Oru maalai is a song from the Tamil movie Ghajini. It is sung by Karthik, composed by Harris Jeyaraj and features actors Surya and Asin.
The song is one of my all time favorites, I heard it everyday in the period spanning from Aug – Dec 2007. It serves as a standard for comparison, a metrics for evaluation of other Tamil film compositions.
Oru Maalai's strengths are simple and beautiful lyrics, highly refreshing music, the hearty whistle tune and flawless rendition by Karthik. The song would definitely not have topped the charts had somebody else lent their voice to it. I can vouch for that.
Commuting down Richmond Road one evening, the view of the glowing orange-red sun ahead of me, sinking down the azure sky, set me thinking about this song. It also paved way for some serious circumspection of tamil films that released post Ghajini (2007) , the multitude of songs in them, their failure to grab even a miniscule of my attention. Before Oru maalai, there were favorites at regular intervals, many compositions by Ilayaraja, AR Rahman and Vidyasagar. Despite careful efforts, I would miss listing down many significant songs in the pre Oru Maalai times. But now, I was squeezing my head inside out, striving hard to list down 5-6 of them post Oru Maalai.
Kangal Irandal fares better than the Rahman composition primarily due to its lyrics, fresh voices – Belly Raj and Deepa Mariam, the constant, light hearted rhythm in tandem with video featuring Jai and Swathi. The video is a must watch, Swathi’s secret glances and innocent smiles with Jai’s funny antics to catch her attention - sheer delight to watch.
A little off the tangent, I must say I was taken aback by two things related to this song. As a school child, I was a big fan of James Vasanthan, the SUN TV anchor, his calm and decent demeanour while hosting shows. Though I knew he sang well and composed jingles then, I did not know he could churn out such a wonderful number. His name will be etched forever in Kollywood’s musical history. Hats off to James Vasanthan for such a masterpiece.
Jai, the hero of the movie, performed the role of Vijay’s brother in the movie Bhagavathy. Then, I had dismissed him as some look alike, possibly a relative of Vijay seeking a fervent entry into Kollywood. But Jai neither is a relative of Vijay nor is he insignificant. With some great performances in his kitty, he is not to be dismissed casually.
Here’s something funny, listen to this song on the Real player with View -> Choose Visualization -> Annabelle the sheep. Watch the sheep jump, wink and nod its head to the tunes of the string instruments in the prelude to the song, you will love it.
When I heard Hosanna for the first time, a chart buster even before the movie’s release, I figured the movie had something to do with Christianity – Hosanna is a Hebrew term cried aloud in adoration of the almighty, Jesus. True, it turned out to be. The song features Simbu in a never seen before avatar and Trisha, the gorgeous lady clad in sarees, causing men to drool and women to secretly admire and emulate her.
May be it is the way Simbu dances or the way Trisha walks around poignantly with her innocent smile, the way the song is shot in Malta. For me, the song clicked for its opening music and the manner in which Vijay Prakash renders “Yen Idhayam Udaithaai Norungave”. Lyrics expressing pain and happiness, the western ballad, opera style music neatly mingling with techno stuff, a piece of rap by Blaaze, Hosanna rendition by Suzanne, the song is full of surprises and a mélange.
The violins, string guitars perform a serenade in complete harmony and there are sudden packets of energy with techno variations and intermittent techno-ish “hello”, Rahman alone can handle such a mélange with such comfort.
Simple music in the song allows one to pay attention to the words that brim with meaning, tabla for percussion makes one tap their feet/nod their head. There are two versions – one sung by Balram and the other by Sujatha, I prefer listening to the former. Balram’s voice is crisp and continuous, expressive and blends with the lyrics better. This is an all time song for all moods, all days and people of all ages.
Kaadhal Neruppin has some powerful music by GV Prakash, an added advantage. Vizhi Moodi, is a soft, romantic ballad, apt for a hearty and casual whistle. Un paarvayil has a notably brilliant violin piece before the opening of the second paragraph.
Karthik is a gifted singer and I have a small prayer, may he sing more songs like Oru Maalai and provide me with more options for my play lists.