Six Tamil ‘Heroine-Introduction’ songs actually about the ‘Heroine’

It’s Women’s Day! Yay! Okay, that’s all the enthusiasm I can manage, without making this about me and my complex emotions.

 

Chinna Chinna Aasai

I am not saying this happens all the time, but many times, women are not singing about themselves, in cinema. Often, they are singing about men, or maybe about waiting for love, or romance, often used as props for the male protagonists in the film. So, to celebrate Women’s Day, we thought we’d put together a list of Tamil film heroines who just want to sing about themselves, à la En Peru Padaiyappa; Naan adicha thaangamaate;  My name is Billa ; Maari; Vethala pota shokile

Here’s a great, definitive sample, Thalaivar himself:

To make it into the list, we wanted the song to pass the following test: Does it, introduce the female protagonist, describe her character, her life, her dreams, her ideologies, the way many ‘hero-introduction songs’ describe male protagonists? Here’s what we have.

  1. Megam Karukuthu, Khushi 

This song gave me the idea, for this list. The director of Khushi, infamous SJ Suryah once said during a promotional interview for this movie, that he wanted his heroine to ‘dance like Amitabh Bachchan’ in a song, and that was what led to this song being what it is. Unabashed,  optimistic, the protagonist sings of herself, her beauty, her will, and her strength.

Excerpt:

Kaatrai Pol Enakkumkooda Sirahondrum Kidaiyaathu
Tharai Mela Sellumpothu Sirai Seiya Mudiyaathu

Loosely translates to: “Like the wind, I don’t really have wings, when you move on the ground, there is no prison”

2. Chinna Chinna Aasai, Roja

Roja takes about 2 or 3 minutes to tell you that the protagonist, Roja, is spirited, ambitious; light-hearted, but determined.

Excerpt:

Maegangalai Ellaam, Thottuvida Aasai
Sogangalai Ellaam, Vittuvida Aasai
Kaarkuzhalil Ulagai, Kattivida Aasai

Loosely translates to: “I want to touch the clouds, I want to leave my sorrows behind, I want to bind the world with my long black braid”

3. Maargazhi Poove, May Maadham

In one light A.R.Rahman-powered breeze, Maargazhi Poove tells us the story of Sandhya, the female protagonist of May Maadham. With a distinct theme of loneliness, the song speaks of Sandhya’s yearning for a sense of belonging, longing for a sense of adventure, and her unease at living a protected life.

Excerpt:

Vazhkayil Orupaathi Naan Endru Vasipaen
Vazhkayil Marupaathi Naan Endru Rasipaen
Katriloru Maegam Polae Naan Endrum Mithapaen

Loosely translates to “I will live as half of my life, and the other half, I will enjoy, as myself, I will float in the wind as a cloud”.

4. Konjum Mainaakale, Kandukonden Kandukonden

Meenakshi, one of two protagonists of Rajiv Menon’s Kandukonden Kandukonden, sings of herself and her dreams in Konjum Mainaakale, describing her strong, stubborn, generous self, her intrepid desire for life, her abundant optimism.

Excerpt:

Indrae Varavaendum En Deepaavali Pandigai
Naalai Verum Kanavu, Adhil Naan Yen Nambanum
Naam Nattadhum Roja Indrae Pookkanum

Loosely translates to: “My Deepavali should be celebrated today.  Why should I believe in tomorrow, it is just a dream. My roses should bloom as soon as I sow them.”

5. En jannal Vandha Kaatre, Theeradha Vilaiyaatu Pillai

The song, believe it or not, is from Theeradha Vilaiyaatu Pillai (link to plot summary), and it introduces the male protagonist, as well as the three female leads, describing each of their personalities. It is incredible to me that I found this song in this misogynist movie. Incredible, but interesting.

6. Paadariyen Padippariyen, Sindhu Bhairavi

Set to introduce Sindhu, one of the two female protagonists of Sindhu Bhairavi, Paadariyen describes Sindhu’s personality, her perspective, registers her as a strong-willed, intelligent, immersive, compulsive person. Sindhu sings of herself, of what she believes in; with wit, humour, and unmistakable chutzpah- an attribute the character displays throughout the film.

Excerpt:

Aettula ezhudhavilla ezhudhivechchup pazhakkamilla
elakkanam padikkavilla thalaganamum enakku illa

Loosely translates to “I didn’t write this down, I didn’t study grammar, I am not headstrong”.

If you think of other songs that fit our criteria, or would like to create a list of your own, with entirely different criteria, write in, on genderallycinema@gmail.com, or leave a comment here!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Six Tamil ‘Heroine-Introduction’ songs actually about the ‘Heroine’

  1. I completely agree with your commentary on the positioning of women in cinema: “Often, they are characterized to sing about men, or about having to experience love or romance, and are often used as a prop for the male protagonist in the film”. I hardly get to see heroines playing roles of significance or roles that break the female stereotype in existence today. However, to be honest, I am not very sure if the list of songs that have been put together here portray or cherish womanhood. In some sense it also falls prey to the stereotype of how lyricists pen down women in their poetry. Whilst songs such as ‘En Peru Padaiyappa’, ‘Naan adicha thaangamaate’ ‘My name is Billa’, and ‘Maari’ describe the power and strength of men and depict them as the superheroes with no force standing a chance against them, women are always characterized to see themselves as as a happy-go-lucky blissful girl who seems to care only about her day to day living or her unison with nature. Jyothika in ‘Kushi’ is all about stopping the rain at her will; yes, she does compare herself to the wind with no wings (a.k.a limits) but in the movie, right after this song she is seen forced into marriage. “Konjum Mainaakale” from Kandukonden is an all-time favorite melody, sadly again the song talks only about the woman’s association with nature; where all Aishwarya Rai wants is to celebrate Diwali and to see through that her roses bloom right after she plants them. I am not saying that it is wrong as a premise, but all the song is conveying to me is women are soft, innocent, gullible day-dreamers who live in a world of fantasy where men can walk right into us and our lives. With cinema creating a huge impact on people’s lives today, it is sad to see songs such as, ‘Adidaa Avala Othadaa Avala Vidra Avala Thevayae Illa’ and not the ones like ‘Uyire Uyire Vanthu Ennodu Kalanthuvidu’ capturing the audiences.
    One cannot just blame the Indian entertainment industry, songs from the Western world also describe women as lost in love or waiting for love. But at least, here I can name a few songs that promote female empowerment where women are shown as strong and independent beings, who have their own accomplishments. Just on top of my head: “Independent Women” from Destiny’s Child, “Confident” by Demi Lovato, “Warrior” by Kesha, “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Run the world (Girls)” by Beyoncé, “Girl on fire” by Alicia Keys and of course not to forget Pink!
    I would like to sign-off with one last question with reference to a famous quote: “Behind every successful man there is a woman” , but where is your success story girl?

    Like

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