“Bandhe Baruthava Kaala” – Spandana (1978) – Kannada 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.

A urbane vocal interpretation of Kannada “Bhavageethe” (ಭಾವಗೀತೆ) from the Southern Nightingale P Susheela authored by scholar & poet Dr. N S Lakshminarayan Bhat! Often compared to Ghazals, and quite popular in the Indian states of Karnataka & Maharashtra, “Bhavageethe” or “Bhavageeth” (Marathi) is a form of neo-impressionistic  Kannada poetry set to popular tunes encompassing a  wide range of subjects that include  love, nature, separation & ontology.

Winner of several awards including the national Sahithya Akademi (for literary merit & excellence in writing), Karnataka Sahithya Academy  (for “Horalu Daariyalli Kavya”) & Masti Venkatesha Iyengar (contributions to modern Kannada poetry), Dr. Bhat  popularized the works of the bard Shishunala Sharif that led to a renaissance in the Kannada Bhavageethe movement. His latest work, “Samagra Kannada Sahitya Charitre” (A Comprehensive History of Kannada Literature) was published in early 2014.

An exponent of Bhavageethe, C. Ashwath’s  compositions and musical score  (28 films) patronized “Sugama Sangeetha” & “Janapada Geethe” by including the literary works of  DR Bendre, Kuvempu, Adiga, G S Shivarudrappa, H S Venkatesha Murthy and N S Lakshmi Narayana Bhat to the “Hoi Polloi”.

Poetry: N S Lakshmi Narayana Bhat

ಬಂಧೇ ಬರುತಾವ ಕಾಲ
ಮಂಧಾರಾ ಕನಸನು ಕಂಡಂತ ಮನಸನು
ಒಂದು ಮಾಡುವ ಸ್ನೇಹಜಾಲ
ಮಾಗಿಯ ಎದೆ ತೋರಿ ಕೂಗಿತೊ ಕೋಗಿಲೆ
ರಾಗಧ ಚಂಧಕೆ ಬಾಗಿತೋ ಬಣವೆಲ್ಲ
ತೂಗುತ ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಮೈಯನ್ನ
ಸಾಗದು ಬಾಳು ಏಕಾಂಕಿ ಏನುತಾವ
ಹಿಣ್ಣಿಮೆ ಬಾನಿಂದ ತನ್ನನ್ನೇ ಸವಿಹಳು
ಚೆಲ್ಲುತ ಮೆಲ್ಲನೆ ನಲಿಸಿದೇ ಬುವಿಯನ್ನು
ಮುಸುಕಿದೇ ಮಾಯಾ ಜಾಗವನ್ನು
ಭುವಿ ಬಾನು ಸೇರಿ ಹರಸ್ಯಾವ ಬಾಳನು
ಬಂಧೇ ಬರುತಾವ ಕಾಲ
ಮಂಧಾರಾ ಕನಸನು ಕಂಡಂತ ಮನಸನು
ಒಂದು ಮಾಡುವ ಸ್ನೇಹಜಾಲ

A regular feature on the airwaves [Akashavani (AIR) – Bhadravati] in the late 70s, C Ashwath’s rhythm & orchestration (supported by renowned violinist L Vaidyanathan) is the most irresistible soundtrack from the film Spandana (a taut narration about intricacies of female sexuality & interpersonal relationship) with P Susheela’s montane voice for actress Aparna Narang – the song seems to exist in  a realm beyond human narratives.  Filmed in the picturesque Kudremukh region of the serpentine Western Ghats, B C Gowrishankar’s cinematography (known for his unorthodox style) captures the mood quite succinctly. He won the Karnataka State Film Award for “Best Cinematographer” for this film.

Susheela’s vocals  meticulously catalogues the Poet’s libretto with astonishing alacrity, call it  a  “woman’s ballad”. Cushioned in woodwind, guitars and percussion, Ashwath’s tune (simple structure) provides the ambiance as the mountain slopes recede in the background – a haunting rhythm that appropriates a remarkable range of emotions & the distant end. Susheela’s silken, breezy, meditative & vapory voice erupts as she dissects and echoes those syllables and extrapolates on them – makes this song timeless!

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