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06 January 2015

Parinayam (1994)

Directed by: Hariharan
Story, screenplay: MT Vasudevan Nair
Music: Ravi
Johnson (Background score)
Lyrics: Yusufali Kecheri
Starring: Mohini, Vineet, Manoj K Jayan, Thilakan, 
Nedumudi Venu, Jagannatha Varma, Jagathy Sreekumar, 
Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Sukumari, Shanthi Krishna
I always come back from India feeling like I want a vacation to recover from my vacation there. Don't get me wrong. I love being in India. I wander around happily, walking everywhere I can, merging with the mass of humanity that ebb and swirl on the roads of Bombay, stopping only to grab a tender coconut or sugarcane juice or mosambi juice to quench my thirst and wash the dust from my throat. I crib about the heat and the dust along with the other locals, have multiple baths, drink gallons of water, and continue to walk up and down the crowded roads, inhaling copious amounts of exhaust and coming back home with any exposed skin looking a few shades darker than when I started out.

But much of the two months I spent in India this time was spent existing on fumes. Helping my sister with wedding preparations from early morning to late at night, grabbing food when and where we were able to, or going without because we were too harried to slow down, coming home too late and too exhausted  to actually eat, grabbing a quick shower and sitting down to work until the early hours of the morning... rinse, repeat. I barely had time to breathe.

Once the wedding was over and done with, and we had packed my nephew and my new niece-by-marriage off on their honeymoon, my husband and I continued our usual practice when we are in India. Run around madly like chickens with their heads cut off to get various paperwork made out, registered, copied... Anyone who has had to deal with government agencies in India will sympathise with us.

Writing posts for my blog was beyond my capabilities at the time. I really was too tired to think. But I had taken a couple of DVDs with me in the optimistic hope that I would actually get to watch them and write them up, at least once a week. Talk about delusional! I managed to watch one! And that, definitely, was not the film that I should have watched. (I should have stuck to watching re-runs of Michael Madana Kama Rajan.) 

Parinayam is a film that I had watched when it first came out. It left me disconcerted, and with very mixed-up feelings. I haven't been able to muster up the courage to watch it again - until now.  And believe me, if it hadn't been for the fact that I'd been completely exhausted and unable to think straight, I wouldn't have watched it now either. And I need to write about it to actually get it out of my system. But before that, since it would be virtually impossible to understand the narrative without some sort of an introduction to the milieu and the traditions on which this film is based...

The Namboothiri community of Kerala was one of the most rigidly orthodox Brahminical communities in India. Until 1933, only the eldest male in the family was allowed to marry within the Namboothiri caste; this was done with the stated intent of holding on to the titles of the land they owned. The younger siblings were expected to practice pure 'brahmacharya' (celibacy) and concentrate on learning the vedas, which they would then pass on to future generations. Knowing that they were under threat of 'bhrashtu' (excommunication) if they rebelled and married a woman of their own caste, the younger siblings who did not want to remain scholars began to turn to casual 'marriages' called sambandhams.

Sambandham was a casual arrangement between Namboothiri youth and women from the Warrier, Nair, Pisharody castes, and from the Kovilakams (the royal families). There were two reasons that this practice was encouraged: one, the young men attained brides, and because all these castes were matrilineal, the children born of the union were not considered part of the father's family, and hence, were not eligible to inherit their father's property (if any). Interestingly, the children born of the union were not even allowed to touch their high-born fathers. Namboothiri youth, bereft of a companion of their own caste by the rigid rules of their community, flocked to the pleasures of the no-strings attached relationships where they had all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

Two, the families of the girls, even the well-off ones. Why did they give their girls in a sham of a marriage? For reasons that are as horrible as they sound - they wanted to 'purify' their bloodlines by these alliances. And secondly, they hoped to elevate their social positions by allying themselves with the highest in the land. (The only silver lining I can find is that the children born of such unions were not stigmatised as illegitimate. They were fully accepted into the family and society.) Thirdly, since the children born of these alliances 'belonged' to the mother's family anyway, there was no fear of family wealth going out of the family. A win-win situation indeed.

For the women of the Namboothiri community, however, life was not quite as rosy. For one, since only the eldest male was allowed to marry into the community, the pool of eligible bachelors was a limited one. The unfortunate women who remained unmarried, led cloistered lives within the anthapuram (the dark, confined inner quarters) - in fact, they were called antharjanams ('women of the inner rooms').

