“Oru Naal Iravu” – Kaaviya Thalaivi (1971) – Tamil Feature Film

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Faded Into Oblivion Series by Vicky Iyengar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Kaaviya Thalaivi – காவிய தலைவி (1971) – “Oru Naal Iravu” (ஒரு நாள் இரவு) – Raag:Madhukauns/Sumanesa Ranjani (மதுகௌன்ஸ்/சுமநேச ரஞ்சனி ) – Composed by M S Viswanathan (எம் எஸ் விஸ்வநாதன் ) – Voice: P Susheela (பி சுஷீலா) – Lyrics: Kannadasan (கண்ணதாசன் )

The Crown Jewel of the Southern Nightingale’s Repertoire! – Dual Polarity & Tonic Shifts deftly handled by the Empress of Playback P Susheela – vividly capturing the conflicting emotions of a mother-daughter’s sequestered bond. The emotion is imprisoned with such poignancy it seizes your attention at precise moments on screen enacted by actress Sowcar Janaki (Dual Role). The melodramatic haulage is evident in the haunting score (composer M S Viswanathan’s judicious use of the reed instrument “Shehnai” to evoke melancholia & cafard) providing the Soprano ample scope to extemporize with unerring precision. The vocal pyrotechnics creatively employed by the Soprano (tessitura, and timbre) in a contagious way should be quite covetous to her contemporaries.

She confronts the lugubrious libretto (down below) with a mindset that’s core to the character(s) – undergoing the mental distress and agony without ceding the territory to apery – a savvy demarcation that comes with accrued perspicacity over three decades in Celluloid playback. Singing involves vocal production accompanied by a dynamic and meaningful interpretation of the lyrics (melodic phrases with the intention of communicating happiness, sadness, irritation, or no emotion), which may serve as ancillary gestures that complement, disambiguate, or reinforce the character’s tribulations on screen. P Susheela effectively decodes those emotional signals portrayed by the heroine Sowcar Janaki (emotions are encoded in a range of acoustic attributes, including contour, modality, pitch height, intensity, tempo, and rhythm). Finally, the song is about living in the moment and feeling every tinge of pain experienced by the character & the Soprano accomplishes that with her extraordinary rendition!

oru naal iravu pagal pol nilavu kanavinile yen thaai vanthal
kanna sugama krishna sugama kanmani sugama sol yendral
kanmani sugama sol yendral
kungumam irunthathu netriyile siru kuzhappam nirainthathu kangalile
thangam pondra idhazhkalile oru kalakkam piranthathu varthayile
kalakkam piranthathu varthayile
yennuyir thaaye neeyum sugama irupathu yenge sol yendren
annayin mugamo kanbathu nijame kanavo nanavo sol yendren
kanavo nanavo sol yendren
kanna sugama krishna sugama yen kanamni sugama sol yendren(2)
kanamni sugama sol yendren
vaanathil irunthe padugiren yentha vazhiyilum unnai thedugiren
magale vaazh yena vaazhthugiren
naan marupadi piranthal sernthiruppen (4)

Note: Soprano Vocal Range from a note below middle C3-C6 (High) to the F or G note 2 octaves above (F6 or G6), making it a range of 2+ to 3 octaves). A Soprano would also probably transition out of her chest voice around the E flat note above middle C (E4) and shift into her head voice around the F sharp note one octave above the middle C (F5)


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