No one really shoots songs like Gautham Menon, even folks who don’t like his films will like to sit through the songs, which is the opposite of what they would do for other directors.
In 2015’s Yennai Arindhaal (If you know me), Ajith Kumar plays Satyadev, an honest cop, honest to a fault in fact; explaining this song would need a little bit of context setting because the song itself is placed somewhere midway.
So yes, Satya had just driven out a gangster ‘Golden’ Raj from his house after literally stripping him, yes the price that one has to pay for offering bribes to DCP Satya, this honesty is also emphasized by means of harsh dialogue. Also worth mentioning is that Satya lives alone, naturally a dry life.
Happy and honest but dry.
The song is not a meet-her-the-first-time kindoff song, in fact Hemanika (Trisha) and Satya have met before in not so normal circumstances and a magistrate court is not even a romantic place, but this is where Satya realizes that he actually likes her. So stiff DCP goes and watches mock dance drama and all.
Even if you are Thala, you will find difficulty in getting a girl’ s number and even the usually honest DCP has to resort to other ‘tactics’ to proceed in this matter.
This is where the song starts.
I really liked it when text in the form of SMS was used to move the narrative in Sherlock, here GVM employs the same technique, it might not add to the character as it does in Sherlock, but surely expresses the uneasy waiting moments that the hero goes through, in fact with every successive text message our hero softens.
And then it rains.
Dry life and all that washed away. Hence Mazhai Vara Pogudhey.
GVM cuts back and forth between Satya punching goons and Hemanika correcting ‘mudras’ of her disciples, this is not just some love song in Swiss magic backgrounds, this a love song of two professionals going on about their work.
Both hand-to-hand combats, but of a different kind.
Also notice that the song is used as a catalyst to push time, so it does not seem severely out of place when Satya proposes to her, this is a recurrent GVM theme; single mother who speaks in monosyllable, confident hero who plans far ahead; but look at at the way how it all comes together at the end of the song. Conveys so much five minutes of a song that even after an hour of talkies some directors fail to get.
Satya reaches Hemanika’s house, gives her flowers and there is a hand holding, he is firm/confident but she is unsure, concerned for her daughter perhaps or too shy admit, I dunno it could be anything.
However moments later in the song (almost an evening has passed in their life), there is another hand holding, but this time Hemanika is relaxed, they are alone.
This tricky relationship is so well carved out in the song, in fact superior to the scene when they actually discuss it out in the open.
This song is story telling.
I am not saying this is a perfect song, in fact the Satya and Hemanika walking through malls and Satyam cinemas montage does become repetitive(wink and you will miss a VV reference), but GVM understands songs and where they are placed and their outcome, this one in particular I feel. How much of Hemanika we connect to (which is important for the rest of the film) solely lies in the success of Mazhai vara Pogudhey.
Through her, we see him (yes that is a GVM-ish line, but i’ll risk it) . Superb design.
Songs(in films) are not for relief as some directors would like to say, songs are not even embellishments or travel opportunities to far flung nations, they are very much part of the narrative, when used wisely they could become the director’s greatest ally.
Yes it is a great song to hear, one of my favorite Karthik solos, Harris as usual delivers and one can listen to this number day and night, but taking it with the context of two people coming together within the movie and how it denotes things to come, it is bloody brilliant!
And they say there is no use for song in films.
<What’s music doc? is an occasional short column to be put together on the influence of film music or the inability to explain the influence of film music or some such thing>