VC was a warrior , in fact a fighter pilot , the ultimate alpha adrenaline junkie , so how could Leela even think of leaving him. How could she even – He’ll show her . He will show all of them . And then he meets her at the party , the one he attends , the one she attends but not with each other. He wants her back , but without losing face and thus the song starts Kelayo…
There is the warrior and there is the lover boy and what better way to emphasize this than to use singers with two different vocal qualities. Diwakar , with his restrained singing and dominative Shankar Mahadevanesque vocal quality represents the warrior who tries saving face by acting all tough and then Haricharan with that voice that would melt the insides jumps in to beg , plead and serenade our senses – what a brief sirjee.
Then comes the tango tadka with the 2/4 , 4/4 rhythm ,brilliant violins , guitars , piano , violas and bass. Where is the accordion you wonder . Is it there hiding away until you notice it on the 500th listen or has it been replaced or done away with you wonder. There this refrain reminds you of Sundari , and oh this chord progression reminds you of Arima – This is the Tamil equivalent of Hawa Hawa , more sedate and equally brilliant. The words are a mumble at this point as you try to identify every single instrument and nuance in the song and tap your thighs in 2/4 , 4/4 and there , there is the accordion or so you think..
You don’t notice the words until the fifth day or so . All of a sudden , during the traffic filled commute back home , you notice the lyrics and sit up . How apt , how romantic and then Wham you go – Oh Vairamuthu is broadly painting VC’s character and the film’s story. The En Kuraigal Edhu Kandai makes you go – How arrogant you fool – and that unnai pirindhaal uyir vaazhaa line makes you go hmmm. So will they end up living together or dying together – why do you mind – Wherever they go they will end up together.
Thus ends Kelayo – one of Kaatru Veliyidai’s top songs for me at least until now. After a long time , a song that paints characters , storylines and narratives for you – straight out of that magic factory jointly owned by ARR , Mani and Vairamuthu . The lyrical quality of the whole album has been brilliant , the singing has been exemplary and the sound production is the best among the recent ARR albums and Kelayo brings all that together with a brilliant tune and imagination. Seldom has a song made me imagine the story so there job well done holy trio of the Tamil movies.
P.S. ARR should have christened Haricharan’s female voice with some fancy Spanish sounding name , so that our single music crazy youths got a new kanavu kanni.
P.P.S . Please raise your hand if this reminds you of Jordan and Heer at a happier place. Happy Listening.
P.P.P.S The transition between the two male voices is seamless and brilliant as if to prove that the lover and the warrior reside inside the same man . Take a shottu ARR . Bale Bale !