Song: Sarasa mohana sangeethAmrutha
Music: G Ramanathan
Lyric: S D Sundaram
Singer: Seergazhi Govindarajan.
If anybody had asked me to cite an example in the raga Sudha dhanyasi some 25 years before, probably I would have said GNB’s Himagirithanaye Hemalathe, or for a film song, a KVM’s Kalaimagal enakkoru or a MSV-TKR’s Neeye unakku endrum or at best IR’s Maancholai kilidhaano. But certainly not had I listened to this SOTD before. Such was the fascination I had for this song from the moment I heard it in Radio Ceylon way back in early 80s. What a beautiful melody! How simple the tune is! Yet the majesty!
As has been his wont, GR has churned out a classical number and serves a feast for eternal joy to his listeners. A very neat work by GR. Just a harmonium, clarionet, flute and tabla. That GR brings the sa ga ma pa ni sa arohanam of the raga to begin the interludes is noteworthy though on the predictable lines but always remember a tabla in a GR song is a co-singer more than an accompaniment (thanks Bhairavan). Follow the tabla carefully in every GR song.
Another high point of the song is the class rendition of the song by Seergazhi Govindarajan. SG was a much sought after singer in the mid fifties after Thuraiyur Rajagopala Sarma gave him a launchpad in Ponvayal (1954) with an exquisite number Siripputhan varugudhaiyya ulagai kaNdAl. GR made it a point to bestow SG with atleast one good song in most of the films he did. The same voice which he used for comic songs in a previous film will be the hero’s voice in the next film sometimes even for Sivaji or MGR. SG’s ringing voice suits the SOTD to a T and particularly the ease with which he touches the higher octaves in the lines …sundara vaankavi sugakkuralil ezhum.. sudhandhira naadhamey sangeetham is really marvellous.
The lyricist of this song Kavignar S .D. Sundaram was a noted playwright during 40s and 50s best known for his play Kaviyin kanavu which had been shown umpteen number of times during the freedom struggle. In this song, he depicts how sublime good music to be, the sheer joy it gives, the power of music and how it influences the nature in simple but sweet words. I was touched by the lines …sandhaiyiley virkkum porulalla geetham, sindhaiyiley ezhum jeeva layam. I can see Papanasam Sivan influence in SDS lines. SDS is well-known for such songs as his another song in Manidhanum Mirugamum (1953) sung by CSJ is a classic…Kaalamenum chirpi seidha kavidhai thaai kovilada. SDS is not to be confused with one another lyricist of his times, a contemporary, ‘Clown’ Sundaram who had penned many comic songs for NSK in many of his films.
KokilavAni (1956) was produced by Forward Art Films, a production company formed by actor S. A. Natarajan (of Mandirikumari fame) with Chinnappa Devar and others and naturally S A Natarajan is the hero of the film. The female lead is Tambaram Lalitha (remember?). The story is a musical subject and hence the title Kokilavani. The title attracted me very much as it reminded me that great singer NCV. The movie was a box office disaster despite GR’s lilting music Let me not delve deep into the story lest you may not relish the beauty of this song.
When this writer requested SG in a wedding reception concert some time in mid-eighties to sing this song, the unassuming singer obliged by singing a few lines as he did not remember the full song nor could this writer help him with the lines then but SG made an appreciative gesture of the choice.
The other songs written by SDS in KokilavAni are Maalaiyiley manasAnthi thandhu (SG), Thiruvey en deviye (SG,Jikki). One other mentionworthy song in KokilavAni is Azhagodaiyil neendhum iLa annam sung by Jikki.