Monday, October 20, 2014

Nijadasa varada

Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman once had this to say about the Patnam Subramania Iyer kriti Nijadasa varada in Kalyani. Tyagaraja had composed quite a few songs in Kalyani and it must have been a real challenge for any subsequent composer to come up with an innovative take on that raga. So it took a really brilliant musician like Patnam to actually conjure the “Ni Da Ga” phrase as the take off point for the pallavi of this song!

I retain a lot of fond memories about this song. I had just begun learning from my grand aunt Smt Rukmini Rajagopalan. Her brother and my grand father Thyagu specifically told me that I should learn Nijadasa varada as she had learnt it directly from Parur Sundaram Iyer and that there is a lovely sangati in the last line of the anupallavi that has the swara prayoga “Ga Da Ri” that gave a unique touch to the song. Of course after I had learnt the song I did add a couple of sangatis specifically from the MLV version in the pallavi of the song.

Once when I had just sung Nijadasa varada and was leaving paatti’s house after class, thatha (TV Rajagopalan) stopped me and asked what I sang for the first line of the charanam. I had sung it as “kausika yAgAdi tATakAdi samharaNa.” He immediately corrected the sahitya saying that it must be kausika yAgAri and not yAgAdi. It would have meant that 'Rama killed Vishvamitra's yAga along with tATakA' instead of 'the enemy of Vishvamitra's yAga’! 

tATakAdi-samharaNa = killing of tATakA and others
kaushika-yAga-ari = (who are) enemies of vishvamitra's yAga 

Whereas

samharaNa = killing of
kaushika-yAga-Adi = vishvamitra's yAga and others' 
tATakAdi = (and) tATakA and other (rAkshasas)
 
Many years later I sang this song in a concert and someone came up to me and said that they have not heard this in a concert for at least 20 years now. I jokingly remarked that it must have been at least 20 years since I sang it myself! Anyway it took at least another 5 or 6 years before I sang this again and this time another person came and made the same remark about not having heard the song in a long time and I managed to give my earlier patented reply. Unfortunately for me my disciple Swarnarethas reminded me that it was only 5 years back that I had sung and made the same remark! 

Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Click to download Nijadasa varada and other songs from Live at Venus Colony 2013 - https://gum.co/CYzCB