In the last post, the first part on the raga nalinakAnthI, we had seen about the scale and basic handling of the raga, how it is close and different to a sister raga kedAram and how it is a beaauoootiful raga. Now as in this post, we will see about some of the compositions made in this raga, how its similar and not so to the hindustani raag Thilak khamod.
Thilak Khamod and Nalinakanthi
First we will see about these two ragas. Here are two versions of Thilak Khamod.
The first is by Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe.
This one is on the Sarod by Sri. Wajahad Khan.
One can note the following about Tilak Khamod. It is a beautiful raga. It is also a (kind of) happy raga (to me though it creates a sense of longing too). In portions, it sounds similar to nalinakAthi. For comparison, listen to the naLinakAnthI played by MSG little down the (article look for **)
So if you had a keen ear, you would have noticed that there are portions of thilak khamod that are not at all like nalinakAnthI. Of course, I do understand that equivalent does not mean equal. But in my humble opinion, thilak khamod sounds more like the raga Desh.
The presence of the swara ‘da’ D2 in large dosage along with the appearance of N2 in thilak khamod makes me think so.
Compositions in NalinakanthI
Now we will see nalinakAnthi from the point of view of the compositions based on it.
Manavinaalakimchara – NalinakAnthI – Adi tala(8 beat cycle) – Sri Thyagaraja Swamy
The first composition that we see is none other than Sri Thyagaraja Swamy’s manavinaalakimchara. Easily one of the most popular kriti of the saint composer, he appeals to his mind to understand Lord Rama.
This is Smt. MS Subbulakshmi rendering the song.
This is Sri. MSG rendering on the violin in typical MSG ‘ishtyle’ (**)
Ok, its been given that ‘Manavyalakinca’ is wrong and Manavinaalakinca is correct. So point noted, excuse my lack of telugu knowledge among other things.
Well, in that song, Thyagaraja swamy addresses his mind as a manifestation that is separate from himself asking it to understand him who knows the secrets of Lord Rama. He further goes to say how a human being must lead life like the Lord Rama did in his human form.
The choice of naLinakAnthI for this song seems to be in line with my idea that this raga indeed has an inherent feel of longing (raga nalinakAnthI) .
The next song is my favorite varnam of Sri LGJ.
NeEvé gatIyanI – naLinakAnthI – Adi – Varnam – Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman
Here is the master’s own rendition of the varnam.
Its such a beautiful and happy ‘varnam’. Some of the most beautiful portions of this recording (that I love) are described below.
>> The swarams starting 1.08 onwards is total bliss. When singing this, Smt Visakha Hari, during LGJ’s 80th birthday celebrations, gave a super analogy which I am giving here. Listen from 1.15 to 1.26. It sounds like how a host in a marriage (in India) invites the guests who arrive. First he sees a close friend coming into the hall. He goes to him and says warmly ‘welcome’ which is like the first part of the swaras;
S G3 R2 M1 G3 R2 S N.3 P. N.3 S G3 ;
Then other close friends come, and he runs to them and welcomes
R2 M1 P S’ N3 P M1 G3 R2 S G3 R2 M1 ;
Soon all the guest pour in and it goes..
N3 P P M1 M1 G3 G3 R2 S G3 R2 M1 P ;
so the host runs pillar to post trying to welcome everyone…
M1 G3 R2 M1 … N3 P M1 P … S N3 P N3 R2 …. S N3 P1 M1 G3 R2 S N.3
That was excellent, wasn’t it? The complete swara (above 4 combined) is played below.
>> The beautiful styles with which LGJ plays the charanam (2.15 – 2.45 and then on); ‘mArakOtI rUpa Sundara’ with the mA of mArakOtI and pa of rUpa being swara-poruthham (refer to Ranjani article , Sada saranga nayane of MSS).
>> The swaram starting from (3.34 – 3.46) is played without the Sa throughout and still it sounds so balanced and fantabulous!! The swarams are as follows.. (Sa = S, R = R2, G = G3, M = M1, Pa = P, N = N3)
N P N – M P N
-M N P N -R M P N -R N P M P
-R P -M N -P R’ -N G’ R’
-M’ G’ R’ N P M G R
-G’ R’ N P M G R
-R’ N P M G R
-N. P. M G R -N P M’ G’ R’ -N P M G R
I have given it the way the swaras are played. The entire swara is like a cascade of waterfall. The intricate rhythm patterns are made to sound easy by the adroit choice of swaras. When I had the chance to play this to LGJ, he was happy and actually said his favorite part of this varnam was this swara!!! My fav part of this swara is the ending on how cleverly he uses the octaves to play the same N P M G R. Simbbllyy Sooper!!
Some other beautiful classical compositions include the NeE pAdamE gatI by GNB (here is a recording of Mandolin Srinivas), Nata jana pAlinI by Tanjore Sankara Iyer (here is a recording of Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan)
Cinematic compositions in Nalinakanthi
When one has to talk about naLinakAnthI in cine music, the first song Must be endan nenjil neengAdha from the movie Kalaingan composed by the maestro Ilayaraja. The song was sung by Sri Yesudas and Smt S Janaki. It is a super-hit song
The song is a beautiful nalinakAnthI and this was (to my knowledge) the only nice song from that film. The other songs were only so-so .
Deva’s manam virumbuthe seems also to be nalinakanthi and its also quite a popular number.
It is a totally different matter that Deva has based the song very similar to the Thyagaraja Swamy’s manavinaalakinchara and ripped off the interludes and most of the accompanying parts from Sri L Subramaniam’s album Motherland and just changed the swaras little here and there (to change the raga from a jOg to naLinakAnthI), added a sarangi here and there. But still its a very enjoyable number .
One would have heard the above Motherland piece in the old Doordarshan Surabhi, for which the piece was used.
Other instances of nalinakanthi feature in ARR’s song Kandukonden kandukonden from the movie of the same name though its not nalinakanthi all throughout.
Do drop me a message if you come across other songs based on this raga so that I can include it here.
1. For Laughs : Nalinakanthi Kuthu song by Thenga pals
2. A sequel to my Beauty of Nalinakanthi here in soundcloud
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