Song – Thathom Thalangu from Vetri Vizha
Singers – SP Balasubrahmanyam, S Janaki
Composer – Ilaiyaraaja
Lyricist – Vaali
Starring – Kamal Haasan, Disco Shanthi
In an attempt to recover his memories, Vetri (Kamal Haasan) meets a Nightclub singer (Disco Shanthi). Amnesiac Vetri then goes on to perform a song and dance routine for those present, courtesy choreographer Sundaram Master.
The Film:Vetri Vizha, directed by Prathap Pothen was heavily inspired by Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. Two heroines, in separate timelines – Amala and Sasikala – vied for the affections of Kamal Haasan’s Vetri in the film. While one dies, the other gets to live happily ever after with a gun toting, IPS officer husband. Actors Prabhu and Khushbu played wedding singers caught in a dangerous game, while veteran actress Sowcar Janaki had a guest appearance in the film.
The Song: Known for its use of techno rock, the song is reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal for its fast paced beats and its nightclub setting. Thathom Thalangu uses just five swaras: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, and Ni and is rendered in high octave almost throughout the song. The raga used here is Mrigakshi (doe-eyed one in translation), rarely used in Tamil film music. Ilaiyaraaja uses modern orchestration throughout the song – the bass guitar, and synthesizer infused beats, make for a fast-paced dance number. An interesting contrast for its classical music inspired song structure.
The song appears an hour into the movie. S Janaki begins the track with her high voice complementing the razor sharp music made by the guitar and the synth. SPB joins her, and it becomes a frenzied duet. Ilaiyaraaja uses pulsating beats and melody steeped notes to bring out a number that’s high on a cocktail of hormones. Kamal’s pelvic thrusts make the song’s inherent eroticism all the more obvious.