What is more, since the eldest male in the family was also allowed to marry as many times as he wanted to, girls from poor families were the sacrificial goats - their families had no money for dowries and hence, they were 'respectfully married' off to men who could be their fathers, or indeed their grandfathers, in order to escape the stigma of being a spinster.  Their 'husbands' not only had many other wives, they also 'kept' concubines from other castes, from whom they sired many children - none of whom had any claim on their 'father'. 

When these old men died before their wives, they condemned their hapless widows to a life that was worse than the one they had endured so far - a life where they were deprived of basic human dignity. They were confined to their rooms, forbidden from taking part in any auspicious ceremonies or festivities. If they did go out, to a temple or any other 'accepted' destination, they went fully shielded by their escorts from any stranger's gaze.

These women, frustrated and abandoned, were fair game for unscrupulous men, not just from outside their caste, but from within their own households. It was a dangerous game to be playing. Because when the scandal came to light, the woman was considered 'unchaste',  and had to pay for her transgressions. Her male family members would invite the other 'respectable' members of the community to conduct the Smaartha Vicharanam. While the trial was underway, the judges and jury had to be housed and fed by the woman's family. She, on the other hand, would be condemned to the pacha olapura (a specially built outhouse), fed only one meal a day, often starved; addressed as a 'sadhanam' (object), she is not even granted the dignity of being a human being. 

The 'chastity trial'* itself is ruthless. (Of course, it is only the woman who is subject to the trial, not the man (or men) involved.) The woman's maid is questioned, witnesses are arraigned, she herself is subject to intense indirect questioning (the questions are asked to her maid who repeats them to the accused; her whispered answers are then repeated by the maid to the inquisitors); the accused is often subject to abuse, verbal, emotional and even physical. The trial lasts many, many days (for the jury members take advantage of the host families' hospitality) and once the woman is found guilty (which was almost always a given considering the trial is heavily weighed against the woman), they proceed to pronounce the sentence - Bhrashtu (excommunication). Her family conduct her funeral rites - irikkapindam - she is dead to them from thence on; and she is cast outside the protection of her family and society to become fodder for the wolves who wait outside to prey on her.

This period, then, is the background against which director Hariharan placed his vision of celebrated Malayali novelist MT Vasudevan Nair's screenplay.

Respectable members of the Namboothiri community are making their way towards an illom (a traditional namboorthiri house). They are welcomed by Palakunnathu Aphan Namboothiri (Nedumudi Venu) and his nephew, and seated with great respect.
Cherukanniyoor Valiya Bhattathiri (the late Thilakan) has been invited as the smaarthan (judge) to conduct a vicharanam or trial. It is clear that he, and his companions, are looking forward to their duty. Aphan Namboothiri is distraught. That something like this should happen during his lifetime! As if it isn't enough that a member of his household is bent on 'reforming' the community! His illom will be the talk of the community. The smaarthan consoles him. He is doing the right thing. Where is the saadhanam (thing)? he enquires. They will begin the trial the very next morning.
Inside the outhouse, Unnimaya antharjanam (Mohini) sits silently, her expression conveying nothing of her inner turmoil. Her sympathetic maid, Maathu (Shanthi Krishna), cannot persuade her to eat, and is soon chased away by Kunjikavu (the late Sukumari), another, more senior maid, who locks the door after her.

As the assembled men discuss the case, we learn that the accused, a widow of three years, is now pregnant. That she is unchaste is evident, but the question is, who is the culprit? When Kunjunni - called Unni thamburan (Manoj K Jayan), the son of the deceased, enters the mana, it is clear that he is the black sheep of the family. Indeed, the jurors who know of his indulgence towards his young stepmother, suspect him of being her child's father. Unni can scarcely hide his disgust.
The next morning, the smaarthan and his men are directed towards the outhouse. Once there, the smaarthan enquires of Kunjikavu, who is standing guard, about the woman who is imprisoned inside. She is Unnimaya antharjanam of Kizhakkedath Mana, the fourth wife of the late Palakunnathu Namboothiri? As he pokes and prods, even the men of the community who have been called to witness the trial are repulsed - why this unnecessary drama?
But the smaarthan continues his quest with unholy glee, until he gets Kunjikavu to admit that Unnimaya is pregnant. But that is not enough. Unnimaya has to admit that she is pregnant. And so, Kunjikavu is sent inside to ask Unnimaya the question and to bring back her answer.
However, despite the smaarthan's implied threats, Unnimaya remains silent. The incensed smaarthan decrees that she not be given any water to drink.

