Many Tamil songs, particularly from the 1960s to 80s, compared the beauty of nature, its flowers and birds to a lover. Lyricists and poets like Kannadasan and Gangai Amaran often used the chittu kuruvi as a metaphor, associating romance with the gentleness of the bird. These were memorable songs set in the backdrop of mountains and fields, featuring stars who sang to and about kuruvis.
March 20 is World Sparrow Day, designated to raise awareness about the threat to sparrows and other common birds in urban environments today. The number of sparrows in cities and towns have drastically reduced in the last few years. Research shows that this is because of changing agricultural patters and lack of spaces for them to build nests.
To mark this day, here’s a listicle of Tamil songs about chittu kuruvis:
‘Chittu Kuruvi Mutham Koduthu’, Puthiya Paravai
This classic song from Puthiya Paravai (1964) first comes to mind while thinking of Sivaji Ganesan’s songs – and chittu kuruvi. Composed by MS Viswanathan and TK Ramamoorthy, ‘Chittu Kuruvi‘ has lyrics by Kannadasan. Sung by P Susheela, it compares love to the many aspects of nature.
The story of the film revolves around a businessman who falls in love with Latha (Saroja Devi) but is haunted by the death of his wife, played by Sowcar Janaki. This movie was Sivaji Ganesan’s first production venture.
‘Yeh Kuruvi’, Muthal Mariyathai
While lazing in his house when his wife is away, Sivaji Ganesan calls out to the chittu kuruvis to come and build a home in his verandah, and sing with him. His lover Kuyil (Radha) overhears this and teases him by hiding outside and singing along. Composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the song begins with a flute portion and creates a light, playful mood between the two of them. The lyrics is by Vairamuthu, and Malaysia Vasudevan and S Janaki have sung the song.
Muthal Mariyathai (1985) was directed by Bharathiraja, and featured Vadivukkarasi, Ranjani, Aruna Mucherla, AK Veerasamy and Sathyaraj in other roles.
‘Chittu Kuruvi’, Chinna Veedu
This song from the 1985 film Chinna Veedu features Bhagyraj and Anu, who is the woman of his dreams in the film. He imagines them flying through the city in bed making love, and their shyness is compared to a chittu kuruvi. This was also a classic song for its special effects and the ease in cuts. Composed by Ilaiyaraaja, the song was rendered by SP Balasubrahmanyam and S Janaki, with lyrics by Vairamuthu.
The film was written and directed by Bhagyaraj. It was also cinematographer BR Vijayalakshmi’s first film, before she worked on Pattu Pavadai, Vasantham Colony and more.
‘Chittan Chittan Kuruvi’, Puthu Nellu Puthu Nathu
This lovely Ilaiyaraaja composition from Puthu Nellu Puthu Nathu stars Napoleon or Kumaresan Duraisamy and Sukanya, who lovingly call each other chittan kuruvis in this song. It is set during Pongal, when the two of them celebrate the festival with others in the village.
Puthu Nellu Puthu Nathu is also by director Bharathiraja. This song is rendered by Mano and S Janaki, with lyrics by Gangai Amaran.
‘Chittu Kuruvikenna’, Savaale Samali
The chittu kuruvi is a free bird in this song about the vastness of nature. The lyrics speak of sunlight, land and water as the creators of all of us. Surrounded by trees and ponds, Jayalalithaa dances in a celebratory mood, humming through parts of the song. This is from the 1971 Sivaji Ganesan film Savaale Samali. Music was by MS Viswanathan, and lyrics by Kannadasan.
The was Sivaji Ganesan’s 150th film. The movie gave us classic songs, which also contributed to the film’s success. It was remade in Telugu, Malyalam, Kannada and Hindi.
‘Sittu Kuruvi Sittu Kuruvi Sethi Theriyuma’, Town Bus
This song from the 1955 film Town Bus, features Anjali Devi singing to the chittu kuruvis in her house. She sings to the birds that she has made the bed, boiled the milk and is waiting for her husband. KV Mahadevan composed the song to Ka Mu Sheriff’s lyrics. It was rendered by MS Rajeswari.
Anjali Devi as Amutha played a bus conductor in this film set in Kovai. It was directed by K Somu and starred NN Kannapa as the other lead.
Image courtesy: India.com