It’s Women’s Day! Yay! Okay, that’s all the enthusiasm I can manage, without making this about me and my complex emotions.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment here!