“Andal’s poetry is all about nature and life. Even after many years, Andal’s verses are very much relevant. We can relate to it in our daily lives. I wanted to do an animation film on Andal — her life story is an inspiration. In 2014, we did a dance-drama called ‘Antaram’ and one of the main characters was Andal. We told her story through Bharatanatyam. During the lockdown, one of The Duchess Club members sent me a video of a small recording. For Navaratri, nine members came together virtually and recited slokas. The members did the recording from their respective houses and then the videos were put together into a single video. I found it interesting and thought of doing a music video on Thiruppavai. I told my husband about the concept and he encouraged me to do it,” Suhasini starts the conversation.
Without any delay, she conveyed the idea to their creative director Subhasri Thanikachalam in September. “She was thrilled about it. But my only condition was that we shouldn’t have regular singers. I wanted to include people who have not sung professionally but who are good at singing. My friends and I used to sit together and have music sessions in my house courtyard. I know who all can sing well among my friends. I told Subhasri about this plan. She was okay with it but was wondering how to bring all the members together during a period like this.
Finally, we decided to ask the members to record their portions from their homes. The first person whom I spoke to was Anu Hasan, she was excited about it. Then I called Revathy, Uma Padmanabhan, Remya Nambeesan, Kaniha, Jayashree and Nithya Menen,” explains the actor, excitedly.
They got the rhythm of the original composition and Subhasri sent it to eight members. “Eight of us did the recording from our houses and send it back to Subhasri. A few days later, she got back to me saying that no two voices are matching and suggested that unless we all come together to the studio and record, it will not look good. But that was not possible because we all were in different parts and busy with our works. Then we decided to record with four people who are living in Chennai. So, I, Anu, Revathy and Kaniha got together and in 45 minutes we recorded our portions at the city studio. It wasn’t an easy process because earlier, I had divided the songs and assigned different portions to each member. But we four managed to sing the entire song. The lead singer Uma Padmanabhan, who was in Kumbakonam, recorded her portion and shared it. Nithya, Remya and Jayashree also recorded their portion. Somehow, it all fell in place and our music single Margazhi Thingal is ready now. Margazhi Thingal is the first paasuram (song) of Thiruppavai written by Andal as part of a vow observed throughout the month of Margazhi,” quips Suhasini.
Once the actor received all the recordings and put them together, she sent the track to Shobhana. The dancer said instead of singing, she will perform an abhinayam for the single. “It has been our wish to re-introduce the treasures of our south Indian culture to the present generation. Last year, Ravivarma’s iconic paintings were re-created with south Indian actresses and this year, it is Andal’s Thiruppavai sung by actresses who are not necessarily professional or Carnatic singers. This single is a tribute to Andal, Tamil culture and Margazhi season.
For Tamilians, this is the spring season where the flora and fauna are bountiful. Andal’s verses are rich and a true representation of the season’s bounty. As children, we learned all 30 paasurams. But I don’t think today’s generation knows much about it. Through this single, we also wanted to inspire youngsters to learn Thiruppavai. If they watch the single, they will be curious to know about it and hopefully, they will show interest in Thiruppavai as well,” she sums up.
Kevindas edited the video from Qatar and the music was mastered and arranged by Ravi G.
Margazhi Thingal will be released today by Kamal Haasan, AR Rahman and Madhavan