Song: Chotta Chotta from Taj Mahal
Singer – Sujatha Mohan
Composer – A R Rahman
Lyricist – Vairamuthu
Starring – Riya Sen, Manoj Bharathiraja
A case of love-at-first-sight takes Machakanni (Riya Sen) to the rainy countryside. As she dances along to A R Rahman’s beats, her lover (Manoj Bharathiraja) joins her.
Taj Mahal marked the debuts of Manoj Bharathiraja and Riya Sen. The duo played Maayan and Machakkanni respectively – lovers torn apart by enmity between their villages. The screenplay of the film that feels at times like a modern-day adaptation of Romeo Juliet, was written by Mani Ratnam. Though the original version was set in the city, it was decided later that a village setting would do better.
The film was initially pitted against Hey Ram!, Kandukonden Kandukonden and Mani Ratnam’s Alaipayuthey at the box office. But the delay of the three films meant that Taj Mahal had some leeway to become a success. But it failed. Manoj’s career failed to take off despite the high-profile introduction and he had a short acting career, making films such as Pallavan and Kadal Pookkal. Manoj is now attempting to make a sequel to his father’s cult film Sigappu Rojakkal 2.
Chotta Chotta has two versions. The male version was sung by Srinivas, but the singer’s timid take on the song did it little justice. In contrast, Sujatha’s enthusiastic approach to the spirit of the song made it more listenable altogether. The lyrics by Vairamuthu, were a raw and intense mix of passion and lust. A sample:
Unakkaaga uyir pooththu nindraen
Unakkaaga kannikaaththu nindraen
Innum naanum sirumidhaanA D V E R T I S E M E N T
Eppoadhennai penn seyguvaay
A beautiful flute segment accompanies the singer throughout the track, ending just as ARR introduces some heavy percussion. The music director composed ten songs for the film, supposedly causing a bidding war among the audio companies then. Taj Mahal’s songs were a hit with the masses, in direct contrast to the film itself.