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.
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…
வேஷம் ஒரு தோஷம் இல்லை…
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.
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…
இல்லையினா விட்டு விடு…
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: