When eyes becomes strawberries!

Strawberry kanne…goes the popular song from Minsara Kanavu (Sapnay in Hindi)…a fine example of the brand of lyrics from Vairamuthu, the popular tollywood lyricist. Could eyes be like strawberries? Were they red or were they semi-conical? Surely Kajol’s eyes don’t look like that. Vairamuthu signifies the way Tamil song lyrics are going these days. A dash of English, some Punjabi or hip hop tune some tamilian dhol wonder and there is your average Tamil hit song. But the best part are the lyrics. Sample this…Sachin adicha Sixer thaan, Sivaji adicha puncture thaan (from Sivaji The Boss). Meaning if Sachin hits, its definitely a sixer and if Sivaji hits you, your muscles shall be punctured. Could there be a better simile? Then there is TR and his son Simbu. In a recent movie Simbu sings much to the delight of crazy fans Kangal mudi eeravu thoongum pothu, enn bedroom fanum kezhavanthu enna ezhuputhe, unna neeniaka solluthe! …” (When I close my eyes in the night, even my bedroom fan stoops down to wake me up and make me think of them) Talk about being crazy in love.

50 kg Tajmahal Vairamuthu calls Aishwarya Rai. And in Annian the line goes…Rambaigal heartile ringtone Remo (Remo is the ringtone of the nyphm’s heart…huh?) And the heroine talks about the perils of her own beauty by singing ‘May matham 98il major aanene major ana nalai naanum bejaaraanene'(I turned 18 in May 98 and that was when my troubles began). Who can forget ‘Telephone manipole siripawal ivala’ (Is she the one who laughs like a telephone?) Tring, tring is that the sound. I would like to meet a guy who would love a girlfriend who laughs like that. And Vaali says in Boys ‘Girlsa chewing gum aakathey heartile kudisai podathey’ (don’t treat girls like a chewing gum don’t put up a cottage in my heart). Talk about women’s lib. And the song Oh maria goes Kadallukku fishing nettu kadhalukku internet (for the sea there is a fishing net, for love there is the internet). Praoffound I say. But my favourite goes ‘Coca Cola brown colour da en akka ponnum athe colour da’ (Coca Cola is brown in colour, my sister’s daughter{i.e. fiance} is also the same colour). Who wants fair and lovely?

The point is Tollywood lyrics are not about poetry anymore. Its about getting a rhyme by hook or by crook. And alliteration and atrocious similes are the only way out. By writing such lyrics and composing such songs, Tollywood music fraternity thinks that they are getting to the level of rap and hip hop artists. Sadly, they are just ruining the language and accomplishing nothing else. What saves the day sometimes is the instrumentation in most of these songs; which are generally folkish tunes set to western beats – a combination that appeals across classes. And we cannot expect songs that take the story further (remember Paartha Nyabakam Illayo from Puthiya Paravai). The songs are generally far removed from the movie, shot in exotic locales or elaborate sets a la the latest hit Sivaji. What has remained over the years is the boastful quality of songs of superstars. Be it Naan Anai Ittal for MGR or Sega fighta Sivaji righta for Rajnikant. Long live Tamil machismo. Long live Tanglish, after all, that’s the only language that remains to save the great Dravidian pride.