Thursday, July 13, 2006

Singing (And Dancing) in the Rain

Rediff had recently listed some of the famous rain songs in Hindi films. At the top of the list, as expected, was the immortal Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua… number from Shri 420, which gave us the iconic shot of Raj Kapoor and Nargis under an umbrella in the rain. I don’t think the rains have yielded any similar iconic shots in Tamil cinema but we do have our share of memorable rain songs.

In movies, rain has been pretty closely associated with eroticism and Tamil cinema is no exception. Rain provides a natural excuse for transparent clothes being plastered to the heroines’ curvaceous bodies and this makes dances in the rain a voyeur’s delight. Our choreographers do their bit with sexy steps and erotic moves and it helps that our heroines always manage to be clad in white sarees when it rains! Sridevi drunkenly staggering to Endhan Kannill… in Guru and Shobana dancing to one of the songs in Siva come to mind as examples. But seeing songs from films like Dharmakshetram and Gharana Mogudu has made me think that our Telugu counterparts were a lot more notorious in this aspect.

But what the wet heroines usually make us forget is that rain makes for some spectacular cinematography. The dark clouds, the falling rain, the splashes from the puddles and the water droplets on everything from leaves to the heroine’s skin can all be captured beautifully, resulting in a feast for the eyes. Oho Megam Vandhadhe… from Mouna Raagam and Vaan Megam… from Punnagai Mannan were a couple of songs that proved this.

Apart from white sarees, the other thing associated with rain in Tamil movies is tragedy. I guess the logic is that when a man is down, getting wet is the worst thing that can happen to him! So we’ve had several movies (Mugavari is one that comes to mind mainly because the scene stood as very ridiculous in the otherwise realistic movie) where sadness is immediately followed by thunder and rain, so that the wet hero can launch into a pathos song. I guess Thakita Thadhimi… from Salangai Oli would be another example, though that was probably one of the few cases where the rain was actually used to convey visually, something very beautiful.

Not many rain songs have been impressive recently. Though named Mazhai and having most important scenes and songs take place in the rain, that film didn’t really do anything special in capturing the rain on camera. On the other hand, one of the well-picturized rain songs recently was Sil Sil Mazhaiye… from Arindhum Ariyaamalum. The beats, the music, the lyrics and the singing really expressed the joy of splashing around in the rain and the picturization, though inspired by one of the songs in Dil To Paagal Hai, did full justice to the song also.

Rain has become such an integral part of our movies that I don’t think our filmmakers will be singing Rain Rain Go Away… any time soon :-)

28 Comments:

At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

I knew that this post was coming especially after I saw that Rediff article this morning.. but you know what surprised me.. for someone who talks so highly about Idhayathai Thirudaadhe.. how can you forget "Aathaadi Ammaadi thEn mottu dhaan" from that film.. People ranted and raved about it quite a bit back then..

I heard a few raves for the "Unnai kandene mudhal murai" song in Paarijaatham. What did you think of the rain picturization?

Also.. Ahem.. Ahem.. need I remind you of "Megam Kottatum" from Enakkul Oruvan!..:-) ;-) I was also reminded of "Idhayame Idhayame" from the film "Idhayam" which also a very popular tragic rain song.. still gets a lot of air time on Sun. (Murali in rain.. that's a scary thought by itself! :-)

Question: Does it rain during "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" in Johnny?.. (naatukku romba thevai-yaana kelvi! :-)

One more song worth a remember: "pothukkitu oothudhadi vaanam" from Paayum Puli and "SakkaravaagamO mazhaiyai arundhumaa" from En Swaasa Kaatre. I can think of plenty of songs with a good rain background, but nothing earth shattering, worth mentioning here. Wierd but true, being a mass masala director, Shankar has yet to picturize a full rain song!..

