Retro Ruminations: Thillu Mullu Thillu Mullu from Thillu Mullu (1981)

SPB’s opening songs for Rajinikanth are a genre of their own, aren’t they? In fact, they should coin a name for it. ‘Electro-pump’ or something. Damn, what power in those renditions, man! I guess the amount of energy that the singer has packed into those Superstar intro-songs from the 90s through the 2000s, if bundled together, could easily beat a rocket blast-off. No, don’t give me that look. Ask Alexander Babu.

But, before Rajini became a demigod of sorts, and started spouting random ‘catchy’ vocables in the pallavi, and profound life lessons in the charanams, there was a time when the two could afford to let their hair down and have some madcap fun, like how we normal souls do. On one such occasion, when MSV and Kannadasan decided to whoop up the party to the next level, this cheery beauty called Thillu Mullu Thillu Mullu happened.

There’s something about these ‘happy’ songs that you hear in your early days that stays with you till the end of time. Sometimes, you wish you could take that kind of unadulterated joy, blow it up into a bubble, and live inside it forever. This feeling gets intensified when you hear SPB going “லா ல லா… லா ல லா… லா ல லா…லா ல லா… லா ல லா” after ten seconds of the zappy “Thillu Mullu Thillu Mullu” chorus.

And exactly coinciding with the delightful hum, the name ‘Rajinikanth’ appears on-screen, in the backdrop of the man doing his swag version of “Endrendrum Punnagai” on the classic Enfield, with Gundu Kalyanam on the pillion for company, albeit for a mere 5 seconds. If you have a cynic friend who’s still in doubt about the actor’s charisma, this is the visual that will make him a convert.

And when SPB gets the show on the road with “தில்லு முள்ளு தில்லு முள்ளு, உள்ளமெல்லாம் கல்லு முள்ளு,” you can sense this cheerful sparkle in his voice.

But, what sets the track apart from the numerous others in this space is the man’s assiduity in not overselling that buoyancy at any point. His vocals, despite the gleeful satire, stay firmly grounded and largely relatable, to an extent that it’s tough not to sing along.

The backing arrangements are pretty minimal, with some light trumpets, subtle percussions, and a hint of the bass guitar. But, the ‘party mood’ explodes like crazy.

ஆயிரம் நாடகம்…
ஆயிரம் வேஷங்கள்!

SPB resumes after a mini-interlude, featuring some exuberant brass. The man is set on having some screwball fun, and it readily shows.

மன்னவன் வேஷத்தில் வந்தான்
அவனிடம் ராஜாங்கம் கிடையாது…
மாப்பிளை வேஷம் போட்டான்
அவனிடம் பெண்ணொன்று கிடையாது!

Meanwhile, Rajini is rollicking on-screen, doing all kinds of zany steps. It’s truly a sight to behold.

வெட்கம் இல்லை துக்கம் இல்லை…
ஹோ ஹோ
வேஷம் ஒரு தோஷம் இல்லை…
ஹோ ஹோ

This is the part where SPB truly aces the wacky tone of the composition. Even as he keeps escalating the bounce in his voice, the “Ho Ho” chorus in the background fleshes out the track’s devil-may-care vibes.

But, the song’s signature moment of irreverence happens just after this chorus, with Kannadasan having a field day at the studio.

காலையில் சாமியார்…
மாலையில் மாமியார்!

While SPB goes about this unparalleled pearl of wisdom armed with his trademark chuckle, Rajini plays this on-screen with a one-of-a-kind cocky charm that promptly rubs off on you. It’s a riot, to say the least.

KB now intercepts the track with a hilarious sketch, where Rajini and Kalyanam pilfer a bottle of petrol from an unsuspecting passerby’s bike, right under his nose, to fill up their bullet’s dry tank. The dialogues are a scream, but one particular part, where the duo walk back to their bike with a super-conceited celebratory gait, will make you laugh your ass out.

The trumpets and the percussions return for a few seconds, and before you know it, SPB is goofing around, yet again, with the cheeky lyrics.

