Remarkable song in the history of Tamizh Cinema.. Kannadasan should have been the best writers of those times (he was!). Taking a deep insight into this song from the Movie KARNAN proves it all. The only old movie I frequently watch with an energy. Karnan is a good character in the Epic Mahabharatham but takes his role in the wrong side of the story. Known to be a Dayanidhi and Dharman. This song Ullathil Nalla Ullam projects his entire personality in a simple way. Even before this song two songs that I recollect from the movie are – Mazhai Kodukkum and Enna kuduppan. The way in which Kannadasan portrays Karnan is par excellence. No doubt that future generations too would love these songs. The songs means a lot and are just the naked TRUTH.
A brief history goes like this – Karnan is Kunthi’s eldest son but no one knows it. Karnan is the only qualified warrior to beat Arjunan (Kunthi’s 4th son). Karnan is known for his generosity and righteousness. And, karnan was Duryodhanan’s best friend. Let’s see how kannadasan puts his words to describe this great legend.
In the great battle of Kurukshetra, Karnan is hit by Arjunan’s arrows unlawfully. But he doesn’t die. Stunned Arjunan asks Lord Krishna the reason. For which, Krishan replies – ” Dharmam avan thalaiya kaakiradhu, padaithavanin valuvum adhan munn palikadhu”. Which means – His righteousness is saving his life. Even the creator’s power cannot over power this. Karnan’s generosity (well wishes he earned from poor and needy by donating everything he had) is saving his life. This is when Krishna transitions into a old begger and approaches Karnan who is battling for his life (undead). And there comes the song..
Ullathil nalla ullam
Vallavan vaguthadhadaa, Karna
The most beautiful amongst souls
Shall never fall to the fatal tell of time
Thus, say the greatest of men, Karna
Prepare for the fate that shall be thine.
- Thaaikku nee magan illai
Thambikku annan illai
Oor pazhi etraayadaa
Naanum un pazhi kondenadaa
You aren’t a son unto your own mother (referring to Kunti’s desertion)
And not a brother to each of your sibling (the Pandavas)
Oh! How you bore the insinuations!
I too shall be your sinner by my cunning. (The ploys Krishna uses to bare Karna)
- Mannavar paNi erkum
KaNNan paNi seyya
Manniththu arulvaayadaa, Karnaa
He who is served by the greatest kings
(That) Krishna, to serve you, is ready
By bowing to your magnanimity.
Karna, will you grace me with mercy? ( MY FAVORITE LINES)
- Senjotru kadantheerka
Seraatha idam sairndhu
Vanjaththil viyinthayadaa, Karna
To repay the hand that fed you
You pledged your loyalty to the vile Kauravaa
And fell in the trap of great deception, Karna.
(Though) the greatest knave is the son of Vasudeva.
As the song ends – the old begger (actually Krishna) reached to karna and asks for a donation. Karna, shocked tells him that he doesn’t have anything to give as he was battling for this life but the only thing that he can give at this point is his life. He also mentions that he would die peacefully if the beggar asks for something that he can give. Beggar smartly asks Karnan to donate the Puniyam, he earned through his generosity. Beggar (Krishna) knew that it was this Punniyan that was saving Karnan’s life. Without any hesitation, Karnan agrees to offer his Puniyam. With that Karnan’s story is over. But the future never forgot this legend.
Sivaji Ganesan, NTR, Kannadasan and MSV made this movie a real entertainer. Hope, I watch it again soon.