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

Some rain sequences that I recall.
1. Dhalabathi - The first meeting between Deva and Surya.
2. Alaipayudhey - Evano oruvan song - wonderful.
3. Citizen - The scene where all the bodies of 'atthipatti' are dug out. Had nagma(or whoever dubbed for her) could have shouted less this scene would have had more appeal.
4. Gentleman - the scene where arjun walks home only to find his mother and his friend dead.
5. Pudhu pudhu arthangal - the scene where cithara and rahman are in a pit helpless. The clay marudhani,... helps their friendship to grow.

I enjoyed most of them mentioned by bb for this given reasons.

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, only after rereading it did i realize i had missed the IT song! that was the one i was thinking about when i wrote 'the droplets of water on heroine' line. and then somehow missed mentioning it! yeah, i was 1 of those who ranted and raved about it. the cinematography and girija's steps made it a wonderful song.

'megam kottatum' belongs to the "how did i not remember that" category :) i too liked the picturization of 'unnai kandene' in the rain. some nice camera techniques...

yeah it rains pretty heavily during 'kaatril endhan geetham'. but sridevi sings under a tent while its rajni who runs thro the rain :) and 'pothukitu oothudhadi vaanam' was famous at that time for the aerial shot of the rain...

rajesh, i too thot about scenes that had rain as the backdrop. then decided against it since the post would've become too long! the 'thalapathi' fight would've defly been mentioned. but the others u've mentioned, like the 'citizen' scene, are pretty memorable...

 
At 12:28 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i was this big jollukkull mazhai party as i watched jothika in the rim jim song in that terrible movie...what was that called? December P-a?!

 
At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Arunkumar said...

One other good instances of rain song composed by rahman include "maarimazhai payadho" from Uzhavan which had never kind of caught on. And oh yeah Balaji, my particular favorite line from "megam kottatum"(enakkul oruvan) are these:
"Mazhai vandhadhaley...
Isai ninru poguma". Also one of my other fav from the old times is "Thogai ilamayil" from payanangal mudivadhillai.
Guess, its an art.
But Balaji, i read the article too in rediff and one song instantly came to my mind (which the superhit-muquabla generation) mind not have forgotten. Its this song from Mohra called "Tip tip barsa paani" which is kind of crude and vulgur but did a nice expose' of raveena tandon.

 
At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how can anyone forget 'anthi mazhai megam' from Nayagan? It was the first song that came to mind when thinking of rain.

 
At 5:46 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

Some more...

Enge Enadhu Kavidhai - Kandukondaen Kandukondaen
Yeh Nilave - Mugavari
Pattu Poove - Chembarutti

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger Suguna Purushothaman said...

Hi. I am somehow remembering the unfinished project of chennayil oru mazhai kaalam

 
At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oho Megam Vandhadhe… from Mouna Raagam Vaan Megam… from Punnagai Mannan

I usually get confused between these two songs. Both songs will have revathy singing in the rain wearing the costumes of same color(grey). added to the confusion both lyrics has megam and the music was similar that leave me more confused.

 
At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the title of the post reminded me of the hilarious vadivelu-vivek sequence in manathai thirudi vittai - the one where vadivelu goes "I am shing in the rayin..I am swaaiing in the rayin..I want more in the rayin" and vivek pours a jug of more on vadivelu's head.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger KK said...

your post reminded me of the song from Karuthamma - "Then merku paruva kaatru..."
"Anthi mazhai pozhigirathu..." from Raja paarvai I guess.

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Actually, KK, you mentioned two of the best picturizations in Tamil Cinema ever. Felt lousy that I couldn't remember these two songs!.. Thanks for mentioning them!

 
At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB,
Read article and came to point out, rather sarcastically, that you had missed "Aathaadi Ammaadi" from Idayathai Thirudathey. But Sandhya beat me:-)

I think very few directors have used rain effectively. Moreover, Maniratnam has overused rain in his movies, in songs, scenes.

I would like to see Gautham Menon picturize a song in the rain. He is another director whose films have good cinematography.

I was able to appreciate all 2 of the rain songs in Mazhai's original Telugu version.

