If one song has been able to bring together some of the best playback singers, Carnatic musicians, folk artists, technicians, an Oscar-winning composer and one ace lyricist, it is the theme song of the World Classical Tamil Conference.
Written by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, it begins with the lines Pirappokkum yella uyirkum…. This is also the conference theme. It is already popular, with various television channels screening the video in the run-up to the event in Coimbatore. As filmed by director Gautham Vasudev Menon and his team, the song consciously retains the focus on the lyrical character and feel of the song, even as it pleasantly captures the spirit of being Tamil.
“There is one part where children clad in white uniforms come running towards us. It was such a beautiful feeling,” says Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam, recalling the portion shot by the sea in Chennai. As the song unfolds in the majestic voice of T.M. Sounderarajan, listeners know that a treat is in store. The lyrics, and change in voice and tone for every subsequent line, bring an unusual level of varietyto the piece. Whether it is Hariharan, Karthik, Harini or Chinmayi, the unique timbre of each of the playback singers comes through very well.
In P. Susheela's voice, the lines Orarivu mudal aararivu uyirinam varayile unarndhidum udal amaipai pagirthu koorum quickly transport listeners to the era of melodies that the veteran playback singer was part of. The classical flashes in the voices of Aruna Sairam, Bombay Jayashri, S. Sowmya, Nithyasree Mahadevan and T.M. Krishna bring in another musical flavour. Soon, the energy in folk artist Chinnaponnu's voice gives an altogether different appeal to the lyrics. At this point, the song is set for an interesting transition — one that reiterates the genius of A.R. Rahman. Who would imagine the transition from a classical, folksy feel to a drastically different genre featuring Blaze, to be so seamless!
The pitch variation that Shruti Haasan brings in soon afterwards, helps sustain the energy in the composition till the very last line. The song is also a journey of sorts showcasing voices of all kinds — from the ultra-trained to the earthy, straight-from-the-heart variety. All the while, the visuals complement the poetry and music in an unobtrusive way.
The theme song is likely to appeal to the scholarly connoisseur of language and the arts, as well as they lay, entertainment-loving common person. In that sense, it has something for everyone.