Posted in Music - General, Poem

Saagaavaram – Uttama Villain

Lyrics by: Kamal Hassan

Music: M Ghibran

சாகாவரம் போல் சோகம் உண்டோ
கேளாய் மன்னா, கேளாய் மன்னா!

Is there anything as wretched as immortality?
Why won’t you listen my King, Ho..why won’t you listen?

தீரா கதையை கேட்பார் உண்டோ
கேளாய் மன்னா, கேளாய் மன்னா!

Is there anyone who would listen to never ending tales?
Why won’t you listen my King, Ho..why won’t you listen?

கணியர் கணித்த கணக்குப் படி நாம்
காணும் உலகிது
வட்டப் பந்தாம்..
வட்டப் பந்தாம்.. ஓ.. வட்டப் பந்தாம்.. ஓ..

As mathematicians (and astronomers) concluded,
This earth as we see, is a spherical ball.
Yes. It is spherical.

வட்டப் பந்தை வட்டமடிக்கும்
மற்றப் பந்தும்
போகும் மாண்டே..
போகும் மாண்டே.. ஓ.. போகும் மாண்டே.. ஓ..

And those balls that revolve
Around this spherical ball (earth)
Will cease to exist (some day). Yes. They will.

மாளா ஒளியாம் ஞாயிறும் கூட
மற்றோர் யுகத்தில் போகும்
கரிந்தே.. கரிந்தே..

Even Sun, the unending source of light,
Will fade away in millennia.
It will burn away. It will burn away.

கரிந்து எரிந்தும் வெடித்தப்பின்னும் உதிக்கும் குளம்பில் உயிர்கள் முளைக்கும்
முளைத்து முறிந்தும் துளிர்க்கும் வாழை தன் மரணத்துள்ளே வைத்தது விதையை
கேளாய் மன்னா.. ஓ.. கேளாய் மன்னா.. ஓ..

Lives will sprout from such expansion resulting from this burning explosion. (**reference to big bang theory**)
A fully mature plantain leaves a seed for new life inside its death. (**Plantain is a herbaceous plan**)
Why won’t you listen my King, Ho..why won’t you listen?

விதைத்திடும்  உன்னை போல் உயிரை
உயிர்த்து விளங்கும் என் கவிதை விளங்கும்..
கவிதை விளங்கும்.. ஒ..

My poem will get a life of its own and will prosper.
Just as your virility. It will live long.

விளங்கி துலங்கிடும் வம்சம் வாழ,
வாழும் நாளில் கடமை செய்ய,
செய்யுள் போல் ஒரு காதல் வேண்டும்.

For new generations to thrive,
And to fulfill (our) life’s obligation,
(We) need poetic love.

காதல் வேண்டும்.. செய்யுள் போல் ஒரு..
காதல் வேண்டும்.. செய்யுள் போல் ஒரு..

வேண்டியதெல்லாம் வாய்த்த ஒருவன்
சாவையும் வேண்டி செத்த கதைகள்
ஆயிரம் உண்டு…
கேளாய் மன்னா.. ஒ.. கேளாய் மன்னா!!

Many a lore can be found,
Of well provided for men seeking death.
Why won’t you listen my King, Ho..why won’t you listen?

I have been totally in awe of this song since I listened to it. Didn’t quite catch onto the lyrics the first time around. But the more I listen the more I get to appreciate the genius of Kamal Hassan.

“There is no sorrow as bad as the boon of longevity…”


More analysis:

If you read the line “வட்டப் பந்தை…” it ends with the word “மாண்டே”
And the next line starts with a variation of the word “மாளுதல்” (மாளா ஞாயிறு)
Even though the two lines should be read as two mutually independent sentences.
And read the next few lines..You will see the amazing word play.


Note: I copied the Thamizh lyrics from this blog
Thank you for letting me do so.


Besides fantasizing about being a Peter Gibbons at least for a couple of days at my work, I think I have a long way to go to realize some of the other fantasies. But like any ambitious man out there, I will get there! Note: All views expressed in this blog are mine alone and have got nothing to do with my company Cogent IBS, Inc., its employees or any of its affiliates.

9 thoughts on “Saagaavaram – Uttama Villain

  1. I would like to add few more points to your analysis..

    Foremost, a minor suggestion:
    “And those balls that revolve
    Around this spherical ball (earth)” – refers to the moon..
    (The translation might sound better with “And the other ball (moon) that revolves”)
    Hence, the moon ceases to exist and later the sun too dissolves in time to non-existence..

    The wordplay technique is nothing but அந்தாதி – AnthaaDi. A type of poem where the new verse starts with the ending word of previous verse. – This might be specifically used to invoke the idea that the universe is ultimately unending.. The life goes on and on.. Which is the theme of the lines “கரிந்து எரிந்தும் வெடித்தப்பின்னும் உதிக்கும் குளம்பில் உயிர்கள் முளைக்கும்..
    முளைத்து முறிந்தும் துளிர்க்கும் வாழை தன் மரணத்துள்ளே வைத்தது விதையை..”

