realize the lyrics’ full potential. Listen to her glorious elaboration in “alle leele alle hoole belathige maale” – the beauty of Raga Bhoopali” just lies there – this simplicity of the scale.


ಹರಿಯೇ ನಿನ್ನ ವಿರಸ ಭಾವ ಅರಿಯಲಾರೆನೋ
ಏನು ರೀತಿ ಏನು ನೀತಿ ಆವುಧೋಗತಿ
hariya ninna virasa bhava ariyalareno
hariye ninna virasa bhava ariyalareno
yenu reethi yenu neethi aavudhogathi

ಮೂತಿನಂತ ಅತ್ತೆ ಮಮ ನಿತ್ಯ ಚಾರಣರು
ಮಗನ ಹಾಧಿ ಕಾಧು ಕಾಧು ಕೊರಗು ತಿರುವರು
ಬೆರೆಸೆಲೇಕೆ ಬೇವುಮಾವುಬಳಸಿಧೆ ನೋವು
muthinantha aththe mama nithya charanaru
magana haadhi kaadhu kaadhu koragu thiruvaru
berasalekhe bevumaavu balasidhe novu

Again the magical “bhoopali” ambience is created in the third lyrical stanza. Endowed with an extraordinary felicity of swara, Gana Saraswathi again prevails – with disciplined interpretation in “muthinantha aththe mama nithya charanaru magana haadhi kaadhu kaadhu koragu thiruvaru”. Her artistry stands as tall as the Himalayas with her supremely spontaneous (never a pre calculated arithmetic) “berasalekhe bevumaavu balasidhe novu”. She never compromises on a pure classical rendition that involves devotion (her magnificent rendering of “Ennai Pol Pennallavo” in Raga Todi from the 1957 movie “Vanangamudi). That is her forte.


ಹರಿಯೇ ನಿನ್ನ ವಿರಸ ಭಾವ ಅರಿಯಲಾರೆನೋ
ಏನು ರೀತಿ ಏನು ನೀತಿ ಆವುಧೋಗತಿ
hariya ninna virasa bhava ariyalareno
yenu reethi yenu neethi aavudhogathi

No gimmicks in rendition – just pure bhakthi. Thank you Gana Saraswathi P Susheela for that celestial rendering!


3 thoughts on ““Hariye Ninna Virasa Bhava” – Hari Bhaktha (1956) – Kannada Feature Film

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