நல்லது செய்திட பொய் சொல்லலாம்
என வள்ளுவர் சொன்னாரு
நாட்டுக்கு கோவிலை கட்டிட
ஒருவர் திருடவும் செய்தாரு

Rajini uses the opportunity to flaunt some of his crazy moves, and boy, does he own them!

சத்தியத்தை சொல்லிவிட்டு தத்துவத்தை விட்டுவிட்டு
போவதும் வாழ்வதும் லாபமா பாவமா?

Kannadasan, on his part, keeps toying with the concept of “edhu thevaiyo adhuve dharmam” in increasingly amusing ways.

நல்லதுக்கு கத்தி எடு…
ஹோ ஹோ
இல்லையினா விட்டு விடு…
ஹோ ஹோ

And right there, Rajini gets a little moment to showcase his another avatar, something he had consciously stayed away from, for the past four minutes. And naturally, it gives you a fleeting kick.

Nevertheless, Kannadasan quickly takes over.

எண்ணமும் செய்யலாம் நன்மை தான் முக்கியம்!

How many lyricists you know can sum up their film, with a punch, in the concluding line of the title song? Well, that’s the kind of magic this timeless track is riddled with.

Funny, funky and impudent, this title track will always be a testament to that side of Rajinikanth, we, as an industry, failed to tap into.

***


Here’s the track:

Retro Ruminations: En Vaanile from Johnny (1980)

Did I say 1993 was a watershed moment in Indian cinematic music? Well, not going back on that, any time soon.

But, rewind 15 years from then, and you will see that a certain Ilaiyaraja had single-handedly capsized the long prevalent theories on film music with such authority that the discontinuity almost changed the entire dynamics of song composition.

Let me explain.

Prior to Raja, the music director was, in principle, a person who could set some catchy tunes. The industry nor the audience expected the musician to be well versed in orchestration. This meant that the majority of the musical pull resided in the tune, and consequently, the vocalists became the string pullers. The orchestration was seen as an unavoidable ‘support’ to the tune and was hence, mostly woven around it.

Raja changed all that.

Yes, one fine day, this man started treating his songs with the outlook of a western classical symphony – the idea being, while there is a central melody, the ‘song’ is not just the melody. And all of a sudden, there were multiple threads running in parallel with the melody, or at times, overshadowing the melody, in a way that shook the industry; mainly because none of the strains could be dispensed off, without affecting the summative effect.

And before you knew it, the ‘song’ became an ‘integral whole’, instead of two separate things – tune and orchestration – stitched together. The implicit bias towards the tune, based on a random rationale that it was the one that affected the ‘mainstream’ listener and more music in the interlude will distract him, was thrown out of the window, with the kind of scorn it deserved.

And so, with Raja taking over, the signature flourishes started sprouting out over the course of the entire song. more so in the preludes and the interludes, instead of being ‘trapped’ inside the tune. The interludes were no longer just cursory bridges connecting the stanzas. They became incredibly elaborate, at times more astounding than the principal tune. As a logical consequence, quite some magic happened. At times, the man would pull out a rabbit from his hat. At another, when you are expecting a rabbit, a dinosaur will jump out. But, you wouldn’t wince. Because he would go on to sell even that level of audacity, with an air of nonchalance.

En Vaanile from Johnny is one such magical act. The tune, to start with, is an instant winner. To be fair, it could walk around wearing a “Straight Outta Heaven” T-shirt. But, the prelude that leads to the ‘pallavi’ is where Raja comes into play. The slow, hesitant piano chords, which revel in their dissonance, interjecting between Jency’s iconic “No No No No” and “HmmHmmm, Just Listen” are one of the many things that lift the track to those stratospheric heights.

And when the piano subsequently kicks in with the principal melody, it’s like walking through a rainbow (0.18 to 0.36). No wonder, Yuvan got inspired.

The fact that Jency’s vocals pan out as an organic extension of the alluring chords is proof enough of the songstress’ capabilities. She flows with the tune, and the lyrics, in a way that promptly awakens and stirs the slumbering romantic in you.

