“Viraha Nooru Nooru” – Edakallu Guddada Mele (1973) – 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.

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves”Federico Garcia Lorca

“Kaamaaturaanam Na Bhayam Na Lajja” (lit. trans. one who is blinded by lechery has neither fear nor ignominy) – An apothegm or subhashitani (Sanskrit epigrammatic verse) from ancient & medieval Indian literature is the apercu of this Kannada motion picture, Edakallu Guddada Mele. The feature film is loosely based on D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, brilliantly adapted by novelist Bharatisutha and narrates the knotty consanguinity between a couple (in a unhappy domestic life devoid of a physical mutualism) and their juvenile neighbor.

Directed by the legendary Puttanna Kangal, the movie starred Jayanthi, Aarathi, Chandrashekar and Shivaram. M. Ranga Rao composed the musical score, who was known for his mellifluous and euphonious tunes bolstered with strong classical nuances.  Ranga Rao introduced S P Balasubramanyam to Kannada films by offering him a duet song (Nakkare Ade Swarga – 1967 – “Kanasidho Nanasidho”)  alongside the preeminent vocalist P. Susheela.

Adjudged as one of Indian cinema’s distinguished filmmakers, Kanagal made indie movies – non formulaic (with a dose of commercialism) based on celebrated Kannada novels (Bandaya Sahithya or contumacious literature) that bore women-centric subject-matter, societal norms and bohemian themes. His filmography includes Gejje Pooje (based on M K Indira’s novel), Kappu Bilupu (1969), Sharapanjara (1971), Naagarahaavu (1972), Shubhamangala (1975) and Ranganayaki (1981), all of which are appraised as wasserscheide in Kannada cinema. He possessed an acute sense of imagery, thorough understanding of color concepts, effective use of cliche, and overall eye for wardrobe. His figurative treatment of characters  symbolized a deeper moral or spiritual meaning.  He was well known for his persuasive use of cinematic veneer to heighten the didactic effect of pivotal scenes.  To quote writer Muralidhara Khajane – “It is needless to say that this director who left an indelible mark on Kannada cinema, brought a rare dignity to film direction with his remarkable contribution”.


Lyrics: Poet Vijayanarasimha
Virahaaaa
Viraha Nooru Nooru Tharaha
Viraha Prema Kaavyada Kahi Baraha
Hareya Ukki Kareva Hakki
Hareya Ukki Kareva Hakki
Viraha Sahise Sahise Thaanendide
Aa Ha Aa Haa
Bhaavantharangadalli Allola Kallola
Premaantharangadalli Eneno Kolaahala
Bhaavantharangadalli Allola Kallola
Premaantharangadalli Enneno Kolaahala
Bhrunga Sanga Bayasi Hoovu
Bhrunga Sanga Bayasi Hoovu
Manadi Baadi Baadi Thaa Nondide..
Aa Ha Aa Haa
Viraha Nooru Nooru Tharaha
Viraha Prema Kaavyada Kahi Baraha
Gandharva Lokadalli.. Aa Aaaa..
Gandharva Lokadalli Romaancha Raathri
Madhuchandra Manchadalli Rasaheena Raathri
Gandharva Lokadalli Romaancha Raathri
Madhuchandra Manchadalli Rasaheena Raathri
Madhura Manada Aase Chigura
Madhura Manada Aase Chigura
Chivuti Chivuti Jeeva Noovaagide
Aa Ha Aa Haa
Viraha Nooru Nooru Tharaha
Viraha Prema Kaavyada Kahi Baraha
ವಿರಹಾಆ
ವಿರಹ ನೂರು ನೂರು ತರಹ
ವಿರಹ ಪ್ರೇಮ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಕಹಿ ಬರಹ
ಹರೆಯ ಉಕ್ಕಿ ಕರೆವ ಹಕ್ಕಿ
ಹರೆಯ ಉಕ್ಕಿಕರೆವ ಹಕ್ಕಿ
ವಿರಹ ಸಹಿಸೆ ಸಹಿಸೆ ತಾನೆಂದಿದೆ
ಆ ಹ ಆ ಹಾ
ಭಾವಾಂತರಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲೋಲ ಕಲ್ಲೋಲ
ಪ್ರೇಮಾಂತರಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಏನೇನೋ ಕೋಲಾಹಲ
ಭಾವಾಂತರಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲೋಲ ಕಲ್ಲೋಲ
ಪ್ರೇಮಾಂತರಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಏನೇನೋ ಕೋಲಾಹಲ
ಭೃಂಗ ಸಂಗಾ ಬಯಸಿ ಹೂವು
ಭೃಂಗ ಸಂಗಾ ಬಯಸಿ ಹೂವು
ಮನದಿ ಬಾಡಿ ಬಾಡಿ ಥಾ ನೊಂದಿದೆ
ಆ ಹ ಆ ಹಾ
ವಿರಹ ನೂರು ನೂರು ತರಹ
ವಿರಹ ಪ್ರೇಮ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಕಹಿ ಬರಹ
ಗಂಧರ್ವ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ . ಆ ಆಯಾ ..
ಗಂಧರ್ವ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ ರೋಮಾಂಚ ರಾತ್ರಿ
ಮಧುಚಂದ್ರ ಮಂಚದಲ್ಲಿ ರಸಹೀನ ರಾತ್ರಿ
ಗಂಧರ್ವ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ ರೋಮಾಂಚ ರಾತ್ರಿ
ಮಧುಚಂದ್ರ ಮಂಚದಲ್ಲಿ ರಸಹೀನ ರಾತ್ರಿ
ಮಧುರ ಮನದ ಆಸೆ ಚಿಗುರ
ಮಧುರ ಮನದ ಆಸೆ ಚಿಗುರ
ಚಿವುಟಿ ಚಿವುಟಿ ಜೀವ ನೋವಾಗಿದೆ
ಆ ಹ ಆ ಹಾ
ವಿರಹ ನೂರು ನೂರು ತರಹ
ವಿರಹ ಪ್ರೇಮ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಕಹಿ ಬರಹ
ವಿರಹಾಆ

