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"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Who is Maheeva Kammat?

Just like everyone else, I'm a music freak. On the road, at home, at work, I keep humming some tune; if not, I keep tapping my fingers (thanks to two years of formal training in percussion). I love almost any music that is rhythmic and not noisy; melodies, I adore! My favourite genre is Tamil film music.

However my music listening is kinda strange. Unlike many I know, I don't listen to entire playlists or even albums. I listen to something; if I like it, I repeat it over and over and over again. Almost as if I am beholding a phenomenon - as if that piece were the anthem, the final word in music. I've observed that this habit of mine hasn't changed - only the songs keep changing, maybe once a month.

The phenomenon I'm currently beholding is Konjam Konjam from the Tamil movie, Arindhum Ariyaamalum. I don't know when I started listening to this solo piece; neither do I know when I'll stop. My friends and colleagues have grown sick of the publicity I've been giving to this song, composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.

Solo love songs are common in Tamil movies, but they are always sung by the hero. He craves and he croons. I've often wondered how insensitive moviemakers are to the emotions of the leading lady. Don't they long for their hero? Or aren't they creative enough to express their outpourings? Why should they been depicted as haughty? Are only men lovesick? In recent times, the one music composer who changed the trend by doling out melodious love solos is Harris Jeyaraj. He is a real trend-setter. Vaseegara (from Minnale), Poove Vaai Pesum (12 B) and Ondra Renda (Kaakha Kaakha) come to the mind almost immediately.

Konjam Konjam is a fitting addition to this oft-overlooked genre. It is set on the beach where the girl is observing her beau who is playing volleyball. They have been friends for some time, and love is blossoming between them. One needn't see the visuals to guess that the song has some beach sequences. Except for the opening, I haven't seen them myself. The tune and the beats are set in a way that evokes memories of sea shanties - a rare fusion of the African and Mediterranean (or say Carribean and South American) variety, interspersed with a qawwali-style chorus.

One must hand it over to the singer. Her lovely rendering of this song strikes us with awe, more so when we are told that this is her debut song! I haven't heard of the name Maheeva Kammat before; I don't even know if the spelling is correct - but this is the one Google agrees upon. Various music reviews misspell her name ad nauseum, with one claiming that he has done a great job!

The song starts in a very casual, nonchalant even careless way. But twenty seconds into it, we realise that the subdued nature of feminine passion is going to explode. The transition happens, but not fully. Maheeva delights us with her seamless movement from one pitch to another, those neat inflections, and a voice that conveys a longing, that passion. In fact to call it feminine passion is wrong - those girlish notions of romance, pride even in love, are brought out superbly. That passion remains subdued, and lingers till the very end.

That she isn't a Tamilian is evident; her accent and pronuniciation reveal it amply (she says kolluppam for doubt). But given that one is used to hearing bad Tamil from gen-next females, on screen, on TV and in real life, it seems natural, and hence pardonable. But Maheeva wins it with her impeccable style - it compensates for any shortcomings. Her adorable voice makes the song drip with passion. And for that reason, she wins my vote for the Best Debutante Singer award for this year! Maheeva Kammat (if that's the right spelling), I salute you for this magnificent effort!

17 Comments:

Anonymous Rafeeq said...

The song is too good. I listen to it often. You haven't put in a word on Theepidika - nice remix.

6/24/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Karthik said...

if I like it, I repeat it over and over and over again. Almost as if I am beholding a phenomenon - as if that piece were the anthem, the final word in music.

==> I too do this. Last 3 months it's been IR songs only. (with a rare week out and out for anniyan, kanaa kanden, AA. infact these didn't make a big impression after listening to IR)

and i also see that it is all the same 20-30 songs. currently rasaathi unna kaanaadha nenju, nethu nethu oruthara paarthom. (this one's been on my lips for the past 2 days) previously, aasaya kaatrula from johny, malai kovil vaasalil from veera, valai osai from sathya...

6/24/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post dude

6/24/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Prasen said...

what are you- some lovesick chap jilted by some yuppie dudette? the song is good, but you've dived a few hundred meters into it - if I were you I would demand the singer to stop by and post a comment

6/26/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kaps said...

Although I like the song, I feel that the pronounciation could have been better. Konjam Konjam is being rendered as Konjum Konjum. It is more like Udit Narayan singing in Tamil. YSR has carved a place for himself in the TFM industry.