என் வானிலே ஒரே வெண்ணிலா
காதல் மேகங்கள்…
கவிதை தாரகை… ஊர்வலம்

என் வானிலே ஒரே வெண்ணிலா…

With just nine words to drive the ‘melody’, any other composer might have sought an extra stanza, to make for an ‘anupallavi’. But Raja gearshifts straightaway, and launches the breathtaking first interlude that slingshots the fabric of the song to a whole new romantic orbit. And, the biggest feat is that Raja makes you perceive this ‘breakaway’ arrangement as a natural expansion of the track, without a hint of a jolt.

The transition from Jency’s trail-off with “ஒரே வெண்ணிலா…” to the subtle piano strokes at 1.08, leading on to the reign of the solo violin, is as smooth as silk. There are no jagged ends, none whatsoever. And when the flute makes an appearance, soon after, it’s like a mellow ‘jam session’ between the two for a few seconds. But, it’s only at 1.22 – fourteen seconds into the interlude – that Raja’s wizardry truly comes through. While the solo first violin keeps playing in the foreground till 1.31, the second and the third violins begin to play alternatively in the background from 1.32. This hypnotic structure is repeated once more, and when the backing violins taper off into the mesmerising piano chords at 1.49, it seems like the ultimate gate pass to nirvana.

When Jency returns to tug at your heartstrings, the piano just segues into her honeyed vocals of the charanam, without making a fuss about it. And the bass guitar, just like a skilled editor, exists in the backdrop, as an invisible entity, giving the final output its many hues and edges.

நீரோடை போலவே என் பெண்மை
நீராட வந்ததே என் மென்மை
சிரிக்கும் விழிகளில் ஒரு மயக்கம் பரவுதே
வார்த்தைகள் தேவையா…

Meanwhile, Rajinikanth and Sridevi are battling it out on screen with their subtle gestures and kinesics. And there’s something about the visuals that impart an ethereal quality to the whole stretch. One particular shot, which gazes at the duo – Rajini standing besides the piano as Sridevi seems lost in the keys – from a distance through the suspended bell curtains, nails the cloud of hesitance hanging over them, like no amount of close-ups would. And that insert of the maid, sitting on the stairs, fascinated beyond words at the way things unfold… that’s Mahendran, stamping his mark on the Raja spell.

And, as you get hit by yet another unique love child of the violin and the flute in the name of the second interlude, one thing is clear. Something like this was possible only because of Raja’s belief in his audience. Yes, a section of the listeners could be unsure of the technicalities, but if you know your stuff and crack the recipe to deliver it in style, the subconscious impact is bound to happen. This undaunted faith in the consumers’ innate perceptive abilities is the reason why a beauty like En Vaanile exists.

***


PS: All specified time-frames are in reference to this version of the track:

Here’s a remastered HD audio version:

Retro Ruminations: Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru from Thambikku Entha Ooru (1984)

If you do a google search for ‘falling in love’, the first result returned is, “What are the symptoms of falling in love?” Symptoms. Yes, as in a pathological condition. Because, what is ‘falling in love’ if not your brain and body riddled with unusual and uncontrollable cognitions?

Will this state of heightened sensorium be readily evident, then? Yes, pretty much, according to Freud.

Can this paradoxical plight be brought alive, and frozen into a timeless piece of art, to be celebrated by generations to come, by the magic that is music?

“Well, the pleasure is mine,” says Raja and comes up with Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru, a one-of-a-kind ode to the twistedly-blissful feeling of the free-fall into the abyss of romance.

And mind you, ‘falling in love’ and ‘being in love’ are two different things. It’s falling in love that truly screws you up. It is falling in love that makes you walk on desolate meadows, whistling a tune of intoxicated cheer. And SPB, deftly takes in all those heady vibes, to kickstart the melody with a humming bit that drips of tipsy endearment.

And Raja sneaks in some elysian violin notes (0.14 to 0.19), before SPB starts melting in the world’s most natural high, almost like a candle, dripping off wax.

