Tamil Features

5 Ilaiyaraaja Songs For Your Metro Ride

The Chennai Metro is finally up and running. After a lot of delay and some really unfortunate accidents, the Metro chugged along from Alandur to Koyambedu yesterday in its maiden run.


Also, it was steered by a woman.

28-year-old Preethi drove the first set of passengers along the 10 km stretch when Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa flagged it off.

And quite in line with our custom, we couldn’t help but think of a few Ilaiyaraaja songs in context. After all, most trains in Kollywood were powered by the Isaignani’s tunes.

And, driven by a woman.

A few of our train favourites for your Metro playlist:

1. Poovarasam Poo: Poovarasam Poo Poothachu from Kizhake Pogum Rail is famous not only for being Radikaa’s debut, but also for the way the song progresses; chugging rhythmically along with the BGM. Not just that, the train unwittingly plays cupid too, delivering messages between Radikaa and Sudhakar.

Bharathiraja’s ideas about romance were always …offbeat.

2. Thaalatu Kekadha – This number from Paattukku Naan Adimai featuring Rekha and Ramarajan is best known for its theme: where two adults when drawn into the song, think about their mothers. A pathos number, with Mano singing for Ramarajan.

And that train horn is the work of an accomplished flautist.

3. Chinna Thayaval: Doesn’t really need an introduction, but who can forget this masterpiece from Thalapathi? S Janaki voices for a grief-stricken mother who abandons her baby; and when those quavering notes begin, Rajinikanth’s name flashes on screen.

4. Manjal Nilavukku Indru Ore Sugam: Starring Sivakumar and Sumithra, this song doesn’t use extensive train visuals. But what we loved about it is the sound – that of a train horn – which was actually sung by a vocal artiste on Ilaiyaraaja’s insistence. Truly rustic. Also, the composer had to maintain the tempo of the song with no digital aid.

5. Poonthalir Aada: SP Balasubrahmanyam and S Janaki breathe life into this romantic number while Shanthi Krishna and Suresh – both making their debut in Tamil cinema with Panneer Pushpangal – lead this highschool romance that blossoms on a railway track.