"Mounamelanoyi" song – the magic of Ilayaraja and Veturi

In director K.Vishwanath‘s masterful creation “Sagara Sangamam“, music and lyrics play a big part. The magic of Ilayaraja‘s music is amplified by the wonderful lyrics provided by Veturi. In this article, I take a look at the lyrics of the haunting melody song in the movie – “mounamelanoyi ii marapu raani reyi”. This simple and soothing composition is wonderfully rendered by SPB and Janaki.

The situation of the song is quite unique, something that shows the genius of K.Vishwanath. A married lady (female lead in the movie) who is separated from her husband due to some differences meets a dancer (male lead). Their artistic tastes meet and they soon become very good friends. Their mutual admiration leads to the bloom of love, unexpressed as yet. This song focuses on the feelings of the lady and the conflicts within her given her marital status. She is not yet legally divorced and so she has to decide between her marriage and her new found love. This song is basically a conversation she has with her own self. Her heart speaks to her gently, asking her to acknowledge her feelings and cajoling her to express her love. 

Pic courtesy: http://cinemachaat.com/

Normally such songs would be solo songs. But K.Vishwanath shows his brilliance again by making this a duet. It is as if the guy is questioning her. The guy is also struggling to acknowledge and express his feelings so the lyrics apply to him too. On top of this, Vishwanath also adds the backdrop of a first-night song. In the movie, this song is played in the first-night of a newly wed couple, the bridegroom being the male lead’s friend. On such a night, the bride, though full of love, is filled with shyness. She takes her time to get the confidence to open up and express herself. The female lead’s mental state is similar though her situation is different. So this song is a 3 in one – a first-night song, a song of a guy in love and a song of a lady in love and conflict.

Writing lyrics for such a situation is challenging, but luckily for Vishwanath there is Veturi. Lyricist Veturi is known for his multi-layered lyrics. His lyrics tend to have a slight ambiguity in them and can often be interpreted in a way chosen by the listener! This approach leads to frustration in the listener at times, but it is perfect for this situation. Veturi choses to take the simple route and expresses feelings so subtly that describing their meaning would kill the beauty of the song! One can best appreciate this song only in Telugu. But here I attempt a translation in plain English, knowing fully that I am not doing justice at any level!

My translation only interprets the lyrics from the perspective of the female lead. Other interpretations are possible, as I just described. In fact, my friend Surya Prabha gaaru wrote her own translation on Facebook. Her beautiful translation has motivated me to write this post, so I thank her for the inspiration. 

Now put yourself into the character and situation of the female lead. Imagine a beautiful full-moon night when you are all alone (or possibly walking silently along with your lover). Listen to your heart! What is it saying?

The Hook:

Why this silence dear, on this unforgettable night?
When the moonlight inside you is dangling in your bright eyes…
(And silently expressing your love)

Stanza 1:

Those lips of yours that utter sweet words, why are they trembling?
And what is hiding behind those trembling lips?

When two hearts entwine,
When youth blooms (in love),
Those naughty whispers you hear,
Those sweet nothings conveyed by the tender breeze,
Aren’t they nudging you to open up?

(And yet)
Why this silence dear, on this unforgettable night?

Stanza 2:

(Look at this beautiful night!)
A snow is falling in the lap of the moon
A flower is blooming at the moon-light’s door-step…

(And yet you are still wondering…)
Are these (steps with him) the seven steps (of marriage)?
Or are these (just) pools of love (that never culminate in marriage)?

The throbbing of the feminine youth
The dreams woven by the eyes
Knowing these fully…

Why this silence dear, on this unforgettable night?

The song is very beautifully picturized by Vishwanath, as can be seen in the Youtube video below.

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