காதலின் தீபம் ஒன்று
ஏற்றினாலே என் நெஞ்சில்….

And, the man totally kills it. Giving this thing – something that is basically awful and yet also the best thing that can be experienced – a voice, and making it flow like a silvery stream, is no mean feat, and SPB goes about it, almost like a love-drunk youth unbridling his heart.

ஊடலில் வந்த சொந்தம்
கூடலில் கண்ட இன்பம்
மயக்கம் என்ன…
காதல் வாழ்க!

And, Raja gives a whole new colour to this impulsive bounce between euphoria, energy hikes, racing pulses, insomnia, loss of appetite, tremors, and splashes of laid-back beatitude, with the first interlude, which has the flutes and the violins going on a fascinating duet (0.58 to 1.32).

When you are plummeting down the love wormhole, and can’t get that person out of your mind, a ray of optimism constantly clouds your being. Every new day brings with it a deluge of newfound joys. Your thoughts suddenly seem to be on trampoline mode over that person.

நேற்று போல் இன்று இல்லை
இன்று போல் நாளை இல்லை….

While SPB nails this virtual ‘flight-mode’ with his vocal histrionics, the man on screen, Rajinikanth, is at his charming best. There’s something about the actor and the way he imbibes that buzzed-up feel of impassioned love – to let out a super-adorable version of himself – that instantly ignites your hearts.

அன்பிலே வாழும் நெஞ்சில்
ஆயிரம் பாடலே…
ஒன்றுதான் எண்ணம் என்றால்
உறவுதான் காதலே
எண்ணம் யாவும்…. சொல்ல வா!

The butterflies in your stomach, indeed, feels like the ravishing guitar riff that Raja uses to open the second charanam (2.29 to 2.45). And when the track’s signature violin-flute combo joins in, soon after, it feels like being lost in paradise.

And suddenly, you have a different version of you – the part which is constantly being defined and sculpted by your beloved.

என்னை நான் தேடித் தேடி
உன்னிடம் கண்டு கொண்டேன்…

SPB, meanwhile, keeps digging into this dopped perception of the world with his cute little inflections. And in the resulting realm, everything seems so incredibly beautiful. Everything is art.

பொன்னிலே பூவை அள்ளும்
புன்னகை மின்னுதே…
கண்ணிலே காந்தம் வைத்த
கவிதையைப் பாடுதே
அன்பே இன்பம்… சொல்ல வா!

They say there’s a Raja song for every mood and moment. This one is for the times when you decide to give your heart away, which amounts to one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences, known to man. And naturally, Kaadhalin Deepam feels like drifting through thin air. But, at times, it can also feel like sky-diving from the Burj Khalifa; that is, if you are in the groove.

***

PS: All specified time frames are in reference to this version of the track:

Here’s a remastered HD audio version:

Retro Ruminations: Thenmadurai VaigaiNadhi from Dharmathin Thalaivan (1988)

What would we do without the little joys that music is littered with? And you know, they are so many of them, if only you could recognise them for what they are. At times, it’s about the flow and shape of a tune that encourages you to predict its direction, plunge into its emotions, and follow along, like that Hutch dog trailing its master. At others, it’s the lyrics of a certain song that remind you of someone special. On occasions, it’s the arrangements, which are so soothing that you have simply come to identify with them at a subliminal level. Some times, its the magic of the vocalist, who touches a random raw nerve in your cognition. Maybe, it’s the corresponding visuals that take you back to some cherished time frame.

Or perhaps, it’s an unfathomable combination of all these elements, which are so skilfully knitted together, that you can’t point a finger at a single distinct entity that lends that magical aura to the whole?

Thenmadurai Vaigai Nadhi from Dharmathin Thalaivan, arguably, is the archetype of the last kind. The track, to be honest, has so much going for it that you don’t even know where to begin.

But, I guess the delightful piano piece that kickstarts the proceedings is a good place to start. It’s a stunning piece of orchestrational beauty, where Raja plays god by piecing together musical notes that seem to have some sort of a domino effect on your perception of pleasures. You feel jazzed up.