Unni, his bid to make his uncle make sense having failed, goes to his step-mother's illom. There, he finds Unnimaya's father on the sickbed, and her brother, Vasudevan, no less obdurate. All of Unni's pleas to bring the young girl home before the trial fail, as the brother, the spectre of dishonour hanging before him, disowns his own sister. 
Back in the outhouse, Maathu, sympathetic to her young mistress's plight has brought her some water and food. It has been sent with the blessings of late master's other wife, she says. Unnimaya is surprised but unquestioning. As she wets her parched throat, she relives her past.
She was but 17 when she was married, to become the fourth wife of Palakunnath Namboothiri (Jagannatha Varma), a man old enough to be her grandfather. As the women of the illom celebrate the festivities with a Kaikottikali, the young Unnimaya looks on silently, not really aware of just how much her life will change. Soon, she is escorted to the nuptial chamber in her new house.
When her new husband reaches for her, Unnimaya suppresses her revulsion with difficulty, but he is too old and too tired to consummate the marriage, much to her relief. The maid, Maathu, is her only companion. The self-respecting woman had kicked her husband out when he began to physically abuse her. Unnimaya is horrified - end a marriage? But Maathu is unrepentant. She earns enough to take care of her own needs.
Unnimaya soon runs up against the jealousies of her husband's other wives who are very conscious of their 'rights'. As one of her husband's senior wives (Bindu Panicker) raises a ruckus - the fact that her husband has married again seems to have upset her mental equilibrium - their husband thinks nothing of physically remonstrating with her. The senior-most wife (Valsala Menon) watches gleefully as the woman falls to the ground crying. Unnimaya is horrified.
However, this is Unnimaya's world now, and days segue into each other, one after the other, each one no different from the other.  The one bright spot in her life is her interactions with Unni, her husband's son by his first wife. Actively involved in reforming his community, he is filled with compassion towards his young stepmother. 

When her father comes to visit, she is given permission to go back home with him. But her sojourn at her paternal home is cut short by news of her husband's illness. By the time she hurries back to her marital home, her husband has expired. 
Shocked though she is by her husband's demise, Unnimaya is still not completely cognisant of how much her future is going to change - for the worse.
Night turns into day. The smaarthan and his men are discussing ways to make the recalcitrant accused talk. They mourn that times have changed and that they cannot resort to physical torture. And so begins the inquisition.
 The demand is made (to the maid) - find out whether the accused will confess to her 'crime' and name her co-conspirator. Her continued silence irks the men. Her punishment is increased - she is to be served no food at night for the next two days. As the men feast that night, the smaarthan whispers into Aphan Namboothiri's ear - it is alright frighten the 'saadhanam' a little.
Unni saves her, but he is powerless to stop the trial. As he hears her muffled cries, and sees her bare forehead, he remembers the days following his father's death. Excoriated by his eldest cheriamma (quite literally, 'little mother' - this refers to all his father's subsequent wives) for not coming home for his father's funeral rites, he is unrepentant. His father did not know who his children were, or indeed, even his wives' names. Why should he pretend to mourn a man whose passing did not leave him with any sadness?
As he leaves, he meets Unnimaya, tearless and stoic. Feeling deeply sorry for the young girl, he gives her a book, and promises to send more through the maid if she is interested in reading.
Unnimaya only becomes aware of how much her circumstances have changed when she is not allowed to watch the Kathakali performances in the courtyard of the illom. Taunted by the senior-most wife, Unnimaya makes her way sadly back to her room.

The next morning, however, Unnimaya gets some happy tidings. Her sister-in-law has given birth to a long-awaited child. Having availed of permission to go home to see her family, Unnimaya sets off with great enthusiasm. On the way, they meet Madhavan (Vineeth), the Kathakali artist. Madhavan had been her father's student, and Unnimaya welcomes his company. They have a pleasant journey but all her happiness wanes when she is admonished by the priest for interrupting the rituals - doesn't she remember that she is a widow?
Her father tries to console her, but Unnimaya returns to her in-laws' as quickly as possible. Back home, Unni confides in her about his ideas to set up a school for the Namboothiri girls. As a progressive, he believes that it is only education that will bring about social change. He also reminds her that her life has not ended just because she is a widow. She shouldn't suffer being cloistered without protest.
He leaves, but he has other plans up his sleeve as well. He would like to get Unnimaya remarried... having settled that matter to his satisfaction, he returns in the evening, only to find that all hell has broken loose at the illom.
Who? When? How? So many questions, to which there are no answers. Unnimaya is banished to the pacha olappura, the leaders of the community are alerted, a smaartha vicharanam  is under way...
...and there can be only one end - Unnimaya's irikkapindam (funeral rites) and her excommunication.