6/27/2005 01:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In one word - amazing!

6/28/2005 08:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Jupe said...

Don't they long for their hero? Or aren't they creative enough to express their outpourings? Why should they been depicted as haughty? Are only men lovesick?

Hear Hear Hear !!!

...and somehow I seem more stuck on that supposedly sultry number in Arindhum than this particular song that u mention..will chk it out asap...

6/29/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Karthik said...

kaps said: YSR has carved a place for himself in the TFM industry.

June 27, 2005 1:54 PM

and how?? if you haven't visited this site ==> itwofs.com

i was and am a good fan of YSR brand of music but still it sucks when there is a blatant lift.

6/29/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Vijay Krishna said...

Something I noticed about this song after the post... the word avan is never used. Instead it is always ivan. Generally the former is used, but it denotes a distance that exists between the singer and the person being referred to. ivan cuts down that distance, and denotes a nearness, a proximity - which lends weight to the song.

For those who don't understand Tamil, it is difficult to explain, because the English language has no word-equivalents for "he, who is here" and "he, who is there".

I don't know Hindi, but it should be something like is ladka against us ladka

If you understand French, ivan is celui-ci and avan is celui-là

6/30/2005 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Bharat said...

The song sounds quite like Dilko Hazar Baar from Murder. Listened to that one?

7/15/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Tamil guy said...

Does anyone know who the girl is from the theepidika song? the one that dances so amazing?

7/16/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, the singer is Mahua Kamat of VIVA, the group that was put together after a national search, by Channel V. She's the plump one in the group.

7/22/2005 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Vijay Krishna said...

Didn't know that, because I seldom listen to Hindi music. But I think you must be right. Mahua is an Indian name (I didn't know that either), and BabyNamesIndia.com says that it means 'an intoxicating flower'. Kamat, of course, is a popular surname in Karnataka / Maharashtra.

I also checked out profiles of the erstwhile VIVA members. There is also Anoushka, who is possibly the one who sang Thee Pidikka in the same movie.

7/23/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Maheeva Kammat????? In all probability it could be one of the singers from the erstwhile VIVA group, Mahua Kamat. One reason is that Anushka(also part of VIVA) has sung a couple of sings for YSR. In fact in Arindhum Ariyamalum itself she has sung 'Thee pidikka', and also 'ABCD marandhu pochu' in Manmadhan.
If indeed Maheeva is Mahua, then this might be her first song in Tamizh but not her debut song. So I'm not sure if she's eligible for 'Best debutant singer'.

7/26/2005 01:20:00 AM  
Anonymous mahua kamat said...

HI VIJAY KRISHNA....

HEY THATS GREAT TO HEAR ALL THOSE COMPPLIMENTS SO EARLY ON IN MY CAREER AS A SOLO ARTISTE.. I APOLOGISE FOR ALL THE PRONOUNCIATION ERRORS IN THIS SONG..

I AM A SOUTH INDIAN AND I SHOULD HAVE DONT A BETTER JOB PRONUNCIATION WISE I GUESS!!

AND YA.. IT IS ME.. MAHUA KAMAT...FROM THE ERSTWHILE BAND VIVA...AND IT WAS MY FIRST TRY AT TAMIL.. GUESS THE TABLES TURNED THIS TIME ROUND AT THE PRONUNCIATION HUH!! I HAVE SUNG ANOTHER SONG FOR YUVAN FOR A MOVIE CALLED "KALVANIN KAADALI" IF IM NOT MISTAKEN!!
ANYWAYS THANKS ONCE AGAIN FOR ALL THE SUPPOR.. YUVANS ONE OF MY SOUTH FAVORITES AND A FRIEND..WILL MAKE ANEXTRA SPECIAL EFFORT TO IMPROVE MY PRONUNCIATIONS!!
SEE YAWL!!ROCK ON...

8/24/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Praveen said...

Yuvan is an absolutely great and talented music director and hope he does really well in da yearsd to come! Maheeva didn't pronounce properly and her way of singing isn't exactly too great!

1/25/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anon Arumugam said...

I bear testimony to the looping tendency of VK, who all throughout the day kept listening to "Latchavathiye", a year back. Any comp he may find, he was ready with the song. Now I realise it is his ideosyncracy.

1/31/2006 01:23:00 AM  

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