Every once in a while comes a song that is pictured well, it stays in your heart forever. As the desi mind gets exposed to the Tarantinos and Scorceses there is a very urgent urge to imitate the format essentially meaning -getting rid of songs. Though – the random filmmaker in me thinks that AranyaKandam with no song sequences made a lot of sense as the entire movie happens in a day – there is also a fear that we may as well take it one step beyond and lose the ability to shoot a song in other movies in an interesting way.
Such thoughts led me thinking about songs that were well pictured when I grew up, the 90s. As described by any foreign tabloid about an Indian movie, the songs abruptly stops the narrative in spite of being shot colorfully and often loud (Read Punjabi).
But there were songs in the 90s that have essentially made the movie watching experience so wonderful that one just wonders if that was the reason why none of the biggies in the Tamil Film Industry could get rid of songs.
My pick of the 3 best-shot songs coincidentally fell into 3 categories. Although many would agree that there were other amazing song sequences, to me, these were so fresh that I would shoot these songs the same way even today and get people to call it path breaking.
What was also a rare coincidence was that every song mentioned below explains the intent of the song in its first line.
1. Uyire Uyire -Bombay
Undoubtedly the best pictured song in the Indian Film industry, Maniratnam poetically shot the gloominess of the character in a location where the Hero looks at the open sea, turbulent and waves hitting the rocks ferociously signifying the future he was looking at, all the while yearning for his lady love to acknowledge his emotion.
It is worth mentioning that the last few seconds of the song where the camera just revolves around Manisha Koirala and Aravind swamy was beyond Vairamuthu’s words. Rahman ‘drums it up’ with such amazing Guitar and Hariharan’s voice that you are almost left in the same emotion.
Path breaking, emotional and yet very Indian – Uyire Uyire from Bombay shows the west what an emotional/musical narrative is all about.
2. Unnodu Vazhatha – Amarkalam
Quite rarely comes a new director who has a very clear thought on the songs to be shot quite romantically. Surprisingly, Charan (from KB’s stable) awes the viewer with an amazing sequence probably to be loved by every single female in the state.
Neither a Fancy set nor a dreamy locale the songs plays right in the lady’s house. She dreams of her guy spending a day with her unnoticed by her entire family all the way expressing the reasons why she likes him.
Dramatic, Romantic – however you call it, Unnodu Vaazhatha clearly shows every one how fancy sets or dreamy locales interrupting the narrative is not that Indian songs are all about. They sometimes express the state of mind, quite dramatically.
3. ManamVirumbuthey – Nerukku Ner.
Call it personal prejudice or my bias towards the Heartthrob of 90s being introduced in the screen, this is what you call “Packaging” a song. The lyrics being surprisingly neutral that an equivalent male version would be as effective as the female one. What works for this song is the way in which Simran’s close up and the Choreography are edited, assisted by near to perfect cinematography(lighting). Add to it Simran’s gorgeousness!!
Specific instances in the lyrics that require an emotional emphasis takes the close up while the celebration of everything else goes for a well choreographed sequence. Take a note of how the second charanam starts – very simple yet very striking. Though Surya didn’t have much to do in the song (may be he couldn’t dance then) he steals the show with his close up smiles.
Clichéd to call it Foot Tapping or Enjoyable – Manam Virumbuthey clearly shows how a well-choreographed number clearly engages the audience despite interrupting the narrative, probably.
What were yours?
PS: I had songs like Kanmani Anbodu from Guna in my list and i’d probably change them someday or make it top 5