Dhrogam Dhrogam-A letter about legacy (NA.Muthukumar)

Dhrogam Dhrogam

Dear Kanna,

I received your letter late this evening. Hope your online classes are going well! Did they inform you about your fourth semester? I’m looking forward to listen to those stories. Kanna, you seem to be more interested in listening stories from me. I am happy about that. Looks like you have a keen interest in observing caller tunes. But never forgotthose were from songs. When I received your letter, I was overwhelmed to read about your interest in my caller tune. Those questions made me recollect the memories which I have with Muthukumar.

“Maram illaa oorula mazhai enga peiyithu

Kolathula thaan ippo cricketu nadakuthu”

“மரம் இல்லா ஊருல மழை எங்க பெய்யுது

குளத்துல தான்  இப்போகிரிக் கெட்டு நடக்குது”

I don’t know why you asked me about this song. This is actually true. The land which was planted fully with trees has now transformed into buildings. This song is from the movie Thambi, released during 2006. The song starts like this, “Ennamma devi jakkamma ulagam thalai keezhaa thonguthu nyayamaa?” (“என்னம்மா தேவிஜக்கம்மா உலகம் தலைகீழா தொங்குது நியாயமா”). 

This means that the world is not the same. Also, the song conveys a lot of information in which the lyricist talks about the changes happening around the world especially to young people and adults.

Na. Muthukumar has written songs in different genres. Most of his lines sound poetic. They have a message and strong meaning in it. In Tamil, எதுகை மோனை (Ethugai Monai) probably known as Rhyming Scheme is one among the important poetic devices used in a poem. He had used them very well in his lyrics. They give us a tune while reading the lyrics without singing them as a song.

“Did he differentiate himself from other writers?”

Yes, he was indeed different from other lyricists. His themes were different and his lyrics have a separate fan base.

Unconditional love in the familial relationship

 Unconditional love blooms between children and their parents. Scenes explaining those emotions between them are more than just the songs alone in Tamil cinema. Muthukumar has tried his hands-on in these emotions. Those songs never failed to melt the hearts of both. Some of those songs reflect the bond between a father and his son or a father and his daughter are very famous. Songs like “Deivangal ellam thottrae pogum” (“தெய்வங்கள் எல்லாம் தோற்றே போகும்”) from Kedi Billa and Keladi Ranga, “Aanandha yazhai meetugiraai” (“ஆனந்தயாழை மீட்டுகிறாய்”) from Thangameengal, “Aariroa arariro idhuthan thaiyin thaalaatu” (“அரிரோ அரிரோ இது தந்தையின் தாலாட்டு)” from Deiva Thirumagan are examples of it! Such emotions were unexplored by various writers but Muthukumar did it tremendously by even not ignoring the minute details of them. The love expressed in those lines often melts the heart of a father who stays away from his daughter due to work. Especially in “ஆனந்தயாழை மீட்டுகிறாய்” song, there is a line, “Iru nenjam inaindhu pesida ulagil Baashaigal edhuvum thevayillai” (“இரு நெஞ்சம் இணைந்து பேசிட உலகில் பாஷைகள் எதுவும் தேவையில்லை”) and that’s true. If we ask a girl child, about who narrated her stories before sleeping; she would tell “APPA” even though if he hasn’t done it. The girl baby will surely show abundant love towards her father.

“I am fond of Nenjodu Kalanthidu. It discusses different human beings in society. Is there is any song discussing the philosophy of human life?”

There are a lot of songs discussing the philosophy of human life. Muthukumar brought all hard-hitting truth in his verse.


   Na. Muthukumar included his haikus in the songs. The majority of Muthukumar’s songs have philosophical lines in them. Sometimes he included landscapes and facts in his songs. Those lines will be alleviated by music directors and the cinematographers. The result of those alleviated scenes will be witnessed in visuals. In Neruppu Vaayil song from Pudhupettai, “Pogindra paadhaigal palaperum ponadhu” (“போகின்ற பாதைகள் பலபேரும் போனது”), Dhanush will be in a do or die situation. In order to survive, he has to kill people, so he will be choosing another path. To choose this path he has to kill people instead of dying in their hands. Also, in the movie Satham Podathey, “Pesusigren Pesugiren” (“பேசுகிறேன் பேசுகறேன்”) is quite famous because the character Banu recovers from the past. She quotes three to four examples to make herself strong. Adding up with Pullinagal from the movie 2.0, Muthu explains how human beings abused nature. Even in “Or Aayiram Yanai” from the movie Nandha he describes the scenarios of the protagonist Surya becoming a gangster.

