We are less than a week away from the biggest gathering of PSG Tech alumni outside India. And I am counting down to the event with a series of posts on tamil film music in my college days. Over the last few days, we covered my freshman year and sophomore year and the songs that made it to the popularity charts then. We are now on to my junior year in college. This was the year I met my wife for the first time. So you can imagine this being a special year for us and the music made it all the more memorable.
Over the summer of 98, the biggest hit was Priyamudan. This Vijay thriller was a big hit and the songs continued to echo in the college when we got back from our break. Deva was inspired by a whole slew of musical sources for his compositions for Priyamudan. The one that made it big was Bharathikku Kannamma. Vijay continued to have his share of hits with Nilave Vaa. With two heroines to choose from and a college setting to boot, the movie had some popular songs. The songs with air time were Nee Katru and Nilave Nilave.
This brings us to one gentleman named S.A.Rajkumar. S.A.R made his bones composing for Vikraman, he of the brother/sister/big family/village sentiment. In 1998, Vikraman made one such weepy emotional drama featuring Karthik called Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen. And true to form, SAR composed a song Edho Oru Pattu, which played and played everywhere you went. In buses, in the radio, in the TV and what not until you had enough of it.
September brought a big hit for Prashanth and Simran in the form of Kannedhirey Thondrinal. It also had a strong friendship theme to it with Prashanth and Karan and ended up being very popular among the college crowd. Quite a few of Deva’s songs made it pretty big like Salomiya, Kothal Savadi and Kanave Kalayadhe. The biggest one in college was Eshwara. The rest of the year did not have a big enough hit to surpass Deva’s gaana songs for Kannedhirey Thondrinal.
For the rest of the calendar year, there was not much to croon. Sollamale was a surprise hit with Livingston and Kausalya and had some decent songs but nothing to write about. The last decent hit of the year was Ilayaraja’s tunes for Agathiyan’s Kadhal Kavithai. The movie, an attempt to cash in on the fame of late Diana had some popular songs like Alana Naal Mudhala and Diana Diana but the movie itself was no big shakes.
As if to compensate for the slim pickings in the last part of 1998, the next year opened up big and stayed big all Spring and summer until we left for the summer break. The first major hit for the year was the Vijay-Simran starrer Thulladha Manamum Thullum. A weepy romantic movie, it had superhit romantic songs that made it pretty big like Thodu Thodu, Innisai Padi varum and Iruvadhu Kodi. But the biggest was Megamai Vandhu.
The year was just getting started. In a few weeks from when Vijay and Simran were rocking the charts, came Deva’s gaana magnum opus Ninaivirukkum Varai. This movie starring Prabhu Deva is not remembered as much for the story or any such as much as it was for its two massive gaana hits- Kathadikkudhu Kathadikkudhu and Thirupathi Ezhumalai.
The end of February brought the long delayed Arvind Swamy starrer with ARR’s music in En Swaasa Katre. En Swaasa Katre did average business at the box office but given the Rahman rage going around town, the songs like Jumbalika, and Thirakkadha were quite popular. The biggest hit was Chinna Chinna mazhai thuligal but my personal favorite was SPB and Chitra’s Theendai.
March was a quite month because of the monster that was to follow. Rajinikanth’s movies were big, whichever you looked at it. In the media, around town and all over college, the songs from a Rajini movie were heard, period. Throw in ARR’s music and you had a heady concoction. And if were to be a monster hit like Padayappa, you can only imagine. Padayappa stormed the screens in early April and vanished all competition. For the romantic at heart, there was Suthi Suthi, a tantalizing piece by SPB. For the ones looking for motivation, there was Vetri Kodi Kattu. For the Rajini intro song, there was Singa Nadai pottu. But the song that made it to the top of the pile was the lazy philosophical piece, Kikku Yeruthey.
The last few months of my third year in college had brought a surfeit of hits but it was not all done. The last major hit for that spring was the Ajith-Simran-Jyothika starrer Vaali. With its taut script and Deva’s tunes, the movie went head to head with Padayappa and did well. The movie had some great songs which made it very big in college – April Madhathil, Nilavai Konduvaa and more. The biggest of course was the Ajith-Jyothika piece, O Sona.
After a relatively timid start to the academic year, the quality and quantity of popular songs picked up as the year progressed culminating in some major hits. It was a great year to be in college and the songs made it all the more special. Later this week, in the last and final post in this series, I will revisit the songs that made it big in my final year in college. Stay tuned.
As always, the public Youtube playlist with all the songs featured in this series of posts can be found here. Enjoy.
Posts in this Series:
Andha Naal Gnyabagam- Music in my college days (Part 4)