And this spectacular bit gets adorned with some exquisite visuals, which start off with the search for the birthday boy, who’s supposed to have graced the party by the time. And, the camera gazes down from the balcony at the man – Rajinikanth, at his suave best – seated in front of the towering piano, dressed in pristine-white. And as we zoom in, the actor’s captivating smile, along with the imposing instrument, shimmers with an unmatched elegance. His fingers dance across the keys, alighting first on ivory, and then gliding to ebony. His head angles towards the keyboard, hair falling past his sparkling eyes. The note stand lies empty; he reads the notes within his mind. Slowly, the music fills the hall to the brim, and then spills out on you, like an enchanting spell.

That’s Raja for you, heralding the atmosphere of cheer and togetherness, within the first 16 seconds of the composition.

And now, SPB steps in, edging up the mood, with a tone that rings with sprightly charm. He gives the rendition a superb kind of resplendent flavour, which is skilfully balanced with a hint of dramatic subtlety.

தென்மதுரை வைகை நதி
தினம் பாடும் தமிழ் பாட்டு

Raja, meanwhile, keeps at a subtle blend of keys, boxed-up percussions, and the bass guitar – a combination that works wonders in the background.

The precision with which SPB imbues his voice with the personality of the man, seated at the piano, and the understated festive spirit, is something else. It gets you emotional, in a way, no amount of words can.

தேய்கின்றது பொன் மாலை நிலா
தேயாதது நம் ஆசை நிலா
இது வானம் போலே வாழும் பாசம்

The piano keys return for the stunning interlude, but recede back just in time, to give space for one of the most legendary violin bits (1.11 to 1.25) in the history of our cinemas. There’s something about the way it sets your heart into the deepest of symphonies. And Prabhu plays this stretch with so much of heartfelt warmth that it instantly swells your soul.

And SPB gets back to his dazzling routine in the first charanam, with some spontaneous conjuring up of endearment. His vocal interpretation of the brotherly bond is vivid and intense, yet adorable.

நம்மை போல நெஞ்சம் கொண்ட
அண்ணன் தம்பி யாரும் இல்லை
தன்னைப் போல என்னை என்னும்
நீயும் நானும் ஓர் தாய் பிள்ளை

There’s so much chemistry in play between Rajini and Prabhu that the two actors ace the sibling dynamics, just by being themselves on screen. And consequently, the visuals, so to speak, write themselves.

தம்பி உந்தன் உள்ளம் தானே
அண்ணன் என்றும் வாழும் எல்லை
ஒன்றாய் காணும் வானம் என்றும்
ரெண்டாய் மாற நியாயம் இல்லை

SPB’s voice, as the stanza progresses, starts affecting you, in increasingly mesmerising ways. An uplifting spirit permeates the setting.

கண்ணோடு தான் உன் வண்ணம்
நெஞ்சோடு தான் உன் எண்ணம்
முன்னேறு நீ மென்மேலும்
என் ஆசைகள் கை கூடும்

இந்த நேசம் பாசம்
நாலும் வாழ்க….

Another sweet flourish of the strings defines the second interlude, and with the blissful flute tagging along, it’s one hell of a riveting ride (2.21 to 2.51).

And when SPB resumes with “நெஞ்சில் என்னை நாளும் வைத்து, கொஞ்சும் வண்ணத் தோகை ஒன்று,” you know that the man has effortlessly changed track, and is channelising his inner romantic now.

பூவைச் சூடி பொட்டும் வைக்க
மாமன் உண்டு மானே மானே…

What sets SPB apart is his masterful manipulation of timbre and colour, which he uses to his advantage in this track, to unleash two different versions of him.

உள்ளம் தன்னை கொள்ளை கொண்ட
கள்வன் இங்கு நானே நானே…

The ease with which he slips into the roles of a loving brother and a swooning beau – within the framework of a four-minute track has to be experienced to be believed. If still in doubt, lend an ear to the way he gives that impish twist to that “Maaney,” and you will know.