The first scene creates the ambience and introduces the film’s central character – actress Jayanthi, sets in motion (a montage), cinematographed in picturesque mountain slopes of Coorg, a song expressing a primal urge of lust – pangs of separation from her army-veteran spouse and the accompanying peripeteia. Composer M Ranga Rao’s orchestral tune (drifting strings, woodwind & choral arrangements) set in Raga Bhimplas inspired Poet Vijayanarasimha to capture the tension of how libidinous yearning for another can be.  Kanagal summons diva P Susheela,  with her sybaritic vocals to reenact the realities of libertine longing – the tensity, the physicality and the associated vexation common to all humankind.  She sculpts in her normative feminine voice the inherent mood of the film with just one syllable “wanting” or “viraha” – quite symbolic from a auteur – that became her signature hit and withstood the tides of time – a psychedelic collaboration.

This earworm vacillates from coquettish to thoughtful reflection, and in both extremes, the orchestral instruments amplify the emotion and depth of the diapason. The strings and chorus ricochet into the harmony before taking over toward the end in a series of choral over-spill that fortify, perpetuate, and reinforce the vocal descant.

Call it a glasnost, this song of great lyrical excellence, is about candor and probity and Susheela personifies it.  Susheela’s prurient vocality is no alien to songs of lust, her documented repertoire spans all genres (classical, folk, popular, orchestral, jazz).  Kanagal simplified this viscid situation and made it about a woman who retains her own sense of self  and her yen, allowing her to reclaim it – “viraha sahise sahise thaanendide” – hear Susheela’s fully engaged grandiloquence!. In this tune, the protagonist’s own dark side is revealed to her.

Have no illusions, the heart of the matter here is the basic impulses, reaction, detachment and the despair of a lonely woman captured vividly in Susheela’s rendition for public consumption – “bhaavantharangadalli allola kallola premaantharangadalli eneno kolaahala” – the frankness, making few excuses about her motivations.  Enjoy the encoded resurgence of women empowerment  and the the urge to welcome the friction of salacity – bhrunga sanga bayasi hoovu manadhi baadhi baadhi thaa nondidhe – the explicit reasoning and its consequences.

But perhaps the second lyrical phrase, “gandharva lokadhalli” in Susheela’s timbre spoke volumes than the rest of the song – a compelling pitch. The coincidental chorus wasn’t going to hide it.  Makes us wonder whether the lyricist’s inspiration was borrowed from John Donne’s poems he wrote during the Renaissance period. The enormity of desire is the undercurrent here, and her passionate execution,  the intensity of her delivery – “gandharva lokadhalli romaancha raathri madhuchandra manchadalli rasaheena raathri” – the fantasies gaining enough momentum – acting as a voice of reassurance for the heroine and the director.

Susheela felicitously draws a vocal portrait of the separation, captures that period and what it feels like before the inevitable consummation – a mental state.  She pushes her tonal  boundaries – “chivuti chivuti jeeva novaagide” – to feel the pull of desire and throes of tension. Consider this masterpiece rendition by Susheela, as a athenaeum of lustful sensuality recorded for posterity.


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