Will Unnimaya give in, finally? After all his fine talk, is Unni responsible for her condition? If so, why isn't he stepping forward to claim responsibility? And why is Unnimaya silent?

The film at least, ends on a note of hope, even if it is not the neat and tidy end that we hope for.

MT Vasudevan Nair needs no introduction to Malayalis who have grown up with his novels and screenplays. His outings with director Hariharan have always been worth waiting for, and Parinayam is no exception. With several hard hitting dialogues (mostly mouthed by Unni Thamburan, though Unnimaya gets a couple of them in the climax), and a script that skewered the horrifying indignities that women have to undergo just for the crime of being born a woman, the duo gave us a film that alternately horrifies and angers us, and makes us think.
Each and every actor, be they in the smallest of roles (Shanthi Krishna, Sukumari, Jagathy Sreekumar, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Premachandran (as Govindan, the Kathakali artiste), was perfectly cast. Of the main roles, Mohini shone as Unnimaya. Barely 16 when she acted in Parinayam, she lent the role a maturity that was far beyond her years. When she realises that the man she had relied on to support her has no intentions of doing so, she takes the reins of her life into her own hands. She is willing to answer the questions addressed to her, and even demands that they question her directly. She is also strong enough to accept their judgement of her fate in her in-laws' house; but she doesn't allow them, or anyone else to direct her life beyond its gates.
Without much dialogue to speak of, the actress relied on her expressions to bring out her emotions and 'said' a lot without speaking a word. Her grief, her resentment, her revulsion, even her disgust at her paramour's pusillanimity is expressed with just a twitch of her eyebrows or a widening of her eyes. It is one of her finest roles and it is a shame that though nominated for the National Awards, she lost out to Debashree Roy for Unishe April.
Manoj K Jayan is a competent actor and I've got used to expecting a certain standard from him. He doesn't disappoint. As the progressive Unni Thamburan, he is fiery but restrained at the same time. His anger is directed both outwards - towards the ills of his community - and inwards - at himself, for not being able to stop the flow of events. Yet, he is there when it matters, to offer Unnimaya a friendly word when she is his father's wife, and to step up and offer her a home as a friend. He has no ulterior motives in helping her, and is even willing to walk out on the organisation that he helped set up when it turns out that they are not willing to back up their protests with concrete action. His is the voice of conscience in the film, and he stands willing to back his words up with action, if necessary.
Vineeth was the surprise factor. Not exactly known for his acting skills, he impressed as Madhavan, the Kathakali artiste. His fear and anger were understandable, if not acceptable, and Vineeth played the role with finesse.

One cannot not mention the late Thilakan. A 'character' artiste par excellence, he is the slimy smaarthan to the core. His pride at having conducted seven other vicharanams, his arrogance in promising to extract a confession from the accused, the glee with which he insists upon her answering questions to which he already knows the answers... Thilakan etched out the small role into a multi-dimensional one. He firmly believes that he is conducting the trial in accordance with custom; that it is incumbent upon them to follow tradition, and that, by not doing so, they are shaking the very foundations of their community. He is that scariest of individuals - one driven by personal faith to condone, and commit, atrocities, in the name of customs and traditions.

Music director Ravi (known and loved by Malayalis as 'Bombay' Ravi) won a well-deserved award for his music. Every song in this film is a gem. His score was complemented by Johnson's (a well-known music director in his own right) score in the background.  Parinayam won four National Awards (Best Film on Social Issues, Best Screenplay, Best Music Director, and the Special Jury Award for Best Cinematographer) and several State Awards. Parinayam melded a hard hitting story/screenplay, with a taut direction and perfect characterisation. It is not a film that can be easily watched, but once seen it is not easily forgotten either.

*For more on this obscene and foul practice, and the controversial case that tore the fabric of the Namboothiri community wide open, leading to some much-needed reform, read Madambu Kunjikuttan's searing novel, Bhrashtu, sensitively translated by Vasanthi Sankaranarayanan.  It is a fascinating look into the inner workings of a closed community, written with authority by a man who is not only a part of that community himself, but had close ties to the case he wrote about. His grandfather Jatavedan Namboothiri was the 'smaarthan' (judge) who tried Savitri or Thathri (as she was known) when she was brought to trial. For more on this case, please read Maddy's Ramblings.


