While the sound mix overwhelmed the screenplay in Annaatthe, the music was in itself superb. Particularly satisfying was the instrumental version of D. Imman’s Yennuyirey featuring the rising nadaswaram star from my birthplace Jaffna K.P Kumaran. I make a point of identifying Jaffna as my birthplace as one of my strong memories of my late father is of his love for this instrument which he imbibed in his Vaddukoddai youth in the 1930’s.
While my father Arumugam Deva Rajah was born in Seremban, British Malaya, I was born in Jaffna and, while he went back to live in his ancestral village in 1929 when he was seven years old, I moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when I was two in 1963. I remember blasting the Namagiri Petai Krishnan record he bought along with our very first Hi-fi system. Appa used to be highly stressed from his work and sensitive to noise. I would instinctively turn down any record I was playing when he arrived home from work, but not this one, or any of the other nadaswaram records we acquired later. My affinity with the blaring tone of this ancient Tamil instrument is a mark of my identification with my father and with my culture.
Returning to the impetus for this post, I must say that Jaffna K.P Kumaran is a fabulous instrumentalist. His playing on the film music of Yennuyirey is great and he is absolutely amazing in the traditional temple form as well.