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Random Thoughts on TFM Random Thoughts on TFM

Topic started by Gowri (@ on Tue Apr 9 03:06:08 EDT 2002.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

Gangai Amaran writes:

Research findings have established clearly that folk music preceded traditional, classical music in TamilNadu. Cave men & tribal men made sounds that devloped into a language. These people gave simple tunes without any rules, but a sense of music was apparent even then.
In my childhood days, there was no cinema as there is now. Performers travelled from village to village telling stories . Songs were interwoven in the sories. The appreciative audience offered these performers whatever they could.This was the beginning of symphony.
During the era of silent movies as recounted by our present CM Dr.M.Karunanidhi, a great lover of arts, musicians used to sit in front of the screen & sing, render music & dialogues at appropriate places to keep the audience enthralled.
To the best of my knowledge Sri Shankaradas Swamigal, a magan was the individual, to the best of my knowledge who gave filip to integration of music, verse & dialogues in a drama. Great creations such as Meenakshi Kalyanam, Yesu can be attributed to this Mahan. He included songs in appropriate places. 'Kayatha Kanagathe' is a prime eg. He established the Bala Nataka Sabha, where only children were involved in enacting all the roles. Then came Sakthi & Vaira Nataka Sabhas.
Nawab RajaManickam was a note-worthy person of these days who enacted plays using grand props & settings. Sakthi Nataka Sabha has gifted to the world of Tamil Cinema such greats as Shivaji Ganesan, V.K.Ramaswamy etc.,The troup used to consist of about 60 members & it was important for each artiste to be thorough with the dialogues & songs of all characters for each actor was made to paly a different role each day. Vaira Nataka Sabha has contributed greats like M.G.R & Nambiar.In the early stages of talkies, people who sought to act in movies had to be endowed with good looks, good voice & capacity to sing.Kittappa, Bhagavathar, P.U.Chinnappa, all great singers & actors of yesteryears were persons endowed with such gifts. As these actors act & sing, the orchestra had to move along with the actor & this recording was done in single track. The records were created with the whole gorup doing a special recording of the same song all over again in the studios. Saraswati Stores of A.V.Meyappa Chettiar was a renowned company that released records of film songs. Gramaphones were owned only by the very rich, who preferred carnatic trend in film music also & hence the songs of those days were based entirely on carnatic music.
We owe a great deal to the Britishers for introducing technology into cinema. Ellis.R.Duncan is one person I can single out, whose assistants after learning the tricks of the trade from him branched out to make their own movies. Drama, thus developed intocinema & in its wake came studios, recording with mike etc. The concept of dubbing was not known in those days. For a song to be perfected the entire troupe would work for months, paid on a monthly basis.
If you look at the chronology of singers, Kittappa was followed be T.R.Mahalingam, who was followed by T.M.Soundarajan,Seergazhi Govindarajan, all persons who could sing in very high pitches.
G.Ramanathan brought a fresh air to cine music. But folk songs were not appreciated in those dyas.Along with Papanasam Sivan who was a great composer he gave a variety of songs. There was no need do to go to a Kutchery. The Tamil film songs were strongly based on Carnatic music tradition.
P.U.Chinnappa was followed by Chidambaram Jayaraman,Tiruchi Loganathan. Gantasala was followed by P.B.Srinivas, S.P.B ,Mano etc., K.J.Yesudoss is a singer who emerged with a diiferent voice. Sivaji Ganesan, the recipient of Dada Saheb Palke award, could sing eloquently, but did not do so in movies giving way to the playback singers. Though T.M.S. claims that he used to change his voice to suit Sivaji & M.G.R. , but his voice defintely suits Sivaji best & it is my personal view that he has not really changed his voice much.
The domination of actors & singers from the Telugu field existed for a time. In order to sing for Telugu actors such as Nageswara Rao, N.T.RamaRao, Adi NarayanaRao, P.G.Lingappa, Chalapathi Rao etc. several singers such as Gantasala, P.B. Srinivas were introduced in Tamil. Other singers from Telugu field are S.Janaki, P.Susheela. Music obviously has no language barriers.
All the veterans of the early days had paved & smoothed the road for us in the present days. The trials faced by Viswanathan Ramamurthy,G.Ramanathan,S.V.Venkatraman are not faced by the present day musicians. Illayaraja's way was smoothed by his peers & in his turn he has shown the way for the next generation.
M.S.Viswanathan started his career as a chorus singer in K.V.Mahadevan's troupe & then became a great music director. He changed the history of Tamil cine music by giving lighter, melodius songs appreciated by all.Sudarsanam & Devarajan Masters were also great music directors of the day. Hindi music was popular then, & several songs were based on hindi music tunes.M.S.Viswanathan- Ramamurthy were great, for, they took the essence from other music but managed to deliver their own creations & hence their music is able to withstand for long.Chandrababu with his interest in western music also got them to make songs for him mostly based on westwern style.
Shankar Ganesh have directed music in several films. V.Kumar was a music director who was brought into film music by K.Balachander from his drama days. Kunnakudi, Deva , A.R.Rehaman are people who entered the film music line from other related fields such as devotional music, jingles, etc.
A.R.Rehaman is an extrememly talented youngster & some of the music rendered by him, can only be done by someone who has a wonderful understanding of music & the medium.


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