  1. This is one of my favorite films ever. FYI, it was shot in my father's home, i.e. Tharakkal Wariam.

    We were on vacation around the time the shooting took place. A couple of posts from that time - http://therichvegetarian.com/parinayam/, http://therichvegetarian.com/tharakkal-my-love/

    I remember the buzz and excitement that alighted on the sleepy Wariam when the film shooting began. It was lovely! :)

  2. That's cool! I was just thinking that the little temple looked so beautiful! Your father's warriam is really lovely, and so well-maintained. And to be there while the shooting was going on. :) (Having a crush on Vineeth is so far beyond my imagination, so I will let that pass. *grin*)

  3. Hehe, remember that I was young, impressionable and romantic. And he was a star... sigh, dreamy.

  4. Gosh, Anu. This gave me the shivers. And made me think of so many things as I read through your description - not just of the movie, but the background. I was reminded of Akbar's decree that no Mughal princesses should marry; of how I'd once read about it being common practice in 19th century rural Bengal for even pre-pubescent girls to be married off to old men; and of an eye-opener of a trip I made last year with a journalist to talk to women who were trafficked brides. That last one, especially, because it showed - like this sadhanam thing - that women are too often treated as nothing more than commodities. We, despite whatever other problems we may face, at least don't have to bear such atrocities. :-(

    Coming to the film, I don't know if I'd be able to watch it. Not in the near future, at least. I think I'd need to be in a certain frame of mind to see it.

  5. Nalini Ikkandath7 January 2015 at 03:49

    I watched Parinayam some years ago and was impressed. Every actor has contributed to the atmosphere and the effect the movie created. I can never say that I liked it, but I cannot ever forget it. Also, the attention to detail in the movie was fantastic. I did not know that it was shot at Tharakkal Warriem, but the house is beautiful. The kaikottikali scene is fantastic, the women's clothes are so authentic (the dancers have worn the traditional "udutha mundu"). Though it has rarely been mentioned as such, surely it's one of the best malayalam movies ever made?
    Also, according to what I have read about Taatrikutty's smarthavicharam, along with her around 60+ men who were named by her as her partners (it seems she gave details about each one of them, which were unmistakable) were excommunicated. It is said that MGR was the son of one of the men. This is also mentioned in an autobiographical book called "Antharjanam" by one Smt Devaki Nilayamcode, (try to read it if you can, it's quite a new book). It is said that they stopped Taathrikutty when it became obvious that the next man she was going to name was a member of the Zamorin's family. Her character has always fascinated me, I wonder, not exactly why she did what she did, but the thoroughness of her revenge on her community.

  6. I remember feeling so disgusted when I first watched this but could put it behind me (then), saying, 'Oh, the film is set in the past. Things are different now.' Then, when I was a journalist, I happened to talk to a few Hyderabadi 'brides' who were being 'married' off to old Arab men (another colleague was covering the story) and was so ashamed that we hadn't made significant changes in the years since independence.

    You do have to be in a particular frame of mind to watch this film, but while the background does horrify you, it is heartening to see Unnimaya take charge of her own life. MT's women were always strong, and she is no exception. So it is not all dull and doom and depression; it is a fine film, one of the finest in Malayalam (and that is saying something!) and I will definitely recommend a viewing.

  7. I agree with you, Nalini; every actor, even the ones in bit roles was just right for the role. And yes, to the costumes as well - even the rather high necked long(-ish) blouses that the Namboothiri women wear. I don't know if it is the 'finest' Malayalam movie - that, being subjective - but it will definitely rank high among the finest Malayalam movies ever made. Like you, I cannot say that I 'like' it, but it is definitely unforgettable.

    Maddy's Ramblings, to which I linked at the bottom of my post, has a detailed description of Thatri's case. It is very interesting reading. Do click on the link. She was responsible for a lot of reform, so that is all to the good. :)

  8. I love this film on so many levels. I love how the mild Unnimaya finds her voice and speaks her truth, loud and clear and fearless. I love her clarity in understanding the true nature of her feelings/relationship with Madhavan. I love how their romance plays out against the backdrop of Kathakali (did I mention ever, I learned Kathakali for many years and performed many times too?). I adore the music. I adore the home where the movie is shot (obviously!). Love the beautiful cinematography. Love the way the film showcases the grand passion that Kathakali is. :)

  9. No, I didn't know that you had learnt Kathakali. Cool! Where did you learn?

    I agree with you about Unnimaya finding her own voice and her own truth. And I love how her truth sets her free. I love everything you loved about the film - the music, the ambience, the cinematography, the acting... :)

  10. Nalini Ikkandath8 January 2015 at 02:19

    Thanks for the link, I'll read it. Someday when you are in the mood for such films, do watch "Vamsha Vriksha", kannada. If you have forgotten all your kannada, with sub-titles, if possible without. It's a much older movie and not so finely made but it has to do with the ancient practice of getting another man to impregnate a childless widow or a wife of an man who cannot father children himself. And "Phaniyamma" also kannada, which has to do with child marriage and early widowhood. Both are quite excruciating, but worth watching. Phaniyamma is technically also a fine movie.

