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Love, life and audiotapes

Valentine’s Day and the songs we love

SR: Bro, why are you taking leave on Tuesday? What’s happening?

VM: Have some personal work da

SR: Why are you being so shady? I know it’s Valentine’s Day. Have some grand plans, eh?

VM: Ada cha, why are you being so nosey? I didn’t want to tell you because you might steal my idea. I’ve made arrangements to go to a candle-lit dinner where they will play all our favourite love songs.

SR: You call that a great idea? I did this when you were still in your diapers…

VM: Nee periya kaadhal mannan da.

SR: Love songs are such time-capsules la? They so beautifully capture what we go through when we fall for a person…

VM: I have a few ‘soul’ songs that I listen to just three or four times a year. They’re like a precious bottle of Cognac. Very few occasions deserve those songs.

SR: Tell me a few of those numbers. Knowing your taste in music, I hope our lists don’t overlap.

VM: That’s too private to share. It’s a combination of super-classy ARR hits and super-cheesy Viju Shah tracks. It’s not just about their quality; it’s about what it means to me.

SR: That’s the thing, right? Such lists differ from person to person, relationship to relationship. But there must be some universally-loved songs. Like the entire album of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa.

Even 20 years from now, people will still talk about ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Mannipaaya’. They’re perfect falling-in-love songs.

VM: Vaaranam Aayiram is that for me. I’ve carefully kept the album aside so I don’t get overexposed to it… I’ve ‘preserved’ them, so to say.

SR: Great concept da. It’s very easy to get tired of songs, especially since we’re bombarded with them wherever we go.

VM: If you really love a song, don’t make it easily accessible. Don’t download it, don’t buy the CD, don’t YouTube it.

SR: So confusing. How do you listen to it then?

VM: Let it come to you, either on radio or on TV. I’m romanticising, but just imagine you’re down and out on a tough day and your ‘soul’ song gets played on the radio right then. It can change your mood. It’s like the universe’s gift to you then, right?

SR: I also have this routine—when a promising love track releases, I want to listen to it alone in my headphones so I can value the ‘virginity’ of the song. So I went home early from work, shut all the doors, put my phone on silent and…let ‘Maruvaarthai’ play on loop. Thank you, Mr X, for composing it.

VM: Didn’t you stay up all night for the songs of O Kadhal Kanmani?

SR: Ah, I remember that. Say, do you recall the first love song that made you go crazy?

VM: Yup! I remember the songs of Veer-Zaara having that effect on me. ‘Woh Lamhe’ too, for that matter. It’s one of the first songs I burned on an audio CD.

SR: ‘Bole Sajni’ from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna was the first track I went crazy about — I would listen to that cassette every day continuously for a year. I promise I did. ‘Roja Roja’ from Kadhalar Dhinam is another dear track. I even sang it during my school culturals.

VM: I’m very suspicious of people who have obvious favourite songs. I’ll judge a guy who says his favourites are ‘Valayosai’, ‘Pudhu Vellai Mazhai’ or ‘Vaseegara’. These are great songs, no doubt, but these are just safe answers to give. You don’t learn anything about a person then.

SR: Hmm. I hate getting such template answers too. Did you know that I have this special fondness for songs of yearning? Think ‘Enge Enadhu Kavidhai’. Or even ‘Sandhippoma’.

VM: I too should listen to these songs again.

SR: It must be really difficult for composers to come up with a zillion love songs. Imagine composing a peppy romantic song in the morning and following it up with an emotional love track in the evening. So many mood swings, no? I’d like to know what a director tells a composer when all he wants is a generic love duet to be shot in Switzerland…

VM: I have a weird theory for that. I believe all composers have that one lover that they think about every time they need to come up with a love song. Every tune they create is, in a way, a tribute to that one girl. Just imagine how lucky these girls are... every great song is inspired by them.

SR: That’s too far-fetched bro. So, you mean to say that if they were composing for a horror film, they need to see ghosts? Of course it doesn’t work like that.

VM: But love is very different no? That’s why these songs sometimes even outlive the movie. Like ‘Marudhaani’ from Sakkarakatti. Like ‘Aval Ulaga Azhagiye’ from Laysa Laysa. Like ‘Arabu Naade’ from Thottal Poo Malarum.

SR: I’m sure these songs are in your Valentine’s Day playlist…

VM: En Kaadhal Solla Theva Illai

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 9:31:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Love-life-and-audiotapes/article17300885.ece

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