maestro's world

Maestro Ilaiyaraaja is the greatest composer and musical genius I have ever seen. He is the only gifted musician who breathes music as his life. He is one of the biggest influence in my life. This blog is to focus on my memories and experience with his timeless music.

Sri Rama Rajyam – Sita Returns to her Mother …Forever August 12, 2013

Filed under: Sri Rama Rajyam — maestroworld @ 4:28 am

We have come almost to the end of the film. This episode is one of the most important one in Uttara Kandam and the most heart wrenching of all episodes.

Rama fondly calls Sita, but she walks away having decided that she not going to reunite with Rama. Rama is saddened by her gesture. Meanwhile Lakshmana (regains consciousness with the help of Sage Vaalmiki), Vaalmiki and Hanuman approach Sita. Sita thanks Vaalmiki as having taken care her when she came to the Ashram in a sorrowful situation (by performing bangle ceremony, taking care of her delivery, did punyavachanam and looked after her kids) and calls him as her father. She further adds that, only because of him she was able to complete her duty on earth and mentions that she completed her mission on earth. Maestro who was rightly pausing the music till now as he rightly assumes that the emotions brought out by the dialogues are enough for the audience to be captivated and tied, but just when she bows after her tearful address to Valmiki, Maestro starts with a deeply haunting single clarinet (along with bass clarinet) to enhance the underlying pathos in the whole scene (@0:30). Normally a solo violin would be preferred to this kind of situation, but hear how clarinet does the job effectively, only because it is conceived by Maestro.

Lakshmana intervenes that her duty is not yet over. He requests her to adorn the Ayodhya kingdom as the Queen and also wishes to unite with Rama again. Sita refuses to accept Lakshmana’s wishes saying that the life she lived is enough for her. Being born to Goddess of Earth and entered Raghuvamsa dynasty, her life is completed without bringing any dishonesty to both her parents and in-laws, and her life is enriched after she handed over the scions. The following words would shock every one. Sita says, ‘I am taking leave now’. Vaalmiki, Rama, Lakshmana, kids are all in tears. Are we not? Meanwhile Maestro without disturbing us, slowly adds cellos and violins to the clarinet. Please hear the dialogues again by Sita along with the score (0:30-1:20), it would sound like a song, just because of the purity in the language, the short stop passages between the dialogues and the dynamics by which Sita expresses the dialogues. Maestro understanding this thoroughly composed a 1 minute song. This reminds me of the film Guna where Kamal expresses the line ‘kaNmani anbOdu’ colloquially but S Janaki sings the verses. Same way, could not believe what I am hearing!

As Sita walks away, Vaalmiki cries, a very rare moment for a Sage. Hanuman in the disguise of a young kid stops Sita, adoring the monkey face for her to recognize him and indirectly telling Sita that he was the one who was with Sita and her kids all the time at the Ashram. Sita surprised by his gesture wishes and blesses him; ‘Lava-kusaluku Rama Rajayam, Hanumaku Rama Bhakthi Saamrajyam’. As she takes a last glance at Lava-Kusa she utters ‘LOka samastha sukhinO bhavanthu’ (Let the world be happy). Maestro having taken a short pause (from 1:20-1:22) allowing for the time for Sita to walk away, he plays totally tangential chords for the mood to grip in immediately among the audience (1:23-2:15). Flute, oboe, bassoon with soaring violins creates a depressing atmosphere. As she caresses Hanuman’s face (@1:46), Maestro plays a melody in bassoon (I think) which is joined and repeated by other wind instruments finishing by a group of violins and dying flute (as she takes a last glance of her sons and wishes them). The way Maestro finishes the score with that flute is one of the most amazing thought ever. The dying flute is her soul which she transports to her sons before leaving. Maestro indirectly conveying that no one in the world ever wants to miss Sita who is the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the fortune God. Since she is about leave the world, a kind of sorcery spells around every one there. As I keeping hearing this piece again and again (1:23-2:15), it literally takes me to that period and atmosphere. Maestro, The greatest mood creator and a great music magician!

Now Sita calls her mother Bhooma Devi to accept her. There is another reason why Maestro finishes the last piece of music with flute. As the flute ends, we hear the sound of wind and storm. The flute acts as a lead to the wind sound (which is an extension to it). If he would have finished with other instrument, the continuity would have suffered. See how the flute dissolves into the sound of wind. See the brilliance of Maestro and how he thinks all this correlation in a fraction of a second. No music for next minute except for the sound effects of wind, storm and thunder (2:16-3:08). Sita fondly calls her mother saying that she was not ready to join her the last time when she angrily invited her, as she had pending duties to complete. This time, by her body, mind and heart she has completed all her duties and ready to join her happily. The next line is earth shattering. ‘If I am the innocent wife to my beloved husband Sri Rama, please take me to your lap’.

Next two minutes will be a pulsating experience (3:09-5:09). Please don’t miss the visual extravaganza, superbly done by director with the help of CGI. Just when the earth opens, Maestro starts his orchestra with grand violins/cellos with male choir (for the first time) followed by female choir providing a harmony like never before. Temple bell sounds ring to announce Gods that Sita is embracing her mother forever. Just when Rama’s face shows up on the screen, Maestro plays a solo violin (3:49-4:10), (denoting Rama will be alone without her) with cellos acting as a counterpoint (denoting Rama and Sita are separated), but the way they sound harmonious together only denotes that they separate temporarily only to reunite together in heaven (Vaikuntam). Sita bids good bye to Rama as she rests on her mother’s shoulders. One of the most painful moments in the film. Maestro’s motifs are just unimaginable. The way he narrates the story exclusively through music is par excellence. Severely a heart-wrenching piece of music.

It’s not over yet. Maestro takes a final plunge. See how the violins and cellos transforms themselves to play the next section (4:11-4:26). From the melody we can hear there is some physical movement (just like the waves coming one after one). The reason being Bhooma Devi takes Sita in her throne and the throne glides down smoothly. Violins and cellos reflecting that movement in a very special way. I don’t think any one else can bring that movement so effectively in music like the way Maestro does. The beauty here is the precision in which Maestro moves from one piece of music to another in accordance with the visuals. As the violins straighten up for a finish (4:27-4:34) and the earth starts closing up, Rama (who was observing all this) could not believe his eyes, moves towards Sita calling her to come back. Male choir comes in again (@4:35) with trumpets surging (@4:39 & 4:44) followed by followed by female choir (@4:46) with trumpets surging for the last time (@4:49), as Lava-Kusa also cries for their mother and Hanuman holding them back. The reason for bringing trumpet phrases is to show that the last glow of light before it dies will be so bright. Sita was shining so bright just before plunging into the earth. The reason for bringing choir is to denote that the angels witnessing the last moments wishing everything well. Hear how the music gradually stops in sync with the sound effects as the earth completely closes and folds itself. Rama could not control himself, but Valmiki consoles Rama that he should stay calm as he is the savior of the world.

It will take time for us to get over this episode as Sita joins her mother forever, thereby ending her reincarnation. As the visuals continue to haunt us, the music will haunt us forever. I am so puzzled by the amount of precision with which Maestro has scored for this episode. The transformation of music from one phase to another accurately synchronized with the visuals is no mean an ordinary achievement. On top of it sustaining the mood throughout which is the most difficult task made easy with Maestro. The way he incorporates so many technical details like counterpoint, harmony etc. blending with the story, visuals and the dialogues thereby presenting endless motifs for us to identify makes him the only composer mastering the art so well.


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