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Revisiting the magic of Kangal Irandaal
October 06, 2008
These are times when songs are shot as fantasies, in giant expensive sets or scenic foreign locations. But among the crowd of songs that provide visual pleasure, some stand out for their simplicity, their proximity to our lives. Being simple is not a simple thing to do, especially when the world is moving the other way, swimming against the tide takes
conviction. Songs shot as montages have always been popular through the years. The effectiveness of montages lies in the fact that they take the story forward and thus hold our attention, they build characters and can fold many subplots into them. Subramaniapuram’s Kangal Irandaal is the best recent example of a montage working wonders.

But before talking about the montage, let’s also talk about the music that made the song so beautiful in the first place. This is not the kind of mellifluous stuff that debutants are able to produce often. But counting James Vasanthan as a debutant would be a mistake. Even though Subramaniapuram was his first film as composer, he has been around in the world of music long enough to know what exactly to produce. Most of us cannot appreciate the intricacies of the ragas used, but for those who would like to know, Kangal Irandaal is based on the Reethigowlai ragam. The music director is not the only debutant for this superhit song, even the singers are first timers. Belly Raj and Deepa Mariam, have done an outstanding job. Belly Raj had been trying his luck for some time in Kollywood before this opportunity came knocking. Belonging to the rather unknown and small Baduga community who are still to come into cities, he believes that his achievement will be an inspiration to his people.

When the song was being conceived, director Sasikumar had described in detail his plan of how to shoot the song, James Vasanthan had set the tune and Thamarai had written the lyrics. Thamarai took more than a week to get the lyrics in order, she had some commitments at home. But when she gave the lyrics, there were 4 pallavis, out of which the best was chosen, too sad that the other 3 could not be heard.

The beauty of Kangal Irandaal is the innocence of the romance. The lyrics describe perfectly the romance that blossomed only through furtive glances, the deep desire for a few words but the apprehension that holds them back. Of course, such a song might look out of place in contemporary times, but it set in perfectly with the Madurai of 1980s, that’s why we all love it so much.
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