Its monsoon season here in California. We get a lot of rain between now and late Spring. I am reminded of the monsoon back home in South India and the hot tea and samosas and pakoras that came with it. I am also reminded of some remarkable Tamil movie songs that were distinctly defined by the element of rain. And hence this post. I have put together a list of some really nice songs that to me represent the monsoons. So here it goes, in no particular order.
1. Chinna Chinna mazhai thuligal (En Swaasa Katre):
For whatever reason, this is the first song that comes to my mind when I think of rain. The movie was ho-hum. But the song somehow has remained in public conscience for a while. The lyrics are all about rain. And ARR and Vairamuthu combine to deliver a very pleasing experience to the ears.
2. Thenmerku Paruva Katru (Karuthamma):
Another A.R.R creation, this one has a very addictive beat to it. Unnikrishnan and Chitra do a wonderful job with this subtle romantic piece. In my opinion, this is one of those songs that are good on the first listen but you keep going back to it for a repeat hear. The lyrics and great. Watch out when Unni goes for “Mazhai thuli enna thavam”.
3. Thakita Thadimi (Salangai Oli): And then there is this. In what can only be described as an epic, everything about this piece is brilliant. The situation, the song composed by Ilayaraja fantastically sung by the inimitable SPB and then Kamalhassan. A song that can be done full justice only by Kamal, it delivers a remarkable experience that words fall short of.
4. Evano Oruvan (Alaipayuthey):
This is a beautiful piece by A.R.R for Manirathnam’s Alaipayuthey. The song has great lyrics and the late Swarnalatha packs an emotional punch with this. The key element of this piece is how the song moves the story forward while delivering a wonderful audio visual experience in the process.
5. Megam Kottatum (Enakkul Oruvan):
Another brilliant piece by Ilayaraja+SPB+Kamal combo. This is very different from the Salangai Oli piece in the mood. This is an exuberant dance piece that showcases the Casanova version of Kamalhassan. The dance is fantastic and the set pieces are great. And Raja delivers an eminently tuneful piece that I love to this day.
6. Katril Enthan Geetham (Johnny):
S.Janaki delivers a fantastic piece for Ilayaraja. Sridevi acts very convincingly in this song that is a climax piece for the movie, Johnny starring Rajinikanth. Without going much into the story, the song has a lot of significance. And well beyond the vocals, Raja delivers a BGM that wraps around this song that elevates the whole experience.
7. Vaan megam (Punnagai Mannan):
In an album filled with rich tunes, this one delivers the rain punch. The lyrics and beautiful, a young and vibrant Chitra’s voice flows and Revathi looks and acts the part. And then there is Raja’s magic. Enough said.
8. Kadhal Kavithaigal (Gopura Vasalile):
A beautiful romantic number composed by Ilayaraja for Pyiradarshan’s Gopura Vasalile. SPB and Chitra deliver a song that is very pleasing to the ear and stays long after the track is over. The visuals are equally pleasant.
9. Andhi Mazhai Megam (Nayagan):
Another song as an experience. T.S.Maharajan gives the song a unique voice to go with the deep vocals of P.Susheela. And Velu Nayakar dominates the scene. And like with any Manirathnam song, there is more to it than just the song and the visuals.
9. Sanda Kozhi (Ayudha Ezhuthu):
This song is here for one and one reason only. A.R.R’s raw and mesmerizing breakout in the middle of the song. The song otherwise is passable. Nothing to write home about. But ARR elevates it with a 20 second piece in the middle. Worth the price of admission.
10. Oho Megam Vandhadho (Mouna Ragam):
Manirathnam, Ilayaraja, and Revathi. Remember the combo. You should – it was just a few songs ago. This is another peppy song from the combo for Manirathnam’s brilliant Mouna Ragam. The only replacement is with Janaki filling in for Chitra. Otherwise, yet another rain song worth remembering for a long time.
There are other rain songs not in the list. Either I missed them completely or they are not to be mentioned in the same breath as the above. Then there are the honorable mentions. Good to great songs that are all about the monsoon season but fall short of a top 10 list. And this is a comprehensive list of which I am only mentioning a few:
Thee Thee (Thiruda Thiruda)
Sil Sil (Arindhum Ariyamalum)
Thanga Thamarai Magale (Minsara Kanavu)
Andhi Mazhai Pozhigiradhu (Rajapaarvai)
Thoda Thoda (Indira)
Mazhai Varudhu (Raja kaiya vecha)
Megam Karukudhu (Ananda Ragam)
Maari Mazhai Peyyadho (Uzhavan)
Un Samayal Araiyil (Dhill)