Friday, October 29, 2010

Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi

"Oothukkadu" - If any one utters this word, then immediately - the divine composer - Venkatasubbier will come to most of our minds. His compositions are young forever. Even in the recent movie - "Alaipayuthe" starred by Madhavan and Shalini, we can listen to his song, Alaipayuthey kanna in the raga kAnadA (S R3 P G3 M1 D2 N2 S - S N2 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S). He is an ardent devotee of Krishna. Krishna has visited him in the form of a small child. The incident is explained below.

One day the singer was singing the song written and tuned by him in the temple of the village oothukkadu. Suddenly he felt a weight on his lap. He felt that a child was sitting on his lap. Out of pain, he pushed the child away from his lap. He then opened his eyes to see what was that and floated on the ocean of joy to see Lord Krishna, decorated with beautiful ornaments, standing before him. From that day onwards, he stopped putting talam on his lap, treating Krishna to be always seated on his lap.

All his kritis will make one to stand up and dance. They were such effective ones. All his compositions were written under the context that Krishna will be dancing on listening to them. In all his kritis, one wil find the jathis that are used in classical dance. He has written several songs on Vinayaka, Rama, and of course on Krishna.

His master piece that I would say is - Kalinga nardhana tillana in the raga Gambhira nattai (S G3 M1 P N3 S - S N3 P M1 G3 S). If any one listens to that song, one can experience the Kalinga nardhana episode in the life history of Krishna. The song will start with jathis rendered in the Gambhira nattai raga with chathusra gathi aadhi taalam. Then some words will come. Then jathis and words inter twined will be rendered with tisra gathis and chathusra gathi alternating with one another. The song will give one a lively experience. The concluding part of the song will be in chathusra gathi. There will be mixed experiences of Joy, sorrow, tension, confusion in the progress of the song. At last one will feel that they are relived out of tension as soon as the song gets over - signifying Krishna has killed the serpant kalinga.

Especially the phrase (thagida thagas thadaaya butha hara mandhas............mithakaravara poojitha padhayugala) will be so realistic. The mandas......... indicates that Krishna is standing on the head of the serpent and it is emitting poison from its mouth. Then the next line will be "hari jaya vijayee bhava nanda kumara..." which states that nanda kumara has won the war that was going on. That is Kalinga was defeated and the Yamuna river's purity has been restored.
Another gem of his songs is the Rajagopala swamy pancharathnam - a set of 5 songs on Mannargudi Rajagopala swamy. The madhyamavathi (S R2 M1 P N2 S - S N2 P M1 R2 S) song - Sundara nanda kumara - will be so nice.

All the songs of Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi will be nice. To analyse each and every song, time wont be sufficient. We need several centuries to analyse all of them. So let me put a logical end to this post

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