A raga that instantly sets off a meditative and intense mood when handled is Hamsanandi. This raga is easy to identify even for an untrained listener since it's notes are so peculiarly aligned and its prayogas specially crafted. A fairly new raga, it is best sung in a breezy style, highlighting its frills, while paying due attention to the feeling conveyed by its plain notes.
Hamsanandi takes on sadja, suddha rishabha, antara gandhara, prati madhyama, chatusruti dhaivata, and kakali nishada. The pancama is eschewed and this chasm in the centre of the raga gives rise to the emotion of yearning and fervent appeal. A symmetric one in ascent and descent, Hamsanandi is a shadava raga (having six notes).
Swati Tirunal's “Pahi Jagajanani” is a well-known kriti in this raga. “Needu Mahima Pogada” of Muthiah Bhagavatar, “Srinivasa” of Papanasam Sivan, and “Pavanaguru” of Lalitadasar are other interesting compositions in Hamsanandi popular on the concert platform. Sunadavinodhini is an allied raga of Hamsanandi, the difference being that the rishabha is absent in Sunadavinodini, all other notes remaining the same. “Devadi Deva” of Mysore Vasudevachar is popular in Sunadavinodini.
In film music this scale has been used rather selectively but with great impact. “Thesulavuthe” from “Manalane Mangayin Bagyam” starts off majestically in Hamsanandi and then moves on to another scale in the second charanam. A plethora of sangati-s in the pallavi at “Nenjame kaadal” set our pulse racing with Ghantasala's smooth vocals. The Hindi version of this song “Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya” from the film “Suvarna Sundari”, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi, is charming in its own way, the free-wheeling sangati-s and bols in “Saj sringaar rutu...” taking our breath away. This Adi Narayana Rao creation will always be a favourite of music connoisseurs.
“Ezhumalai irukka”, sung boldly by K. B. Sundarambal in the film “Thirumalai Deivam” under the music direction of Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan, is an example of how this raga can be adapted to the silver screen, using its inherent poignancy to maximise the devotional appeal.
Many people think “Kaalaiyum neeye” of A. M.Raja from “Thaen Nilavu” is in Hamsanandi. It may be replete with lovely Hamsanandi-like phrases but is not strictly based on the raga itself. The viruttam “Enna koduppaan” from “Karnan”, with music by M.S.Viswanathan – Ramamurthy, is based in Hamsanandi and establishes the stamp of the raga within seconds. Starting in the top sadja and anchoring itself at the nishada, this little piece has a huge recall value.
“Vedam anuvilum oru” from “Salangai Oli” is a masterpiece of Ilayaraja sung brilliantly by SPB. In the lines “Sangeeta nattiyame” the phrase “g, m, d, ns,” is clearly established. The complex sangatis leave us gobsmacked, and one wonders in awe as to how a single raga can convey so many emotions in so many ways.
In the film “Mella Thirandadu Kadhavu”, the classical piece “Pavanaguru” was sung by Chitra and used simply, sans frills. It was a clever exercise in establishing the raga's prescence in an unadulterated fashionon the silver screen.
In the film “Payanangal Mudivadillai”, the song “Raga deepam” is an evergreen classic in this raga. The opening phrase “s,n n,d d,m m,g / g m d n s” bears the Hamsanandi stamp and brings forth the traditional flavour of the raga. Once again a creation of Ilayaraja, sung by SPB, this one will always be here to stay.
In the Hindustani system of music “Sohini” and “Puria” closely resemble our Carnatic Hamsanandi. “Prem jogan banke” from “Mughal-e-Azam”, with music by Naushad and sung by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, is an outstanding example of raag Sohini in Hindi film music.