Tamil film Sringaram has the unique distinction of having its music composed by eminent violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, who won the National Award for the same.
Sringaram, the debut directorial venture of Sarada Ramanathan, is a musical movie on the life of a devadasi (temple dancer) called Mathura. It is also focused on the popular South Indian classical dance form Bharatnatyam.
The film won two more National Awards -- Madhu Ambat for cinematography and Saroj Khan for choreography.
Lalgudi has infused the richness of South Indian classical music in his compositions in this film. He has also added variety by adding a couple of folk numbers. Sringaram's music is devoid of all the modern synthetic musical trappings and is in pure South Indian classical genre.
The opening track Title is confined to instrumental passages. Mellowed vibrancy of Mridangam, lilting flute strains combined with the dancer's salangai sounds heightens the allure of the piece.
This is followed by Mallari played on Nadaswaram by Injukkudi Brothers. Playing Mallari was a tradition prevalent in earlier days and is followed even today while the temple deities are taken out in procession. The nadaswaram delineations interspersed with blowing of conch shells and segments of Vedic chants and manthras raise the piece to a highly spiritual level.
Nattuppura Padal by T L Maharajan and O S Arun is as the title suggests a folk number. The lyrics as well as the music creates a typical rural ambience of fully-grown crops dancing in the breeze, village belles working in the fields and bullock carts trudging along at a leisurely pace with the cart-driver enjoying the ride. Flute interludes and sounds of cowbells provide excellent background score. This and the chorus at the end are other highlights of this pastoral piece.
Yen Indha Mayamo is based on a raga full of pathos, and Bombay Jayashree is well-suited to render this solo piece. Flute, violin and veena flourishes and the thillana beats blend well with Jayashree's mellow rendition. The abrupt stopping of the track gives it a mystic touch. The same track is repeated with a muted instrumental background in S Sowmya's voice. Incidentally it is the debut playback outing by Sowmya. Though she has done full justice to this appealing number, Jayashree's rendition is many notches higher than Soumya's.
Mudal Mariyadai by Swathi and Hamsi is a salutation chant, a brief invocation to the Lord.
Mamara Thopila is again a one line folk piece.
Ninaival Yennai by Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi has again flute and veena embellishments. The lyrics and the rendition with inspiring alapana by the singer paint a picture of the dancer praising the Lord whom she believes in and who is her refuge.
Three Seasons which follows, has instrumental presentation, extended swara passages, alapana and singing by a slew of singers including GJR Krishnan, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Swathy, Revathy and Meera with good orchestral support.
Akaram by Swathy Srikrishna has soft and soothing tampura strains, soothing alapana and accelerated mridangam beats.
Harathi by Swathy Srikrishna, Meera and Hamsi with flute strains in the background, which is included as the penultimate number after repetition of the earlier six tracks is music during deeparadhana (ritual worship of the Lord with lighted lamp).
The album is certainly a collector's item for the die-hard fans of South Indian classical music.