In the filmy songs era, there are many beautiful songs which sound great with wonderful lyrics or with brilliant composition. But, most of us don’t really think about why a song was composed in a certain ‘Raaga’? Or what kind of orchestration a particular music director has used? Or what was the situation? Let’s pick the song, ‘Maate Mantramu’ from Seethakoka Chiluka movie, composed by Maestro Ilayaraja, written by Veturi Sundararama Murthy, sung by S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and S.P.Sailaja which is a great example to answer these questions.
Such a wonderful composition that cannot be explained in a few lines. This song was composed in ‘Hamir Kalyani’ raagam, which is considered as one of the toughest Raagas in classical music. This movie was released in 1981 but the freshness of this song still treats it to be in golden classics list of Ilayaraja. The way Ilayaraja sir has provided the orchestration for this song was taken as reference by many upcoming music directors during 1980s. It was a milestone in the Telugu music scene. All the music lovers went on to become pleasantly surprised with the number of experiments done in one single song, that too with limited electronic instruments during 1981. That’s the reason, he is called as ‘Maestro’ Ilayaraja, God of music.
As the situation demands, this song starts off with ‘Om Satamaanam bhavati Sataayu purusha Satendriya ayushEvEndriyE prati dishtaTi’ mantra on background of temple bells followed by chorus and church bells. As this song comes under marriage situation, it was composed in Kalyani (marriage) raagam. The starting mantra was sung by T.S.Ashwini Shastry & T.S.Rohini Shastry (brothers). Ilayaraja has mastered in classical guitar and he has won gold medal from Trinity College of Music, London. His songs are generally composed on base of classical guitar in certain raaga. This song mainly has a touch of classical Guitar, Keyboard, Flute and Pads for rhythms. The legendary lyricist, Veturi has provided extraordinary lyrics to this song.
It goes on this way, 'Maate Mantramu manase bandhamu ee mamate ee samate mangaLa vaadyamu idi kaLyaanam kamaneeyam jeevitam'. Veturi tries to compare every word in this song with marital words and he is considered as one of the lyricists who does a lot of experiments and plays with Telugu words to form a new untold Telugu word. To showcase this, he started off with Maate Mantramu manase bandhamu and ends with Yadanaa kovela Yeduthe devatha. Just divine.
If lyrics and composition are heart of the song, singers are soul of the song. Singers S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and S.P.Sailaja excelled in their melodious performance of this song. Till date, this ‘Maate Mantramu’ song is considered as one of the golden hits of these singers. Also, lot of us listen only to the song portion (like tune/lyrics) and do not focus on BGM but this particular song is one of the rare songs that demands special attention on the BGM. It has an extraordinary background music (BGM) scored by Ilayaraja. As per the song situation, this song goes in a classical melody style and chorus is portrayed in Christian style.
Another key thing to note here is that if a song is composed in certain raaga, most of the music lovers can easily predict the flow of the song but Maate Mantramu is unlike any other song. In this song, you see a lot of unexpected musical notes that makes you listen multiple times. The first line of the stanza is a classic example, the line 'neeve naalo spandinchinaa ee priya layalo sruti kalise praanamide', in particular ‘ee priya layalo sruti kalise praanamide' line blows off your mind with a wow factor in it.
Even though it feels like a simple feel-good melody, it is considered as one of the toughest compositions of Ilayaraja. If you haven’t listened to this song, please do a favor to yourself, listen and enjoy the mellifluous composition. A once-in-a-lifetime song!