உன்னோடு தான் என் ஜீவன்
ஒன்றாக்கினான் நம் தேவன்…

And Rajini, on the other end, is on a roll. With his piercing glances that double up as unwritten love-letters, coy smiles that are soaked in oodles of style, and a body language that reflects the character’s integrity and promise, the actor brings alive the guileless Balu, in flesh and blood.

நீ தானம்மா என் தாரம்
மாறாதம்மா என் நாளும்!

இந்த நேசம் பாசம்
நாளும் வாழ்க…

Well, honestly, what would we do without the small joys of music? Or harder still, what would we do without Raja?

***


PS: All specified timeframes are in reference to this version of the track:

Here’s a remastered HD audio version:

Sundari Kannaal from Thalapathi: The seething agony of lost love

You know that feeling when you are walking down the road and all of a sudden, you stumble upon that one soul, whom you wished you would never see again?

That person whom you once thought you would be sharing your joys, fears and secrets., forever. It’s tough to describe, right?

At first, it’s like a sharp stab to the gut, which slowly goes boring up your chest. You had gone over this potential situation a thousand times in your head, but still, the momentary shock is seething.

You almost forget to breathe.

The immediate neighbourhood evaporates into thin air, and you stand there frozen, trying to make sense of all the madcap cardiac mayhem.

You badly want to stop staring ahead, lest you come across as a lovelorn zombie, but you can’t help it.

For a moment, you feel nothing. It’s a blank limbo.

And when you recover, after what seems like a life-time, you are free-falling down this vortex of memories – sweet, painful, awkward, frustrating, in every possible permutation – wafting around you like finite objects that could be touched and felt.

You think you can leave them alone, but that’s just your brain playing futile games with your heart. You are only offered an illusion of choice.

You need to embrace them all – even the barbed painful bits– before you could even contemplate a diplomatic resolution.  And all of these, in a matter of seconds.

It’s brutal, to the point of being unimaginable. But that’s how it is.

Subhalakshmi would know.

Perhaps… not the burning intensity that youthful love imparts to the whole picture, but nevertheless, she had loved from the bottom of her heart.

It had broken her once, and despite the rehabilitation she had been through since then, the scars were still too young to be ignored.

She had not expected to bump into Surya at her doorstep that evening.

Given a choice, she might have preferred not to, but there is no way you could see through her subconscious.

The moment she sees him approaching the staircase, her face goes blank.

No expressions, whatsoever. Is she hurting? Is she happy? Is she cursing her destiny? Is she completely over him? Is she resentful? Is she guilty? Whatever that she is feeling doesn’t translate to her countenance for a while.

She just gazes ahead at the person who is standing frozen within a ten-foot distance, someone she thought she knew but, in reality, didn’t.

Seconds drag on.

And slowly, the emotional avalanche starts showing in her eyes, as Surya takes slow steps forward.

Just like it did, when she first felt his presence in a temple, in a time-frame that spuriously felt like the recent past.

She had caught him glancing at her for a split-second.

It had indeed intimidated her to start with, but something about that glance had also felt magical and warm, at no point associated with lechery.

She had seen him again a few days later, but this time, the man had forcibly acquired her gold bangle to pay for the treatment of a nine-year-old’s ailing mother.

Subhu had cursed him on the outside, but he had already incited something beautiful inside her.

She couldn’t make much sense of it, but it was there in a corner, waiting to be released – yearning to be acknowledged.

Eventually, it had happened soon enough, with the man coming to her dance class to return the bangle, and in the process confirming her apprehensions.

What was she thinking? How could this happen?

Initially, she couldn’t face her own questions. But the more she got to interact with Surya, the more he seemed darn irresistible.

The chill wind on her face brings her back to the present.

She is still staring at the man, who has started to climb the stairs now.

She seems pretty impervious, but something about his approaching proximity starts getting to her head.  And again, it’s only in her eyes that they reflect.

Look carefully, and you could almost see a glimmer of joy.

