The songs might sound like the voice of a girl sitting next to you in a bus, or it could sound like you after a bad cold

Sending desire wafting on the breeze to you and other songs of female lust and love
Features Love and lust Friday, January 29, 2016 - 10:01

In the sea of entertainment that is the male gaze of love and lust, Ei Sandakkara is one of the few little islands to which women can go, to find a reflection of their desires.

Most of popular Indian cinema, in all languages tends to be male-centric – in terms of number of male characters, plots, songs, visuals, perspective, you name it.

It’s a debatable point, but one generally doesn’t get to hear much about a woman singing for her male love (we are yet to be truly inclusive and talk about non-hetero male people). We’ve had innumerable songs about how blue eyes (and I’m talking about Karisma Kapoor, not the Yo Yo), ocean-like eyes, fair skin (nothing about dark-skinned people either) and what not.

These are some of the most poetic songs ever written, but women too have longing. Enter Ei Sandakkara (and of course, the occasional song before that in all languages.)

Ei Sandakkara is a song from the Tamil film Irudhi Suttru (Final Round), in which Madhi (played by newcomer Ritika) is a boxer who is being trained by Prabhu Selvaraj (Madhavan) and she begins to like him.

The woman in the song is not shy about telling this man how she loves him and how she wants to love him. The chorus goes like this:

Thedi Kattika Poren


Thaavi Ottika Poren


Thaali Kattika Poren – Aama

It roughly translates to: I’m going to hunt you down, hug you, stick to you, and get you to tie the thaali / I’m going to bump into you, take half of you, the bad stuff though.

Naturally, the translation doesn’t sound half as charming as it does when sung in Tamil. But it is in the opening lines that the song is particularly adventurous and unabashed. It starts with a lazy attitude and a demand:

Eei Sandakkara… Oh you fighter…

Enough with the boxing matches, come let’s have a kissing match.

Throughout, the song reveals a confident woman who openly talks about what she wants. It is only towards the end that she wanders into territory that is somewhat conventional and says that her desires are very innocent.

And this isn’t the only Tamil song of a woman’s wishes and desires. Tamil film history is peppered with such songs.

“Asaiya Kathula Thoodhu Vittu” a song from Rajinikanth-starrer Johnny (1980), is not hung up on convention of any kind. While the imagery in the song is very feminine and literally flowery on occasion, the tone is a soft, but firm: “What are you waiting for, I’m ready”.

The opening lines translate to:

“Sending my desire wafting on the breeze to you

The blooming flower withers in the breeze

The message has been sent, waiting for a response

A song has been sung”

And then,

“Yearning leaps in her throat

Turning into aching need (lust)

Yearning is looking for its mate

Lust looks for its partner on the stage (again a reference to a flower garden)

The female deer (doe) bounds in the meadow

Looking for signs of you, her mate

Like the breeze wafting into the fragrant paalampoovu

Yearning is turning into aching need (lust)

And becoming intoxicating

And the flower is withering as we waste time in speech!”

These lines may be indirect, but their meaning is clear.

While the voice of the singer here is more the conventional type – a standard in cinemas across languages in the 1970s, 1980s and up to the 1990s – the voice of the singer of Ei Sandakkara has a very different quality. It could be the voice of a girl sitting next to you in a bus, or it could be you, bursting into a song on a day you spotted an attractive guy or met an interesting man.

The two songs are also a study in the passage of time, both in terms of the voices of the singers and also their imagery. There is a liberating sense of abandon in singer Dhee’s voice and in the jazzy composition of the song, while there is intensity in Asaiya Kathula.

Incidentally, a song from another Madhavan-starrer became very popular for its haunting melody. Also remade in Hindi as “Zara Zara” (in the Hindi Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein) from the Tamil original Vaseegara from the film Minnale, the Tamil song “Vaseeegara” is a lyrical set of instructions on how a woman wants her lover to make love to her. The song’s enchantment also has a lot to do with the singer: Carnatic singer Bombay Jayashree.

While all these songs still represent some kind of conventional sexual or romantic desire, Theepidikka which was released a decade ago and acquired cult status among Tamil music lovers, could be one of the rare songs which defies sexual conservatism in the Indian film industry.

Sung for the 2005 Tamil film Arinthum Ariyamulam, the song whose first line goes Theepidika Theepidika Muttham Kodu Da (Kiss me until I catch fire) has a reference to BDSM. One line in the song hints at flagellation.

With the steadily growing number of such songs, we might soon have equal space in our music collection for people of all genders (or non-gender), sexuality and their desires.

Image: Screengrabs from

Ei Sandakara, Irudhi Suttru/ Youtube
Vaseegara, Minnale/ Youtube
Theepidikka Theepidikka, Arindhum Ariyamalum/Youtube
Asiaya Kathula, Johnny/Youtube

 

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