Research behind Ponni Nadhi, PS was immense: Ilango Krishnan

On working as a lyricist with the Roja duo, Ilango says, "They know how to make you feel comfortable. They got the best out of me and after I completed Ponni Nadhi, Mani sir asked, 'Ready for another one?'"
Ponniyin Selvan first song Ponni Nadhi
Ponniyin Selvan first song Ponni Nadhi

CHENNAI: The first single from Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan-I titled Ponni Nadhi has clocked over 6 million views in Tamil. The song is being critically-acclaimed for its visuals, music and the lyrics. "I am entirely new to such reception and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Mani sir responded congratulating me and said that the response for the song is good," the lyricist of the song Ilango Krishnan told DT Next. The folk song is an encomium to the Cauvery aka Ponni river and the Chola Kingdom Ilango reminisced the day he was roped in to pen the song and says, "Jeyamohan, who has written the dialogues for the Ponniyin Selvan franchise tried reaching me and I wasn't near my phone. He had also texted me asking if I would be interested in penning lyrics for songs in the film. Then a meeting with Mani sir and AR Rahman sir was arranged and I took with me a couple of works related to PS. It was then Mani sir told me about how he had already gone through my previous works-- my poems, my speeches on YouTube and my blog as well. They did their research on me before I could meet them. That is when they had told me about Ponni Nadhi. This happened in 2020, after the team completed the first schedule."

The lyricist says that he had to revisit some Tamil classics to bring in some lesser known Tamil words for what is to be the intro song of the film. "I have read Ponniyin Selvan several times. However, for this, I read KA Neelakanta Sastry's book on Cholas, reread Silapathikaaram and went through other Tamil classics as well. The song begins with the lines, 'Kaaveriyaal Neermadikku Ambaramaai Anaiyeduthaan'-- here the word 'Ambaram' in classical Tamil means, a cloth. These are some of the minute things I wanted to bring into the song . The line translates to how Kallanai is an attire for Cauvery river that was built by Karikala Cholan 2,000 years ago," he explains. "The research was immense from Mani sir and Rahman sir as well. They traveled to places that were conquered by Cholas-- as far as Bali, Indonesia to get the detailing perfect," adds the journalist-writer.

Ponni Nadhi isn't an overnight product according to Ilango. "It took a month for Ponni Nadhi to take the shape of what it is today. There are other songs in the album that were written in two hours. But Ponni Nadhi took its own time and was the fourth song at the time I submitted it. I didn't know that this would be Vanthiyathevan's introduction at that time. There were moments when Mani sir and Rahman sir would stand next to me and watch me as I write. I would feel like a kid at the examination hall," quips Ilango.

The significance of Ponni Nadhi is that it is one of the very few songs in Tamil in the past few years without borrowing words from other languages. "Yet we have predominantly stuck to words with common usages. One thing Mani sir told me was I wouldn't get to write such lines in Tamil cinema in future. He keeps saying 'Vittuda koodadhu' (never quit). So, I wanted to make use of an opportunity to pen songs with Tamil words 'only'," he tells us.

On working as a lyricist with the Roja duo, Ilango says, "They know how to make you feel comfortable. They got the best out of me and after I completed Ponni Nadhi, Mani sir asked, 'Ready for another one?'"

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in