A scene from Vansh’ (1992)If AR Rahman could make a mark with his distinct southern tunes and background scores, firstly with Hindi cinema and later throughout the world with his presentations, there is one predecessor he has to thank for, none other than the one and only Ilaiyarajaa.

Having struggled to meet the varying expectations of his Hindi music listeners in the first half of the ‘80s, ‘Rajaa’ was indeed noted by the Bollywood wallahs but never given as many chances to prove his real worth.

One consolation however was that his songs caught the fancy of many music directors- Anand-Milind for one- who rehashed his humongous hits into Hindi, for a good decade and more later. Many of them hit the bull’s eye but a few which were equally good, did not.

The phase between the late ‘80s and mid-‘90s was the time when southern cinema flooded Mumbai- with its actors, actresses, directors, music directors, cinematographers and choreographers. Over time, many of them still command huge respect, for their distinct skill sets. One such name is Mani Ratnam, who is a commanding figure in Indian cinema, with his multi-lingual films and his hugely appealing works comprising a racy storyline, great camera work and memorable music.

One such film ‘Agni Natchathiram’, released in 1988, went on to give a kick start to two young stars in Tamil cinema- Prabhu and Karthik. Dubbed into Telugu as ‘Garshana’, it is still remembered fondly for many things, so much so, that there are components of the family action drama which tug at the heartstrings.

Four years down the line, in 1992, the film saw a Hindi reincarnation with a title called ‘Vansh’. There too, the film saw new names as the star cast- Sudesh Berry, Sushant Ray and their heroines like Ekta Sohini and Yasmin.  Directed by the stunt master Pappu Verma, it did not make much impact, surprising, as the original had a powerful interplay of emotions and raw action. Its songs were all received very well in both the versions it was seen and appreciated.

“Aake Teri Baahon Mein Har Shaam Lage Sinduri” is the sensuous number which has the lead pair frolicking as only love-struck youngsters can do. Set in the wavy backwaters of one of India’s beaches, like how the Tamil number goes about, the song begins with a pleasing pace, a combination of metal and percussion maintaining a steady pace.

Sushant Ray, grandson of the legend V Shantaram, who died at a very young age of 41 and his heroine Ekta, presently the wife of Nutan’s son Mohnish Behl make the onscreen pair.  “Mehki Hawaaein, Udhta Aanchal, Lat Gungrali Kaale Baadal…” sings SPB in a very silky tone, with a medium-pitch humming as the heroine, smitten and suitably seductive comes closer. Sameer goes even romantic as he pens the lines… in “adhron se chhalak na jaaye, youvan ras angoori…” 

At the risk of sounding repetitive, one should add that the songs then endeavoured to present a wide-angled view giving the scope equitably to the cinematographer to showcase his breath-taking shots, the music director to maintain the tempo and the lyricist to write lines which are worthy of a recall a long time later. 

So, much of all that is evident here as the song moves into many moods, lighting effects and costume changes by the hero and heroine. The pace is steady and pleasant throughout. The light filter works well, even as the hero, looking scruffy and stiff for most part of the number makes an effort to show that he is in love. “Aaja milke aaj mitha den, thodi see yeh doori….” invites the lady as the camera pans on to a series of quick shots, with the love-struck couple embracing after a frolicking time in the gushing waters.

By:K Naresh Kumar