Pudhaiyal (1957) poster, courtesy Wikipedia

As I grow older, I find that I keep going back to the same set of film songs on YouTube. I guess it is some kind of fixation but then, the happiness these songs give me is unparalleled. One among these is viNNODum mugilODum from the film Pudhaiyal (1957).

There is first the setting itself – a lonely Elliots Beach, with just a couple of trees, the sand and the sea. And then the music, Ayyo (as Padmini said rather too often in her heavy voice in over so many films) what melody (top marks to Viswanathan Ramamurthy) and lyrics (MK Atmanathan as per Wikipedia). And finally, a young and energetic Sivaji and Padmini, both very slim and not the heavyweights they would become later.

The couple bring so much of energy to the situation. There is a lovely moment, from 1.34, where Sivaji pulls Padmini’s plaits and she becomes angry and then he turns cartwheels to placate her. And there is that wonderful silhouette of Padmini at 2.14 or so, where she does this pirouette in the water. To me, the other great takeaway is the way romance is portrayed by just two people together. No skimpy angels jumping around or villagers singing a chorus etc as became the norm around 15 years later. And I think Padmini and Sivaji carried torches for each other in real life – such chemistry is not possible otherwise. You can see two people in the bloom of youth deeply in love.

Lastly, P Susheela and CS Jayaraman! I think this must have been one of the first few films where she sings for Padmini, breaking the ML Vasanthakumari monopoly. If her star was in the ascendant, that of CS Jayaraman was on the decline. Beginning with Thooku Thooki (1954), TM Soundararajan was being asked to sing for Sivaji and this must have been one of the last few songs that CSJ sang playback for Sivaji.

By way of added info – CS Jayaraman was, as is well known, the brother in law of Kalaignar Mu Karunanidhi, being the brother of Padmavathi, Kalignar’s first wife, the mother of Mu Ka Muthu. Not so well known is that Jayarama Pillai as he was referred to by many including Sivaji, was a descendant of Shuddha Maddalam Thambiappa Pillai, the disciple of Muthuswami Dikshitar. CS Jayaraman also did a lot of good work during the Tamil Isai Movement by performing several concerts in the classical style. He is completely forgotten today.

I was saddened to known that Pudhaiyal bombed at the box office. There is an entry to this effect on Wikipedia. I have not seen the movie and I notice it has another favourite of mine – TS Baliah, looking all evil. I am sure he must have been wonderful too.

But viNNODum mugilODum – what a song! Another favourite from the same movie is Chinna Chinna Izhai, a lovely Padmini dance, with Suseela and chorus singing, lyrics by Pattukkottai Kalyanasundaram. You can see that here:

My only crib – there was an excellent upload of viNNODum mugilODum on YouTube and now I find it has vanished. I am therefore making do with what is there.

Have you registered for Past Forward’s forthcoming tour to Chettinad? If not do so now!

This article is part of a series I write on some of my favourite film songs, chiefly Tamil and Hindi.You can read the earlier instalments here