Besides these, I often shed my tears for that one song in Vanam movie, “Dheivam vaazhvadhu engae? Thavarugalai unarum manidhan nenjil” (“தெய்வம் வாழ்வது எங்கே? தவறுகளை உணரும் மனிதன் நெஞ்சில்”). Those lyrics justify that human beings are not innocent and their actions affect another human being. Although they are aware that somebody is getting affected by some of their actions, they wish to prove themselves innocent. This also draws a picture of how human beings are selfish in the world.

“How did his love verse affect the people?”

 Haha! This is such a silly question Kanna. His love verse made the young minds to fly high in the sky.

Love is Love

 Love is love regardless of it being one-sided or mutual; it is still love. We could have come across Alexander Babu, ‘Alex’, a standup comedian, who says that the legendary musician MSV has made all kinds of songs with Bongos. Right from “Naan Kaatru Vaanga Ponen” (“ நான் காற்று வாங்க போனேன்”) till “Paartha Nyabagam Illayo” (பார்த்தஞாபகம் இல்லையோ”) which represents different stages in love.

When a man can write these many fantastic lines, how can he miss writing in the love genre?”

  Na. Muthukumar has not missed writing in the genre of love. He had consumed love in different ways. He also made his listeners intake all the love from his lyrics. Those songs helped the young minds to fill their love letters or their love life.

In the movies, Ayan and Ghajini, songs such as “Vizhi Moodi Yosithal” (“விழி மூடி யோசித்தால்”) and “Sutrum Vizhi Sudarey”(“சுற்றும் விழி சுடரே சுற்றும் விழிசுடரே”) had a huge fan base during my early childhood. These two songs will be played on Television at least 10 times a day. Most of his love song carries truth in it. For instance, in “Vizhi Moodi Yosithal” (“விழி மூடி யோசித்தால்”), there is a line talking about time.

(“Even when time and distance shrinks, my footsteps will always follow your way”)

“தானாய் எந்தன் கால்கள் இரண்டும்/ உந்தன் திசையில் நடக்கும்/ தூரம் நேரம் காலம் எல்லாம் சுருங்கிடுமே”

These lines are literally true. It doesn’t need to be a lover in this regard! If we like a person so much, the time we spend with them will feel like minutes even though it has been hours in real-time. 

            Pookul pookum tharunam (Madrasapattinam), Un Kaigal Korathu (Vanakkam Chennai), Idhayam (Billa 2), Konji Pesida venam (Sethupathi), Yen Kotikari (Papanasam), Nenaithu Nenaithu(7G Rainbow colony), Pogathey (Deepavali), Yedho Ondru Ennai (Paiya) are the songs written by Na. Muthukumar

The songs mentioned above explore the different stages, emotions, and feelings among people. He has also written a song for one-sided love (Idhayam); a song for two people falling in love (En Idhyama ethuvarai); a song for break-up (Oru Kal Oru kanadi); a song for separation (Pakatha en paratha); and even a song for the death of our loved one (Ninaithu Ninaithu Paarthen) for that matter.

Na. Muthukumar has written a song on betrayal too. “Dhrogam dhrogam dhrogam dhrogam Kadavul thoongum neram paarthu Saathana aduma aattam (“துரோகம் துரோகம் துரோகம் கடவுள் தூங்கும் நேரம் பார்த்து சாத்தான் ஆடும் ஆட்டம்”), from the movie Aaru.

This song exemplifies the notion of disloyalty. This is how I felt when Na. Muthukumar’s death was announced on the television. His birthday is on 12th July. If he had been with us now, he would have had every chance of breaking his special record. His special record was penning 130 songs in 2012. I wish he was with us, Kanna. His words were powerful and thought-provoking. That’s why I didn’t change the caller tune. I kept that in his remembrance. Take care Kanna.

Yours lovingly

Janaki Balasubramanian 

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Dr K V Balasubramanian

    I used to suggest my M.Phil. Tamil studying friends to do a paper on the film songs of every year. This will make the film songs more nice. But no one is listening. I am happy you are writing on Tamil songs in English. Good job. Carry on.

  2. Srinidhi Giri

    Great work Janaki

  3. Arunprakash T

    Really… Fantastic…
    Remembrance and compilation of the lyricist
    Mr. Na Muthukumar’s work… Jan…
    The songs which you have mentioned under each heading is pitch perfect… Absolutely… One of THE BEST lyricist in the history of Tamil cinema… And his demise is a shock and heart breaking… We miss him a lot…

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