‘New White Rain’, ‘Malare Maunama’… – Raga Deva called ‘Darbari Kanada’!

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The movie ‘Theivam’ was released in Karaikal Shanthi Theatre. All the street girls of our area flocked to the ‘second show’ with their children. The town was talking about the song ‘Marudamalai Mamaniye Murugaiya’ featured in it. I saw that movie too. As a child, I did not know the name of the raga from which the song was based.

When I watched ‘Ilamaik Kalagal’ at Karaikal Diamond Theater with the ecstasy of youth, the song ‘Isai Medayil Inpa Vayil Sukha Ragam Pozhiyum’ which was featured in it, did something to me. In the stanza of the song, ‘Nenjukulle fire even though mane is everywhere flower spring. Feelings of oxytocin swirled in the lines of “Katik cane will be juiced when you touch it”! I don’t even know what raga that song is!

Life given by Ilayaraja

I spoke to film analyst Tesla Ganesh about this raga and how Ilayaraja has handled it differently in his songs.

As far as Darbari Kannada raga is concerned, it was used monophonically till the time of KV Mahadevan. MS Viswanathan started on a small scale the next form of the monophonic and polyphonic system, the harmonic system.

Examples of Ilayaraja’s musical prowess in Darbari Kannada include the songs ‘Kalyanath Then Nila’, ‘Aagaya Vennilave’, ‘Mannava Mannava Mannadi Mannan Allava’ and ‘Unakup Pudda Song Atu Nadumum Pidhume’ which came out later.

Journey of Darbari

Darbari Kannada Ragam Kolocha started in Tamil cinema from the song ‘Mohananga Vadani’ sung by PU Chinnappa in the movie ‘Manonmani’ released in 1942. Successively composers like G. Ramanathan, KV Mahadevan, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy, Ilayaraja, Deva, Vidyasagar, AR Rahman, GV Prakash have handled Darbari Kannada with varying beauty.

Some of the prominent Darbari Kannada raga songs are: ‘Mullai Malar Maele’ (Uttama Putran), ‘Chinnaj Small Color Bird’ (Kumkum), ‘Indapachik Klikkoru’ (Bow to Justice), ‘Bhoomalai Vangi Vandaan’ (Sindu Bhairavi), ‘Putu White Rain’ (Roja), ‘The Wind Came to My Door’ (Rhythm), ‘Southwest Monsoon’ (Karuthamma), ‘A Flower Given by a Goddess’ (If Kissed on the Cheek), ‘Flower is Silence’ (Karnan), ‘You are the Wind and I am the Tree’. (Come to the moon).

It is a ragam with a charming beauty. It attracts everyone in the moments of listening and is easily remembered. It is considered to be the most popular raga in the world because of its instant euphoria on the nerves. Listen to these songs once again. Darbari Kanada, the raga deva will charm your heart and give you bliss.

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