Kalyani is an old, melodious, auspicious, expansive and ever green ragam which can be rendered anytime of the day. But, it shines more in the evening times. Kalyani has excellent potential for alapana and manodharma sangeetham. There are varieties of compositions made in Kalyani. Whether it is varnam, geetham, kriti, keertana, thillana, javali or RTP, Kalyani is a first rate choice. Even in mythological dramas, dances, operas, Kalyani finds place in abundance. Every student of music is introduced to this ragam by learning a geetham and a varnam invariably in the initial stages.
There are a numer of classical compositions and film tunes in this ragam. When Venkataramanayya, the guru of Tyagaraja, recommended him to the king’s court to be the asthana vidwan, Tyagaraja politely declined to take up the post by saying ‘Nidhi chala sukhama, Ramuni sannidhi seva sukhama’. This shows his total dedication to Lord Rama and also the fact that monetary, materialistic benefits are no match to worshipping the Lord. This kriti is a super hit composed in Kalyani ragam set to misra chapu talam.
Other popular compositions of Tyagaraja in this ragam are Vasudevayani vedalina, Amma Raavamma, Etha vunnaara, Enduko Nee manasu, Sundari nee divya, Tarama ni mahima, Bhajana seyave Manasa, Bhajare Raghuviram, Ishta Pahima Jagadisha, Nammi vachchina Nannu, and Sadhehamu elara naa sami.
Bhajarere chiththa and Kamalambaam bhajare of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Pankaja Lochana of Swathi Thirunal, Himadrisuthe, Birana Varalichchi of Syama Sastri, Enthati kuluke of Pattabhiramayya, Ninuvinaa gathi of Subbaraya Sastry, Mamu brovami cheppave of Ramadasu, an ata tala varnam ‘Vanajakshi’ of Pallavi Gopalayya are some other popular compositions in Kalyani. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrisha’s own composition ‘Sangeethame Vara sukhadayi’, is in Kalyani and another experimental and exciting composition, a thillana in Kalyani (ragamalika) is truly innovative.
Popular janya ragas of Kalyani are Saranga, Hameer Kalyani, Sunadavinodini, Mohana Kalyani, Yamuna Kalyani and Amrutha Behag.
Though there are many outstanding songs in Kalyani ragam in Telugu cinema, two songs remain unmatched. One is ‘Salalitha Raga Sudharasa’ in Nartanasala picturised on NTR as Bruhannala and L Vijayalakshmi as Uttara and sung by Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna and Benguluru Latha and composed by Susarla Dakshinamurthy.
The other memorable song is ‘Madi Sarada Devi Mandirame’ in ‘Jayabheri’ rendered by Ghantasala and party. In this song, the music director Pendyala showed his grip on this ragam with excellent kalpanaswaras. These two were tuned in pure Kalyani, exploiting the raga bhava in full length.
Other notable songs in Kalyani are Manasuna Mallela (Malliswari-Rajeswara Rao), Pelli chesukoni (Pelli chesi choodu-Ghantasala), Paadana vaani kalyanigaa (Megha Sandesam), Saa virahe tava deenaa (Vipranaarayana-Rajeswara Rao), Evarivo nee vevarivo (Punarjanma-Chalapathi Rao), Totalo Naa raju (Ekaveera –Mahadevan), Dorakuna ituvanti seva (Sankarabharanam-Mahadevan), Chelikaadu nine rammani piluvaa (Kula Gothralu), Kila kila navvulu chilikina (Chaduvukunna ammaayilu), Sarileru Nee kevaaru (Kanchu Kota), Raara Raara krishnayya (Ramu), Lalitha kalaa radhanalo (Kalyani), Manase kovelagaa (Mayani Mamatha), Challani vennenalalo chakkani kanne sameepamlo (Santhanam), Paala kadalipai (Chenchu Lakshmi), Karunaala Vaala idi neeku leelaa (Chenchu Lakshmi), Jorumeedunnavu tummedaa (Sivaranjani), Virise challani vennela (Lavakusa) and Raara naa sami raara (Vipranaarayana).
It is astonishing that this ragam was chosen to compose rather a sad or depressed song like ‘Kudi yeda maithe’ of Devadasu (old). Efforts of music director Subbaraman and the voice of Ghantasala mesmerized the listeners in those days.
When coming to private albums, Ghantasala’s ‘Talaninda poodanda’, ‘Bahudoorapu Baatasari’ (partly) are famous. Rao Balasaraswati’s ‘Nallani Vaadaa’, Vedavathi Prabhakar’s ‘Madhura nagari sameepamlo’ are popular songs in lalitha sangeetham on the All India Radio circuit.
Singing Kalyani based simple songs in functions like marriage parties, birthday parties or desa bhakthi or prayer songs sets good mood and pleasant environment. It is an enjoyable raga and has magnetic power to attract the attention of listeners.
A beautiful, majestic, educated and cultured queen is an asset to the king and the kingdom. Kalyani is one such ragam in the world of Carnatic music!