-kajan

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous ram said...

kajan, gowtham menon used rain briefly but beautifully in minnale the scene where madhavan (standing in a phone booth) sees Reema step out of the car and dance with the kids...

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Yeah, BB, I was surprised you forgot to mention IT, especially since I still remember you raving about it around that time ;-)

The other song, that comes to mind is anthi mazhai. A clipping was shown on TV while that movie was being made, with that transparent umbrella, is still fresh in my mind.

But the number 1 song to me is Sridevi in her blue sari in Mr. India.

BTW, just watched that rain song from Parijatham yesterday. SB is one person who shouldn't dance in the rain ;-)

 
At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Munimma.. speaking of Saranya Bhagyaraj.. dancing in the rain is not the only thing she shouldn't be doing. Frankly, with no offense to Sharanya or her dad, people should really look at themselves in the mirror and evaluate whether they have a snowball's chance in hell of making it, before they embark on acting (this should have applied to Vijay back when he debuted!)..

Unfortunately for Sharanya, she already has three strikes against her:

She's dark (dark heroines never ever click in tamil cinema, at least not in the last 20 odd years. You'd have to be a very strong actress to break this invisible complexion barrier! (Radhika is a glaring exception to this rule from Day 1. She has been dark and plump for as long as I can remember and she managed to get away with it due to her histrionics and screen presence!),

She's very very short (Sandhya and Sanjana (the Kokki heroine) are also short and aren't too fair either! Might become their undoing sooner rather than later!),

and she's plump (which could be said of Sandhya & Sanjana too!).. If she weren't Bhagyaraj's daughter, I don't think many producers or directors would've given her the light of day.

What she needs is a full makeover, if she wishes to survive in the lean and mean movie world. Shedding a few pounds may help, but surely, she is not going to be flooded with offers like Nayathara (despite the fact that she is plump, at least an average height and relatively fair!), Asin or Trisha..

 
At 3:58 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Bhanupriya or Manga bhanu as she was called then, is also a shymala shariri. But she was always pretty and popular, even when she failed a few grades in school :-)

I remember reading that she never stepped out of the house without a ton of body makeup. Not sure, if that is true.

But Sharanya, as you say is a little like a drum, no waist to speak of. She probably can do with a makeover, but will still not be her mom.

Another daughter who shouldn't be acting is Esha. Engey ava amma, engey ava. Enough said!

Skin color is probably no longer that much of an issue, but there is a little je ne sais pas that is missing in some of these duskies that will not help.

 
At 8:05 PM, Blogger raj said...

Sandhya, vijay should have thought you say. Yet, he has actually made it, hasnt he? He has a legion of fans,a nd is a fairly succesful star today. If he isnt a star, who is?
Mind, I have reservations about him but not because he is dark or not-good-looking but because he cant act to save his life.
So, perhaps, people should just confidently jump in irrespective of their looks and talent - maybe they will be the lucky 1% which makes it inspite of these drawbacks. And for people like SHaranya, it is a no-lose situation - if she succeeds well and good else she can quit and marry a businessman or a director(like Vijaykumar's daughter did). She doesnt need to worry about failing, right?

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger vicknes_pd_malaysia said...

yeah bb....as anonymous said...how could u miss out 'anthi malai' from nayagan ...:)

 
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At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Sandya forgot to mention is Saranya Bagyaraj's acting. She is too good in her debut movie. Vijay is right next to Rajini in tamil film industry. If Tamil industry has to pickup only good looking guys & girls and not worry about acting, then we would have to put up with the likes of Aravind Samy, Ajith (who started out his careers with a series of flops) and Prithviraj. All these guys at some point in time gave interviews that girls like them so much/

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger Shiva kumar Shankar said...

One of the most prominent rain songs that comes to my mind is tenmaerku paruva kaatru from karuthamma. WOnder how no 1 mentioned the same.
Also taal's dil ye bechain ve- oh the foggy backdrops of hilly locales were breath taking!

 

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