Just like everyone else, I’m a music freak. On the road, at home, at work, I keep humming some tune; if not, I keep tapping my fingers (thanks to two years of formal training in percussion). I love almost any music that is rhythmic and not noisy; melodies, I adore! My favourite genre is Tamil film music.
However my music listening is kinda strange. Unlike many I know, I don’t listen to entire playlists or even albums. I listen to something; if I like it, I repeat it over and over and over again. Almost as if I am beholding a phenomenon – as if that piece were the anthem, the final word in music. I’ve observed that this habit of mine hasn’t changed – only the songs keep changing, maybe once a month.
The phenomenon I’m currently beholding is Konjam Konjam from the Tamil movie, Arindhum Ariyaamalum. I don’t know when I started listening to this solo piece; neither do I know when I’ll stop. My friends and colleagues have grown sick of the publicity I’ve been giving to this song, composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Solo love songs are common in Tamil movies, but they are always sung by the hero. He craves and he croons. I’ve often wondered how insensitive moviemakers are to the emotions of the leading lady. Don’t they long for their hero? Or aren’t they creative enough to express their outpourings? Why should they been depicted as haughty? Are only men lovesick? In recent times, the one music composer who changed the trend by doling out melodious love solos is Harris Jeyaraj. He is a real trend-setter. Vaseegara (from Minnale), Poove Vaai Pesum (12 B) and Ondra Renda (Kaakha Kaakha) come to the mind almost immediately.
Konjam Konjam is a fitting addition to this oft-overlooked genre. It is set on the beach where the girl is observing her beau who is playing volleyball. They have been friends for some time, and love is blossoming between them. One needn’t see the visuals to guess that the song has some beach sequences. Except for the opening, I haven’t seen them myself. The tune and the beats are set in a way that evokes memories of sea shanties – a rare fusion of the African and Mediterranean (or say Carribean and South American) variety, interspersed with a qawwali-style chorus.
One must hand it over to the singer. Her lovely rendering of this song strikes us with awe, more so when we are told that this is her debut song! I haven’t heard of the name Maheeva Kammat before; I don’t even know if the spelling is correct – but this is the one Google agrees upon. Various music reviews misspell her name ad nauseum, with one claiming that he has done a great job!
The song starts in a very casual, nonchalant even careless way. But twenty seconds into it, we realise that the subdued nature of feminine passion is going to explode. The transition happens, but not fully. Maheeva delights us with her seamless movement from one pitch to another, those neat inflections, and a voice that conveys a longing, that passion. In fact to call it feminine passion is wrong – those girlish notions of romance, pride even in love, are brought out superbly. That passion remains subdued, and lingers till the very end.
That she isn’t a Tamilian is evident; her accent and pronuniciation reveal it amply (she says kolluppam for doubt). But given that one is used to hearing bad Tamil from gen-next females, on screen, on TV and in real life, it seems natural, and hence pardonable. But Maheeva wins it with her impeccable style – it compensates for any shortcomings. Her adorable voice makes the song drip with passion. And for that reason, she wins my vote for the Best Debutante Singer award for this year! Maheeva Kammat (if that’s the right spelling), I congratulate you for this magnificent effort!
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