Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Hecuba to Me ?

I am all for incest and tortured souls in moderation, but a good laugh from time to time never hurt anybody - PG Wodehouse

It is for things like that that the man is arguably one of the most loved in the history of the world. People - like this author- wear his badge and profess their admiration. After a critical mass it also becomes one of those signs of 'culture'

SathyaRaj: pEr ennanga
GoundaMaNi: mArimuthu Gounder 'nga....
SR: ........
GM: siva gOthram , kiruthikai natchathram... archanaiyai aarambikkalaamE

I watched this last night before shutting down and retiring with a hearty laugh. But it got me thinking. Apparently this is how it should be. Humorists are supposed to make you think and thus justify their existence in this weighty world. But this one was not that kind of thinking. It was about the man who made me laugh.

This man will be lost in history. He suffers from multiple handicaps..

Film heros, writers, musicians, sportspersons and poets will all find people who can wax eloquent about their aesthetic appreciation. They themselves can talk at length about their techniques to supplement their genius.

There are some notions about universal likeability and piety that make some icons attractive. The magazines won't stop talking about Nagesh. I certainly don't grudge that. But I am dead certain GM wouldn't be afforded the same when his time comes. A small column with a photo and blurb of a bio to print and forget. 16 VayathinilE, Senthil, banana, veerappan, paired well with many heros, slapstick end of story. Nearly every single word indicating we have, as a population, quite nearly missed the point.

Yes, he was widely successful but what exactly was his position in history ? What is his 'revolution' ? Do we need to fit him into even the traditional framework of a revolutionary just so it is easy to explain to the world ? He poses his own challenges of exposition.

One feels he exists without the slightest care that he is a phenomenon without precedent. And seems frighteningly content about vanishing as a mere 'mentionable talent' in history.Has he left his traces, in some ways yes but I wouldn't say there is a strong legacy simply because I only see a huge void.

Someone said about Bergman, that it would not suffice to say that he is the reatest filmmaker ever, but that he seems to complete the purpose for which the medium was invented. I don't know how to make that equivalent for GM but let it be considered that a similar sentiment is expressed here


  1. OT:

    "Manidha Manidha"

    This is the Vairamuthu i want!
    Lyrics pathi naan remba pesa koodadhu but ennayum pesa veikkaradhu dhaane matter? :)

    VM-ARR, no way-nga... Was listening to "Minnale" from May Madham last night... A lovely song but the lyrics in the charanams? sorpozhivu madhiri irukkunga... IR's loss? No way

  2. Lovely song. I am hearing it after a looong time. Thanks.

    And it is precisely songs like this that underline the extent of IR's loss. If IR's comes up with a dazzling tune like this now, who will write the words ? Vaali ?

    Coming to 'minnalE'. I think you just picked the wrong song to argue

    பண்டிகைக்கு காத்திருக்கும் சாமியில்லையா
    வார்த்தை வர காத்திருக்கும் கவிஞனில்லையா

    I find this quite attractive in its poetic appeal. And such talent has become unavailable to Raja because of the split.

    On the other hand Vairamuthu's songs have blended with Rahman's great tunes all these years and that's why he's none the worse for it.

    Even if your argument is VM is not as good as he was when he was with Raja - which I am not sure I will agree with- then the "bigger loser" argument will hold water only if you can show IR has as good a replacement for VM as VM managed to get for Raja. I don't think there is even an argument on that, is there ?

    Has Rahman given a 'manithA manithA' level tune.... now that is a different question altogether.

  3. The Gound of KovaiVille (with apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

    Orey track-la dhaan goods vandiyum pogudhu, express trainum pogudhu - how's it the track's fault ? The lyricist's job is to lay the track - VM is capable of laying the track for the Rajdhani train, but if it's used for a goods train, how is he to be blamed ? Besides it's a collaborative effort between the lyricist and the composer - like I said in a previous post, overseas John Williams and Spielberg can work together, but here even slightly talented people want to have their names carved in stone. It's one of the ironies that in a supposedly more individualistic society you find more collaboration, and here you find himalayan egos.

    And Oh, verse has an established track record of outliving musical creations , even the mundane ones ...

  4. Woody Allen is regarded a mere "mentionable talent" in Hollywood.


  5. பண்டிகைக்கு காத்திருக்கும் சாமியில்லையா
    வார்த்தை வர காத்திருக்கும் கவிஞனில்லையா

    I find this quite attractive in its poetic appeal. And such talent has become unavailable to Raja because of the split.

    And Oh, verse has an established track record of outliving musical creations , even the mundane ones ...
    This piece. The twain shall never meet nu puriyidhu, but i'm not giving up... "varuven.. paya paneer selvamai thirumbi varuven!"

    Enna remba naala engayume kaanom?

  6. bala, indha context-la dhaan IR-VM, ARR-VM kettengala? Appo I will have to explain my answer - I said IR-VM if you are evaluating the outputs as is. But if you ask me whose is the bigger loss, then I would unhesitatingly say IR's. Though I am not a fan of Vairamuthu, and besides I am not qualified to be a fan of poets anyway, I can clearly see what prabhuram is saying - In Guna, Kamal says "nadu nadula" maane thenae pon maane - IR-oda post VM lyricists ellame maane thane potuttu, nadu nadula matha karuthu ellam pottanga. Panadha pasanga. Exceptions irukkum - as I grandly pronounced in HUB just now, those exceptions prove the rule :-)

    (PR, the poonthottam that you heard recently, that had Vasan, a promising lyricist, who did a great job in all 3 movies of the director of Poonthottam, and perhaps, in a telling statement on post-VM-IR's destiny with lyrics, died young before he could make an impact. That reminds me, now that I have got you into Poonthottam, next assignment is Kizhakkum Merkum by the same director-lyricist combo - Kathum Kuyile-nu oru Sadhana Sargam pattu - endha Rahman sound-engineering miracle-kum korainjadhilla - sheer tune, singing, ambience carry it through.)

  7. //Woody Allen is regarded a mere "mentionable talent" in Hollywood. //
    Not actually Thilak. He is regarded as one of the finer directorial talents. Best New York filmmaker for sure. And his comedy will be quoted and toasted for its intellectual appeal. When he kicks it there will be glowing tributes. He is a 'writer' after all and will be accordingly honored without reserve.

    He can kid and goof about weighty things but at the end of the day they were 'weighty things' and he will be lauded for that.

    [i]sangoodhura vayasula enna sangeedhA ?[/i] is not exactly weighty. But just too darned funny to have a parallel anywhere. The public consciousness, I am afraid, will be eager to sweep GM under the carpet when he kicks it. I will be glad to be proved wrong.

  8. Bala thanks for the link! I'm reminded of those days early this decade when I used to search high and low for this song, and even when Mp3s came into vogue, there was just a noisy 1MB version of it.

    As an aside, enjoy the last entry here: ;-)

    Sadly all that's written about the Gound here is bang on the spot :(

  9. Raj,
    "I said IR-VM if you are evaluating the outputs as is"
    -adhe dhaan.
    'Loss' ellam summa oru 'idhu'.

    Yerkanave sonna madhiri, love songs (in general), i prefer Vaali to VM. Adrenaline shots ku dhaan VM-a naadavendirukkum.

    welcome-nga :)

  10. Hi Bala,
    I got banned in Mayyam :-(

    Ho PR,
    A wrong parallel with Allen. I refer the audience who disregard him easily. But as you say, this might as well be a minority to the larger, and uh, more collective opinion?