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They were reoccurring at every phase of my schooling, from 1st standard to 12th standard. Initially there were in with a few paras with a direct narrative type and then went on to occur in multiple paras with complex views. At first, they appeared in Kannada, then it was English, Hindi and finally lots of them in Sanskrit. Some were about happiness & sadness, few were on nature & love but many were on life and death. Teachers tried their best to elucidate them, explain them with a context, sometimes with their own experience with life. Unfortunately I, for most of the time, failed to fully appreciate their true meaning.
Always under the pressure to remember than to understand, schooling was driven by peer’s action than one’s choice. This eventually meant no time whatsoever to introspect on the poems we were learning. Sadly this also meant a lost opportunity in appreciating others perspectives and learning from them.
However as it always goes, when one gets out of the schooling phase and hits the early stage of the roller-coaster called life, time seems to be in abundance sometimes. With that I’ve had the good fortune of getting into the habit of watching so called parallel films, mainly inspired by the experience of Bangalore International Film Festival. There have been few regional movies which hits the grade of being parallel movies. Yet they follow the signature style of Indian movie style of film making by having songs, action and dance.
In the midst of watching these movies, I came across few songs. They were not the typical ones which we find in mainstream movies. Their lyrics were of the old poems. Some were ancient, some were from yesteryear. Yet when I heard them, lot of things made sense. When I repeatedly listened to them, I enjoyed being part of the narration & was able to appreciate the poets message.
It makes me wish I could go through all the poems I studied once again, listen to them again from my teachers and live the dream again.
Here are two Kannada songs I’ve heard recently and has lyrics made up of poems which are quiet old.
First one is from the movie “A“. A brilliant story-in-a-story type film written and directed by Upendra. Despite being way ahead of it times it became a cult classic. It has a song where character takes a step back in life and describes how he wants his life to be. This lyrics are from G.P.Rajarathnam and is part of his famous Ratnan Padagalu. It goes by the title ಹೇಳ್ಕೊಳ್ಳಕ್ ಒಂದ್ ಊರು / Helkollak ondooru (A city for namesake). The poet narrates life as it is seen through the perspectives of a person (by name “Ratna”). The song is brought to life by the soulful voice of L.N.Shastry and music by Gurukiran.
A classical style of singing.
The second one is “Lucia“, a contemporary film written and directed by Pawan Kumar. Its got a non-linear style of narration and has the main background song composed by using the lyrics written byKanaka dasa.
The poem snippet with the english translation.
Those were the days when MTV was a craze, very few channels were in true color, millennium was round the corner and I had hit my teens. It was Venga Boys who were the first ones to draw my attention towards the techno music. Whenever their songs played, there was a sense of energy and enthusiasm around the place.
Heard this song again after many years at the Sylvester celebrations at the Brandenburg Tor in Berlin and suddenly a lot of memories flowed in trance. As I revisited it today on YouTube, I was surprised to know that this was a remix of an original song called “Barbados” sung by Typically Tropical in 1975. Nevertheless the Venga Boys had done a great job in bringing in an element of Ibiza into the Caribbean flavor.
Here’s the original and the remixed versions!
Readers Digest joke
Flash based animation work
CREDITS : Alan Becker