A well written and well composed song makes for not just wonderful listening but also a trip down memory lane when you first listened to the song. The song in question has the ability to make you want more from it- as if it has the ability to last a lifetime. Thanks to Ilayaraja and A.R.Rahman, I was brought up on a steady stream of such wonderful songs. Over time, preferences and choices mature leaning towards meaningful lyrics to complement a tune that connects.
One of such albums that has lasted in memory is Mouna Ragam. The Manirathnam masterpeice features brilliant lyrics by Vaali and tunes of gold by Isaignani Ilayaraja. The songs are available here for your listening pleasure. The pick of course is Mandram Vandha. Rarely has a piece conveyed so much in as little as 4 min 27 sec. SPB does wonders with Raaja’s tune and Valli’s words of such depth. The rest of the album overflows with music greatness that is at once simple and everlasting.
Last year, I was pleasantly surprised to hear and enjoy the music of Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya. ARR’s output has become more eclectic in recent times and lasting melodies are not quite as many as it used to be. There is a lot more experimentation as ARR, the genius is trying to expand his horizons. But VV as its popularly refered to hearkens back to simple tunes that get elevated by some wonderful lyrics. The album is available for your listening pleasure here. Each song conveys a lot but nothing more so than Mannipaaya. All of us at some point or the other have had an argument or two that last much longer than it should with their better half. This song captures that mood with a tune that soars with every passing second.
It is also interesting to think of these sound tracks and movies in juxtaposition with their times. Mouna Ragam established Manirathnam as an auteur of the great potential, one that he would go on to live upto. Gautham Menon has been a tremendously succesful director- but one whose output has been patchy. VV (which I have not seen due to personal reasons) has been well respected and well appreciated by one and all. From a music standpoint, Ilayaraja was in an upswing when Mouna Ragam came out and it cemented his greatness. VV was ARR’s first album post his Oscar win and much was expected and all of it was delivered and more. VV stands out as one of the recent albums that actually lasts over time. A rare occurance indeed. Finally, Vaali’s words give the platform for Raaja’s music and SPB’s voice to soar much as Thamarai’s words give a solid footing for ARR’s tunes in VV.
I wouldnt go so far to compare the two movies as each viewer chooses to view them objectively but under the context of when and how the movie was experienced. For young college going kids of today, VV might mean a lot more than a more mature offering in Mouna Ragam. At the same time, folks of a generation past will definitely reminisce on what Mouna Ragam meant to them, then. I will leave people to their nostalgic thoughts then and just savor the wonderful songs for now…