“Vaazhvidhe Inbam Maanila” – Thozhan (1960) – 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.

“Vaazhvidhe Inbam Maanila” (வாழ்விதே இன்பம் மாநில) – Thozhan (தோழன்  1960) – Cast: R. S. Manohar, Narasimha Bharathi,  Anjali Devi & Madhuri Devi – Direction: K Vembu – Voice: P Susheela (பி சுஷீலா ) – Composer – Gopalsamy Ramanatha Iyer (ஜி ராமநாதன் )

The Southern Nightingale & the Equestrian Escapism at its Finest – Longing for Women’s Entitlements!

Produced by A Thiruvengada Mudaliar (ADM Pictures), Thozhan is a 1960 Indian Tamil language Feature Film. The cast and crew of Thozhan includes R. S. Manohar, Narasimha Bharathi,  Anjali Devi & Madhuri Devi. The film was directed by K. Vembu  and G Ramanathan provided the musical score. Director/Producer K Vembu’s fimmography includes “Ponnaruvi” (1947), “Pichaikkari” (1951),  “Jeevana Nauka”, “Amma” (1952), “Manidhanum Mirugamum”, “Mamiyaar” (1953), “Nalla Kaalam” (1954), “Porter Kandhan”, “Medhavigal” (1955), “Nannambikai” (1956), “Manaiviye Mandhanin Manickam” (1959), “Thozhan”, “Raja Bhakthi” (1960).

Lyrics: Maruthakasi
வாழ்விதே இன்பம்
மாநில மீது மங்கையர் நமது
வாழ்விதே  இன்பம்
வளமான நாடு கலைஞான வீடு
புவி மீதிலே இதற்கேது ஈடு
ஆண்களை போலே ஆற்றலினாலே அரசாளும் பெண்கள் நாம் இந்நாட்டின் கண்கள்
தலை போகும் போதும் தளராமல் நாமே தன்மானமே காப்பாற்றுவோமே
தலை போகும் போதும் தளராமல் நாமே தன்மானமே காப்பாற்றுவோமே
வஞ்சகர் வீழ மற்றவர் வாழ வளையாடும் கையில் நாம் வாளேந்துவோமே
வஞ்சகர் வீழ மற்றவர் வாழ வளையாடும் கையில் நாம் வாளேந்துவோமே
வாழ்விதே இன்பம்
மாநில மீது மங்கையர் நமது
வாழ்விதே  இன்பம்

The horse (equus ferus caballus) sound that we hear in this recording reminds me of Benjamin Britten’s “Sinfonia da Requiem”, Alexander Glaznov’s (Finale, “Galloping of the Crusaders” passage), Ferde Grofe’s (“On the Trail” Third Movement). The stereotypical horse’s galloping rhythm coincided neatly with P Susheela’s vocalise (swift tonic slides). How brilliant of G Ramanathan to have adopted this tune! He has offered his share of these equestrian classics going all the way back to films like “Haridas” (1944) – M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar’s “Vazhvil Or Thirunaal”& “Uthamaputhiran” (1958) – P Susheela/Jikki’s “Manulagellam Vinnulagaga”. Similarly, stereotype or not, there’s no shortage of songs (actors riding on  horses) in the Indian celluloid (the love affair continued from the 30s until the 80s).

Pictured on actress Anjali Devi, the song was ( about the freedom to dream) composed by G Ramanathan in the waning days of his career, circa 1960. The brass (muted trumpet), woodwind sections and background chorus keeps the equestrian tradition alive.  Susheela’s tone has a prairie  feel to it as she saddles (sitting tall) herself firmly into the orchestral rhythm (e.g. “valamana naadu kalaignyana veedu puvi meedhile idharkedhu eedu”). Lyrically & melodically one is  hooked to G Ramanathan’s aggressive beats. The rhythm  gives the feeling of a slow methodical horse ride, doesn’t it? Maruthaksasi’s lyrics are kinda hippy, but one can really get into the groove of the music – therapeutic indeed. Horses have a natural cadence when they walk, trot, cantor and gallop & Susheela’s rendition (tonal balance) amalgamates these elements quite succinctly.

The recording itself is a masterpiece, the arrangement’s galloping effect is superb (especially the progressive second interlude) and it has surely enhanced my love and deep appreciation for P Susheela’s sterling vocals.

Note: Seen in the photo above are: Director Ellis R Duncan, Actor Narasimha Bharathi & Actress Madhuri Devi During the Production Shoot of the Song “Neelavaanum Nilavum Pole” for Modern Theatres’s film “Ponmudi” (1950).


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