Chennai - 2

9.30am, Tuesday, using his BSNL cell phone Srikanth calls a number
After 5 rings, very polite Lady Voice: Halo
Sriks: “Namskaram, en peru Srikanth, unga Son oda friend I am from Marlyland, I like to meet uncle and give my CD.”
Mami: “Konjam irungo.” [After 30 seconds]
Male Voice: “Halo , …… Here “
Srik: “Namsakaram sir, SRIKANTH from usa, I Like to meet you and give my Audio Cd. “
Voice: “Na vandhu evening 7.00pm aporam free, oru phone panitu vango sir. “
Srik: “sure sir, Romba thanks.”
6.30pm: one more call to the same number.
Srik: “Halo morning phone panene srikanth pesaren.”
Lady voice: “Avar walking poi irukar, neega vango. “

Avar= Sujatha
Very polite Lady Voice: Mrs. Sujatha

Meeting the Genius.

I walked into his house in Mylapore, a smiling Mrs. Sujatha welcomed me, and followed by the “Small” size “Daschund” who did the same by wagging his tail and barking using his XXL size voice.

In the living room couch Mr. Sujatha was seated in his usual posture. He welcomed me a smile. I introduced my self. However he seemed to know about me. His son, Keshava a good friend of mine had already updated him about my visit. He knew about my Thirupavai compositions and other musical ventures. He inquired about my job, and asked few questions about me.

While talking to him, One needs to really concentrate, because he talks about 20 things in about 5 minutes. The information that comes out is really hard for common man to digest. Within 10 minutes he took me around Tamil music, Alwar and Pasuram, Fusion music, Computers, music Studio etc. The words kept flowing and he even quoted Pasurams from Thirumangai Alwar. After this quick coaster ride, I gave him my CDs and told about my projects. I invited him my Studio in Maryland, he told me it would be too cold for him but did not give a Yes or a No. I congratulated him for Anniyan dialogues.

I asked him for guidance on my Thirupavai experimental compositions. For which he gave me various pointers and suggestions. How to strike a balance between [religious] literature and music? This is the million-dollar question. When it comes to music, he told me that lyrics are bound get compromised up to a certain percentage. This cannot be avoided. He quoted Madurai Mani Iyer and splitting of words. The music essence from him was so high in quality most never bothered about the words. The composer has to strike the right balance between displaying his musical skills and maintaining the essence or Sanctity in the lyrics. He gave me a good tip, he told me while working with religious works, it would better to if musical skills are kept to a minimum. He requested me to try and compose Thirumangai Alwar and Periya Alwar pasurams, It seems they display various kinds of emotions that no one has every tried. I asked about the grammar for such type of compositions, he gave me few ideas and slowly the conversation turned towards the Thiruvasagam Oratorio that is to be released in Chennai today.

Mr. Sujatha had already heard the work. He was all praise for the Maestro. He told to me that every Tamil music lover should own one and should gift copies to their friends and relative living around the world. The work done by Ilayaraja is something phenomenal. It seems that, for this project Ilayaraja wrote scores by hand for more than 70 parts. Sujatha compared this achievement of Raja to that of Verdi, Mozart or Beethoven. He talked about a prelude function attended by all the music directors, film directors, Singers and lyric writers. He mentioned to me that A.R. Rahman‘s speech was the highlight of the evening, A.R. Rahman was in all praise for this musical work. Ilayaraja became very emotional while talking about this Oratorio.

Mr. Sujatha felt that few people in crowd did not know the actual value for Ilayaraja. Like every other film music album they still keep saying to him “this album would be a hit”. According to him this is one of the kind music albums that would change the interpretations of Tamil religious literature. And will give a new dimension to music composers. He did not prefer using cine terms for such art.

The CD has the Tamil and translated English verses from Thiruvasagam. The English translation just takes the essence of the verse. Reason being the translator felt this literature was too high in quality to be translated word to word. This is not as elaborate the G.U.Pope’s translation. However the English lines cover most of the points in a nutshell. Mr. Sujatha mentioned that this is not a fusion. According to him there is no clear definition yet for fusion music. What Raja has done is clear western classical music that renders Hindu verses using Oratorio concepts. Mr. Sujatha has already explained concepts of Oratorio in his weekly columns. He will be doing more columns on this in order to common folks to know about it. He says though will be pleasurable to listen to this in your Car, this CD requires a preset calm mood and some basic knowledge in Tamil literature. Once these 2 criteria are met, the album would take you to new listening pleasures. This would also encourage common man to read about Tamil Literature. I took me about 30 minutes to digest all this information.

Recently I had purchased a book on “how to write a screenplay” written by Sujatha; this book got promoted - it is now the official “autographed version”. When the conversation ended he asked me to call him tomorrow. He also quoted that “Ilayaraja is certainly a genius of our times” I walked out from his house thinking! “ A Genius could only spot an another Genius”
I was very happy that I had the great pleasure of talking to the greatest writer of my times.

Ps: I called him yesterday, and he told me to meet him sometime during this week. He liked my music and told me that “I have potpourri of musical ideas” within me and he likes to talk to me in this regard. As of now I am thrilled and in 7th Heaven.