Song: Merke Merke from Kanda Naal Mudhal
Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Sadhana Sargam
Composer: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Starring: Prasanna, Laila
The Setting: Prasanna and Laila take their fledgling romance abroad as Yuvan Shankar Raja provides the music.
The Film: Kanda Naal Mudhal was a romantic comedy and a refreshing one at that. Directed by Priya, the film followed Ramya and Krishna, a pair of twenty-year-olds at odds with each other. Their childhood enmity transforms into full-blown war when Krishna’s friend decides to wed Ramya. This goes on until a family emergency changes everything.
For a movie made and released in the early nineties, Kanda Naal Mudhal was quite progressive. There was Devadarshini as the unmarried sister of Krishna, who didn’t believe in marriage, even though she was a self-confessed Mills and Boon romantic. And also, Latha (sister of Ramya, played by a very young Regina Cassandra) who has a baby with her college-age boyfriend and only then decides to get married. These details would never have made it through the CBFC today, and would have caused much protest from the ‘moral police’.
If nothing else, Kanda Naal Mudhal is a reminder of the less offense prone, more relaxed atmosphere of the film industry before the moral police took over.
A languorous jazz number, Merke Merke was an exploration of love and lust, made beautiful by P C Sreeram’s camerawork. Thamarai’s lyrics perfectly captured the yearning between the leads and also had this vein of gentle humour running through it: a complex combination that the poet drove home with so well. Heres’s a sample:
Ini kavidhaiyil kaigal nanainthidumo
Kaattre siragaai virinthidumo
Nilavin mudhugai theendum vegamo
Ada thevaigal ilai endraalum
Vaai udhavigal kettu mantraadum
Maatten ena nee sonnaal thaangumo
It is hard to imagine anybody but Sadhana Sargam singing this song. While Shankar Mahadevan sings every other line in the track, it is Ms. Sargam who keeps it steady, infusing the lines with just enough emotion to reel the listener in. A study in contrasts, the song is best listened to on dark, stormy nights or on a beach in Pattaya.