Technically this post is a day late. By India standards, much of Pongal (Sankranti) is over by now. But there is no harm in wanting to stay in the mood of Pongal- a festival of good food, friends met and movies watched.
Pongal is probably as big if not a bigger festival in the state of Tamil Nadu than Deepavali. It offers people a chance to cast away the old and expect the new. It is the most important time of the year for the farmers who will start their harvest officially with the passing of the month of Margazhi and welcome the month of Thai. More on the festival and the significance of Pongal here.
Given the significance of Pongal, it has prominently been featured in songs in Tamil cinema over the years. Some of them have withstood the test of time and here is a small compilation of some such. This is by no means comprehensive nor in any specific order.
1. Thai Pongalum Pongudhu – Mahanadhi
A festive start to what is an otherwise stark movie. Chitra belts this evergreen Pongal song. The lyrics are great and convey the spirit of the harvest season.
2. Podhuvaga En Manasu – Murattu Kalai
This song is what started it all for Superstar Rajinikanth. The song happens soon after a Jallikattu, the traditional bull taming event that happens during Mattu Pongal. The song captures the mood on Mattu Pongal and the mood in the village.
3. Margazhi thaan odi pochu – Dalapathy
Pongal plays a critical element in the Manirathnam classic, Dalapathy. The festival plays backdrop to a major event in the movie and Raaja drives the event home with a small but memorable piece.
4. Kattukuyile Manasukulle – Dalapathy
To go with 3, here is another song from the same Dalapathy. Brilliantly shot by Santosh Sivan and masterfully weaved by Manirathnam. Isaignani Ilayaraja creates a fabulous piece with two doyens SPB and Jesudas doing the honors.
6. Vandhenda Paalkaran – Annamalai
Continuing with the Rajini line, here is another massive hit that celebrates Mattu Pongal. It is also the introduction song for the Superstar in the movie and if you are a fan, you know all about it. The Rajini introduction song is by far the most important piece in the movie and will be greeted by the fans in a way unlike any other. Music director Deva does the honors with the tune here but the piece is all Rajini and SPB.
5. Poo Pookum Maasam – Varusham 16
I remember this song vividly as I had a major crush on Kushboo who debuted in this film by Fazil. The Kushboo here is almost not recognizable but she made a splash alright. The movie was a big hit and this song was pretty big too.
6. Enga Ooru Pongalukku – Chinna Thayi
A less heralded song in this list was nevertheless part of a a big musical hit of Isaignani Ilayaraja, Chinna Thayi. Footage includes actual Pongal celebrations from villages.
7. Aadungada enna suthi – Pokkiri
And then there is this. A Vijay statement song that is all about him. Less said the better. The song did go on to become popular in a soundtrack that has much better songs IMHO.
All these songs are available as part of a public Youtube playlist I created for the purpose.
Of interest is the fact that Isaignani Ilayaraaja dominates this list. There is one Deva piece and one Mani Sharma piece. I was unable to find an A.R.Rahman Pongal piece. Anyone knows of one?
To everyone reading this just before, during or right after Pongal, இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்.