Importance of bhavam

Have you heard the different renditions of the "shenbagame" song from Enga ooru paatukaaran? One is a happy version by Mano and Sunandha. The other one is a sad version by Asha Bhonsle. Both versions are basically the same tune and with the same tempo, but you can experience different emotions by the way the singers render the song. First listen to the duet, which is the happy version. Now look at the way Asha renders the song for the sad version. The singer has to basically get into the mood of the song to get the right emotion. This song taught me the importance of bhavam.

Someone observed that Ilaiyaraaja uses the same tempo for both happy and sad versions of a song. For eg) Povoma Oorgolam, Vaa Vaa Anbe Poojai Undu, Vellai pura ondru yenguthu, etc., while many other music directors reduce the tempo for the sad versions. For eg) Poraale ponnuthaiyee, Nila Kaaigirathu (this one is an excellent song), etc. Ilaiyaraaja uses the same tempo and almost the same beats and yet achieves the required emotions. The singer has a major role in such songs. BTW, even IR has uses slow tempo for sad versions such as "Kuyil paatu o vandhadhenna ila maane".

Coming back to the shenbagame song, it is an excellent soothing melody. I especially like the prelude very much. I read that it is based on the scale of sindhubhairavi raag, which seems to be one of IR's favorites. Enjoy the song !


  1. Anonymous12:35 PM


    Listen TMS songs, you will understand the Bhavan in a mega scale.


  2. Thanks TamilSelvam for dropping by my blog. Yes you are right.

  3. Hi Ramesh / TS..

    Could you pls write little more about the bhavam & layam in genereal, not w.r.t. this sing.. is it only the feelings rendered in voice or is it something more.. i'm just trying to know bit precisely..

    thank you, tsv

  4. Hi TSV,

    I think Bhavam refers to the expression and feelings rendered while singing. Layam is more related to rhythm and talam I think.


  5. Anonymous12:06 AM

    Yup, Shenbhagame is in Sindhu bhairavi alright. Surprisingly, I found that Valaiosai Kala Kala from Sathya was also in Sindhu Bhairavi. What a unique application of the ragam! Enna Saththam Inda Neram is another of his songs set in Sindhu Bhairavi. I also liked his use of Keeravani in "Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele" from Nayagan.

  6. yes you are right about the ragas... IR has done lot of songs in Sindhu bhairavi and keeravani.

  7. Exactly!!! Thats a wonderful observation you've made. I don't know if you're a fan of ARR but he changes the tempo for sad and happy versions. The best example I could think of is "Poorale Ponnuttayi" from Karuthamma wherein the slow version is sad and the faster version is happy!!! But to maintain the tempo and to give a totally opposite feel is something that could be called truly genius!!!Or may be a new word that we're yet to discover for IR!!:)

  8. Thank you Sai. I am a fan of ARR as well. But I am amazed by how IR composes the sad version in the same tempo. Here is another song where both happy and sad versions are available in a single song.
    Oru Sandhana Kaatukulle -

    From Vicky's ( email to ilaiyaraaja yahoo groups:

    Unlike numerous other happy/ pathos pair songs of Raaja, Oru Sandhana
    Kaatukkulae is very unique, for its the same song which is divided into Happy
    and Pathos parts.. The advantage for the listener when you listen to both the
    halves continuously in one song is enormous.. It amplifies the stark audio
    contrast... more like watching the statue of "Ardhanariswarar" from the visual
    perspective or like having a "Kaara Adai Dosai" with Vellam from a culinary
    perspective :-)

    For others its the obvious factors such as Tempo, and deliberation in the
    singer's voice etc., that counts.. not for Raaja. For him, Decorations and Color
    is the key to create emotion.. and it can be easily demonstrated with this

    For instance, Carefully watch the Connecting piece after this line in the
    Charanam in Janaki version: "En Pole Yaarkum Kanavan Vaaikadhu";
    This short piece is a Jugal bandhi of Oboe and Flute.. divided with some amazing
    intervals between them... sounds very liberated and joyous.. More like a Rabbit
    jumping around on a lush green field.. or reflecting the Heroine's
    self-fulfilling prophecy that she is the most luckiest person in the world

    Now watch the Corresponding space after the lines in the Raaja's second stanza:
    "Kaayangal Kaalam Mulukka Aaradho.."
    There is no conversation between instruments.. This is a single flute.. and it
    touches on base notes playing a single note... cryingly melancholic.. as if
    someone is caressing a deep wound with a feather.. a feel typically echoing
    Hero's view as the most god forsaken person in the whole world..

    Also watch the Tabla pattern during same lines of both the stanzas.. Janaki
    version's Tabla takes a break and jumps together with her and the Flute/ Oboe..
    On Raaja's part, The Tabla is oblivious to the Charanam's tune and its a
    continuous monotone.. befitting a mourning...

    Even though the two charanams of this song, shares the same tune, same tempo and
    same construct, Anyone who hears to this song (even non-Tamil speakers) can pin
    point that, First half of the song is Joyous and second half is pathos.. Thats
    the power of Raaja's orchestration.. A power capable of creating completely
    opposite emotions with same set of options..