    The first line that swept off my feet and got hooked to this song is, the need of poetic love..
    It could have been simply said as “கவிதை போல”.. It actually rhymes in a way to the song.. So can’t blame on musical usage of the words used.. Hence, I feel the usage “செய்யுள் போல்” has far deeper reach.. செய்யுள் – Traditional poetry.. It is not only poetic.. It possess certain other features too.. Such as – they fall into some structure, not a simple jumble of rhyming words.. They have genre, every type of செய்யுள் has its own meaning.. Usage of a specific genre denotes the context and the purpose of the song..

    Hence, the love is not mere lust,
    not for just a random person..
    The love must possess character,
    worthy of being carried through the millennium,
    bound by the structure,
    void of flaws..

    Only such divine love could help a person fulfill his destiny in a given birth..

    Isn’t this profound? Mind blowing?
    Hats off to Kamal Hassan for those lyrics..

  2. Before I typed out the lyrics, l searched for them and couldn’t get any over the net.. Since the song was so good, I really didn’t want anyone killing the lyrics with a wrong spelling or any other silly mistake.. Hence, came the post and along with that came a subsequent post with translation and an analysis or rather how it impacted me..

    The above comment is just a part of my draft..

    Since your post had a wonderful translation and also a very neat and justified analysis, I dropped the idea of my post, on the spot and added my draft as part of the Comments Section.. Hope you don’t mind..

    I must say, how I stumbled upon your post, for sure.. Copyscape just declared
    “The comparison below was created by Copyscape, which searched for copies of this page:
    The page below has 122 words matching 3% of the page, as highlighted below:

    If it was copied from my post, I’m honored that it eased your way to that awesome post.. 🙂
    If not, just ignore my ramblings.. 😉

    Bottom Line: You did complete justice in translating and analyzing that beautiful song.. It was eloquent, to the core and touching the heart..

    1. Hi,

      Firstly – Thank you for taking the time to share your comments.

      Now to clear the most important question 🙂 – I listened to the song and I was mesmerized by the lyrics. To save time from typing the whole lyrics in Thamizh (since it takes forever to type in Thamizh for me using the Thamizh font I have installed) I decided to search for the lyrics..I honestly don’t remember where copied the Thamizh lyrics from. It could have been from yours. If that is the case, Thank you very much. My intention of this post is clearly not to take credit for that but my focus was more on analyzing the lyrics and trying to translate it. In hindsight, I should have noted where I copied the Thamizh text from and should have referred it on my post. So thank you again…:)

      Appreciate your kind words again. That means a lot.

      I saw your other comment as well. I will respond to that soon.

      1. I thank you for your time in commenting to my post..

        I don’t mind you copying at all.. As I mentioned, I’m really really honoured..

        I liked your analysis and replied to it as I’m also a huge fan of this song..

        One song on repeat for the longest time..

        Happy to be useful… 😉

        Awaiting your reply on the other one..:)

      2. Hi, Thank you again for responding. Yes. This song stood out to me as well as one having the biggest impact lyrically.
        As for அந்தாதி – A Very Big Thank You. I totally missed connecting the dots. This is what happens when I stay away from Tamil Nadu for so long. 🙂 It makes sense. Kamal Hassan is a very big fan of Andhadhis.

        As for the other ball being Moon – Yes, I thought about it as well. But somehow, I feel Kamal means something bigger (knowing Kamal’s penchant for scientific reasoning and rational outlooks). So my interpretation here is that he is referring the solar system as a whole, the planetary revolutions and the fate of the sun. Fate of the sun is a very interesting topic of study for astrophysicists and there is still a debate going on as to if Sun will become a super nova or be a white dwarf. So again, this is just an interpretation. Also another reason why this song stood out to me because he touched upon immortality in the context of universal existence.

      3. The reason I concluded on moon is
        ..உலகிது வட்டப் பந்தாம்..
        *வட்டப் பந்தை
        மற்றப் பந்தும்*
        போகும் மாண்டே..

        Your view sounds logical.. But this one seemed simpler and down to earth, or actually down to moon.. 😉

        I had the opinion that he is gradually zooming out,
        Astrologers (human) > Earth > Moon > Sun > Universe > Big bang > Revival of life..

  3. Thank you so much for this! I have been searching for this for a long time. I had tears when I realized the part where The Big Bang Theory was explained. So I wanted to confirm whether my intuitions were right. Your translation and analysis is just wonderful. Aadhirai, you are just brilliant to point out about Andhaadhi. I seriously don’t know how many people would have even thought about it. I am not even sure how many people will understand what Andhaadhi means. Hats off to you guys.
    And as far as Kamal, he is truly a Legend. 🙂

    1. Thank you Gowtham for stopping by and for your kind comments. As for Kamal – he is a genius for sure but the writer in him doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves in my opinion.

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