OST Indira (1995): Nila Kaaigirathu


Nila kaaigirathu is a song from Indira, a beautiful Tamizh film centered on the caste problems in a village and how the younger generation deals with its fallout. The song featured here remains an ever-green call to appreciate the beauty of nature in the Now, this very moment, as the moon rises.

Click below to listen :



                     
The film was written and co-directed by Suhasini Maniratnam and remains her only full-length feature film till date. Music was scored by the now world-famous A.R. Rahman.

Many versions of the song appear in the film – it functions as a throw-back mechanism to capture changes in the life and perspectives of the titular character Indira as she navigates life from childhood to adulthood. The version shown here is the first version that appears in the film, as a young Indira sings and dances this song with her friends to lighten the mood of her worried father.

"The sun is life and the moon is time"
~Ramsingh Urveti, Gond artist from India~


The moon has always been a source of awe and beauty to humans. In most folk traditions of India, the moon is thought to be female and her cool light and grace are believed to be required for a good life. For artists and common folk alike, the moon inspires poetry and art. And her benevolence has rich spiritual significance for seekers of the truth.

Here is a sweet story from a children's book called Sun and Moon that may amuse you.

A Sun and Moon Story
by Durga Bai, Gond artist from India


Why is the sun so burningly hot, while the moon stays cool and serene? It is said that there was once an old woman who had two children, a boy called Sun and a girl called Moon. They were poor, but she made sure the two never went hungry. One day, the children were invited to a neighbour's house for a feast. The old woman asked them to bring back some food for her. The boy ate his fill, but forgot his mother's request. The girl, however, remembered, and brought home some food, which she had hidden under her clothes. The old woman was furious with her son. "I'm burning with hunger!", she said. "From now on, may you forever be hot and flaming!" She turned to her daughter and said, "Bless you for cooling the hunger in my stomach. May you remain cool always!"

 



Lyrics and translation:                            

Nilaa Kaaigirathu (The moon is rising)
Niram Thaeigirathu (Her colour is waning)
Yaarum Rasikkavillaiyae (There’s no one to savour this)
Intha Kangal Mattum Unnai Kaanum! (These eyes alone see you!)
Thendral Pogindrathu (A cool wind blows)
Solai Sirikindrathu (The grove smiles)
Yaarum Suhikkavillaiyae (There’s no one to rejoice in this)
Chinna Kaigal Mattum Unnai Theendum! (These little hands alone feel you!)
Kaatru Veesum Veyyil Kaayum Kaayum (The wind blows, a hot sun beats down on us)
Athil Maatram Ethum Illayae (There’s been no change in all of this)
Vaanum Mannum Nammai Vaazha Chollum (But the sky and earth ask us to come alive)
Antha Vaazhkai Oayavillai (that life has not been ended yet)
Endrendrum Vaanil (and is always present in the sky)
Nilaa Kaaigirathu (The moon is rising)
Niram Thaeigirathu (Her colour is waning)
Yaarum Rasikkavillaiyae (There’s no one to savour this)
Intha Kangal Mattum Unnai Kaanum (These eyes alone see you!)
(swara/notes interlude)
Atho Pogindrathu Aasai Maegam (There goes the cloud of wishes)
Mazhaiyai Kaetukollingal! (Ask her for rain!)
Itho Kaetkindrathu Kuyilin Paadal (Here is heard the song of the cuckoo)
Isaiyai Kaetukollingal (Listen to her music!)
Intha Boomiyae Poovanam (This earth is a forest-garden)
Ungal Pookalai Thaedungal!(Search for your flowers here!)
Intha Vaazhkaiyae Seethanam (This life is a gift)
Ungal Thaevaiye Kaelingal! (Ask for what you need!)
Nilaa Kaaigirathu (The moon is rising)
Niram Thaeigirathu (Her colour is waning)
Yaarum Rasikkavillaiyae (There’s no one to savour this)
Intha Kangal Mattum Unnai Kaanum! (These eyes alone see you!)
Thendral Pogindrathu (A cool wind blows)
Solai Sirikindrathu (The grove smiles)
Yaarum Suhikkavillaiyae (There’s no one to rejoice in this)
Chinna Kaigal Mattum Unnai Theendum! (These little hands alone feel you!)

Credits: Gayathri Ramachandran
Photo: Watercolor moon


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