Good music is indeed therapeutic, and all ragas, in their own way, soothe the mind. One raga that is proven to reduce high blood-pressure levels, promote mental stability and cure depression is Anandabhairavi. A typically classical raga that thrives on melodic oscillations and majestic glides, Anandabhairavi spreads the feeling of joy and fulfillment.
This raga's progression takes place on a zig-zag path, like a roller-coaster ride in musical notes. It features sadja, sadharana gandhara, chatusruti rishabha, suddha madhyama, pancama, and chatusruti dhaivata in ascent and also accomodates the kaisiki nishada in the descent. This is a raga that, in addition to the above-mentioned notes, features exotic foreign notes including the antara gandhara, suddha dhaivata, and kakali nishada. The net result is that sheer magic is created when this raga is handled - very many hues, many many moods, and wildly mystical musical spaces. The silence between musical phrases sometimes conveys much more to us than the phrases themselves and this aspect in music can be illustrated admirably through Anandabhairavi delineations which evoke Bhakthi, Karuna and Sringara rasas.
Thyagaraja's compositions in this raga include “Neeke Theliyaka” and “Ksheera Sagara Vihara”. Dikshitar has composed a “Kamalamba” Navavarana in this raga, in addition to the well-known “Thyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam”. Shyama Sastri's compositions include “Marivere” and “O Jagadamba”. This raga is sung in weddings to usher in auspiciousness.
Film music has gained a lot from Anandabhairavi. In “Karnan”, in the piece “Poi Vaa Magale” by MSV-Ramamurthy, the lines “Thaai veedenbadhum than veeday” bear the stamp of this raga with its characteristic glide from pancama to the top sadja.
In the film “Aadhi Parasakthi” (music K V Mahadevan) the song “Naan Aatchi Seidhu Varum”, sung by P Susheela, features various Devi Kshetras and it is indeed apt since the raga name itself is that of the Supreme Mother. The stage-by-stage progression of notes, first halting in madhyama in “Meenakshi endra peyar enakku” , and pancama in“Visalakshi...”, and sadja in “Kamakshi”reflect the raga's lakshana precisely.
Ilayaraja has used this raga in the film “Sri Raghavendra”, the song “Parthale Theriyado Naekku”, sung with an expressive twist by the actress Manorama.
The film “Duet” features a brilliant Anandabhairavi in the song “Mettu Podu”, in the music of A R Rahman. In the song “Anbendra Mazhaiyile” from “Minsara Kanavu” ARR once again employs this raga, this time to evoke devotion and tranquility. Again in “Nadhiye Nadhiye” from the film “Rhythm”, ARR has created a richly orchestrated masterpiece in Anandabhairavi.
Deva in the song “Konja Naal Poru Thalaiva” strikes gold with Anandabhairavi. Replete with gamakas, this song sung by Hariharan is an exemplary creation. Each phrase ends with a characteristic oscillation, for example “..thalaiva..” ends with a flourish in the pancama, while “..varuvaa..” ends with a grand gamaka in the gandhara.
It is challenging to compose commercial film songs in ragas such as Anandabhairavi that are so classical and structured. But those compositions that finally take shape truly stand the test of time.