  11. I've watched both. :) I was just mentioning Karanth elsewhere today. I liked both.

  12. I've heard about the film. Nice write-up as expected! Your claim that Mohini being nominated for the National Awards needs a reliable source though. :)

  13. If you don't find me reliable, why don't you do some research yourself? The same sources lie before you as well.

  14. Ok, So I promised myself not to comment on your old posters :(.. And here I am breaking that promise ;)
    I could not help but add a delightful old song from Do Phool, music Vasant Desai. Rootnaa maane re... Starring Baby Naaz and Master Romi

  15. Why don't you want to comment on my old posts? :)

    Thanks for that link, Neeru. I dont remember having heard that song before, so it was 'new' to me.

  16. Anu, posting after a long time - sorry, with 3 classes to teach and research to do, do not always have the time to post but I do come here from time to time to read your daily posts. Did not know where to write this, but I guess you will know where this fits in. Happened to see a recent (not so recent though) malayalam movie, that just blew me away. "Vellimoonga" or barn owl is the name of the movie. Biju menon was a revelation - no fight scenes, no double meaning dialogues, just a clean, family entertainer that the whole family could enjoy. And if you have followed the political happenings in the state, you will nod your head vigorously. Some of the newer crowd plus KPAC Lalitha (she and Sukumari are probably my favorite mommy actresses, even more than Kaviyoor Ponnamma) are perhaps a revelation. If you get a chance, you should see this, more so because the actors who have a comic role in this movie are not like Harishree Ashokan and Indrans - this is more of an intelligent comedy than a physical comedy. If you understand Kerala politics, you can appreciate this movie. Somebody told me that this movie was the sleeper hit of 2014 and when I saw this, I could see why. I also happened to see "Arike" on youtube - I know that you are not a particularly big fan of Dileep - but Dileep had done a very restrained acting in this movie.

  17. Ranji, welcome back. I did watch Vellimoonga; I picked it up this time when I went to Trichur because my brother recommended it highly. We laughed our way through this film. And of course, I recognise Kerala politics - not for nothing did I spend my college years there.

    And I do have the DVD of Arike as well, thanks to my DVDwallah who knows our tastes. As you suspected, I haven't yet watched it because it has Dileep. But perhaps I should. He is a good actor when he stops fooling around.

    Thanks for writing in.

  18. Anu, Thanks for the quick response. Just also wanted to bring something to your notice if you have not come across this already, since this song has been "goonj raha hai" for the past 5 days in my head. Not sure if you have ever listened to Shankar Tucker and his group's songs that are on youtube. A particular one is "Asai mugam marandhu poche, ithai yaaridam solvenadi thozhi," a song originally written by Subramania Bharathi. The story goes that he lost the only picture of his mother whom he had lost when he was 5 - his house leaked during the rains (like most houses in those days) and it completely destroyed the pictures that he had. But he did not write about his mother, but made it as if it was sung by a girl about Krishna. The thamizh lyrics are really superb - what an imagination and creativity by this great poet! Also, have you seen Satyameva Jayate, Amir Khan's show for the past 2-3 years? If you have not heard the songs that represents each show theme, my god! I was particularly moved by a song by Shankar Mahadevan that he sang last year before the national elections. The lyrics are out of this world - do not know how we have not heard of guys like Ram Sampath and Sona Mahapatra, Krishna Beura and of course Swanand Kirkire (who wrote the lyrics for 3 idiots and PK). The Shankar Tucker group, if I am not mistaken are all kids born and brought up here - amazing talent and amazing voices indeed.

  19. I haven't heard (or seen) the clip you are talking about, Ranji, but will go search YouTube when I have the time. I have watched a couple of Satyamev Jayate episodes but haven't paid much attention to the title song - usually I'm doing something else and come sit down to watch only when the show begins. I should, now.

    I *have* heard of Ram Sampath and Swanand Kirkire, as also Sona Mohapatra. I haven't heard of Krishna Beura, or if I have, it's slipped my mind. Will keep your recommendations in mind.


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