But then, you also hear howls of pain. Or is it disappointment? It’s like she isn’t sure of her own emotions.

Just like the day she had confessed her love for Surya on the banks of the temple lake, even after he had refused to change his violent ways.

She knew very well that her conservative brahmanical household could never accommodate someone like him, but her heart always found a way to silence all forms of reasoning.

But not for long… when forced to confront her worst fears – of choosing between her dad and Surya – her heart conceded.

What was it that prevented her from walking out of everything that caged her, hand-in-hand with the man she adored?

Fear? Guilt pangs? Making her paralytic at the very thought of severing all ties with someone she considered her ‘everything’?

Did she wonder whether he loved her as much as she did?

None of that mattered, before the overriding question ‘Would she be able to move on, for the sake of her father?’

Snap. The image of Surya walking up to him now makes her realize the gravity of that question, yet again.

She instinctively takes a step down, and one more, and before she can even realize, she is ambling towards him.

What is she going through? And now, for the first time, we see Surya’s face.

The man seems equally inscrutable, trying to drown a lifetime of memories in the faintest of frowns. On second thoughts, is it even a frown?

And at a point, somewhere in the middle of the stairs, they meet.

Their eyes connect for a split-second. Yet again. No words are spoken. We pray that it stays that way. After all, why speak out when so much is being communicated.

But soon, Surya staggers a bit, lowering his glance to the ground.

The discomfort is palpable.

He doesn’t ask anything about her, to start with. Did he want to, but decided not to? We will never know.

He says he has come to meet the collector. And then, he waits.

Is he expecting something?

Subhu has had enough. “How are you doing” she manages to blurt out.

Surya takes almost half a second to respond, all the while trying his best to be stoic, and when he does, the sincerity in his voice almost shakes us to the core.

He’s aching, and it shows in every inch of his countenance.

Why wouldn’t he?

For him, the agony was, probably, not about losing her. Or, about having to say goodbye.

It was learning to live without her, when he once she was the answer to all his past trauma and insecurities. It was, perhaps, making peace with destiny; and accepting the fact that he had lost his only chance at salvation. By a whisker.

Aasaiya Kaathula Thoothu Vittu: One Hell of a Sensual Trip

Do you know that you could go insane by continually pondering on the circumstances under which Raja comes up with tunes like Aasaiya Kaathula Thoodu Vittu

How does it work? Is it about a mysterious muse?

Is he truly and hopelessly inebriated on lust? Or is he just pretending to be?

Is he acing the moment by teleporting himself into the carnal nooks of the human psyche?

Or is he just playing God, by conjuring up emotions with a mere flutter of his fingers over the keys?

How can someone, in the real world, hit upon the idea of using this otherworldly ‘violin-bit’ for opening a supposed item-song, which in turn leads up to the such kinky percussions?

Even as you accede to Raja’s inborn knack of defying artistic rationale, Shailaja’s mesmerizing rendition builds up on a weird kind of erotic rhythm, which intertwines your reality with that of a raunchy dream.

You could almost sense the hedonic arousal now. Its a magician toying with your sensuality. As if that isn’t enough to detonate your already charged-up synapses, the simultaneous kindling of the soul and the hormones also makes you question your own amorous sensibilities. Its befuddling.

The scintillating flute, the provocative strings, and all the orgasmic-humming grace the magnificent interludes with an unparalleled fizz, further edging up the muddled libido.

It slowly starts to inch beyond the confines of ‘words’. Like being pulled into a lavish whorehouse and offered the option of bailing out, in return for a specific-something. Its a trap. An insanely brilliant one at that.

But two aspects underline the track’s uniqueness, even under the unapologetic shadow of Raja’s super-sensual orchestration. The first is the visuals that never at any moment, border on ribaldry. And the second is the delightfully minimalist choreography that lends a whole new dimension to eroticism.

When a gifted seductress like Subashini is involved, rhythmic heel-taps, subtle shoulder-jabs and piercing stares are all that are needed to bump the spectator’s hormone levels to hazardous heights

Lesson well learnt.