Recently in a function, when asked about favorite song composed by Ilayaraja, Balu mahendran replied without a second thought that it is “Thumbi Vaa” from Olangal. He adds “when ever I listen to this song, I imagine a 8 year old kid dancing all over with her beautiful anklets”. Really this song in “Kaapi” raaga is a magic!!
This must be favorite tune of Raja sir also as he repeated this tune multiple times in many languages. He might not have used any other tune so many times. He used it more than 6 times and Janaki amma got to sing 4 versions of the same. All 4 versions became extremely popular and remain as all time hits till date. Though used for different scenarios, this tune proved to be successful in bringing out different emotions with a common factor of “Melody”.
Olangal – Thumbi Vaa.
This was the first time when Raja sir composed this tune and immortalized the same in golden vocals of Janaki amma. Such was his confidence on her breath control and lung power that he filled entire song with many tricky alaaps and humming. He made complete use of her pitch control and this song remains as a classic example of her “Range”. Balu Mahendar used this tune to show close bonding in a small family and how a mother’s emotions go boundless looking at happiness of her kids, who define world to her..!! ONV Kurp sir’s lyrics remains forever in hearts of Malayalis. Such is popularity of this song that almost every aspirant singer in Kerala released their own cover/tribute version of this song and it continues to be one of most played song in all music functions till date. Raja sir ends the song with a blend of two voices of Janaki amma for heroine and kid. That smile is just captivating…!!
Nireekshana – Aakasam Enatido.
This again is a brain child from imagination of Balu mahendar sir. Nireekshana is a story of a tribal girl’s love and her sacrifice of entire life waiting for beloved who faces a life time imprisonment because of some unseen dramatic situations in his life. Balu mahendran sir uses this song to show how innocent and pious their love life was before difficulties occupy permanent place in their lives. Very few songs enjoy such a lovely choreography as this song does. Hilly areas, tribal attire of heroine, modern outlook of hero, her innocence and fun filled nature, trees, birds, swings – all together a dreamy presentation it is !! Hats off to Balu mahendra sir for the way he presented “Mohaale dahalai, sarasaale saradalai” on screen with heroine going up and up on swing to be in sync with higher octaves of Janaki amma’s singing.
Lyricist Veturi Sundara Ramamurthy sir proved power of his pen yet another time with sentences like “Ye raagam Ye gunde lothuna Ye geetham palikinchuno”.
Kanne Kalaimaane – Neer Veezhchi.
Third is dubbed version of the song in Tamil.
Auto Raja – Sangathil.
Just close your eyes and listen to this rendition, it takes you to some unknown worlds. Such was his love towards this tune that he himself rendered it along with Janaki amma for Tamil movie “Auto Raja”. Lyrics was by Pulamaipithan sir. Video version misses inimitable “Sindhi then paaiginra uravai” in voice of Janaki amma. The way she restarts singing after this line and slowly increases volume of her voice gives a “S Janaki” look to the song. Raja sir and Janaki amma sang this song as if they were painting with their vocals.. Humming portion of Janaki amma is life of this song which she excelled as always..
This tune and singing came directly from some unknown heavens..!!
Listening to this melody in different languages is an experience in itself …
Really, Music has no language as music in itself is language of the soul …!!