పచ్చదనమే – Pacchadaname

I almost died when I looked at the people behind the song ‘Pachadaname’ in the movie Sakhi, which is definitely an all-time classic. This boasts a deadly Mani Ratnam – A R Rahman – Hariharan – Veturi combination and adding to that is how beautiful Shalini looks in this film. It is a pity that nobody is answering my prayers and working to get her back onto the silverscreen although I hate to confess that time really has taken a toll on her.

Also, while researching for this post, I stumbled upon the fact that quite a few of Veturi’s relatively recent classics are in fact translations and it was only one man – Vairamuthu – in Tamil who has penned down all of them. This is not at all demeaning as translation is a non-trivial task (ahem!) and Veturi has a lot of originals to his name (which I promise to do next time). A more detailed analysis of his creative insights can be found here.

Lyrics at best add to the vibrance of a tune, for this same <insert superlative here> melody can be heard in ‘Alaipayuthey’ and ‘Saathiya’ and it is this which transcends the boundaries of language and culture. No wonder people find it easier to recognize Rahman, but that really doesn’t mean we should be ignoring the one who gives tunes a voice, a song a context and the bundle of emotions it can evoke. Well, movies as a whole are a vastly interconnected form of media and I don’t wish to digress by talking about how it is captures a part of every mode of recreation since the dawn of civilization.

Do watch the video. I really had to look for a HQ version of it. This song is all about appreciation and has no coherent meaning isolated or as part of the storyline. And what a sight each one of the scenes in the video are and how well they go with the lyrics! (The scenes in blue are cinematographic masterpieces)

Madhavan having spoken to Shalini is now on cloud nine and has a whole new perspective of the world around him. Although, being questioned whether or not one is a rich, dissolute person rarely makes for a first romantic encounter, Maddy makes the best of the situation and goes into a song.

సఖియా….చెలియా…
కౌగిలి కౌగిలి కౌగిలి చెలి పండు

సఖి = చెలి = companion (usually female)

‘O friend, a hug is a fruit of companionship’

సఖియా…చెలియా
నీ ఒంపే సొంపే తొణికిన తొలి పండు

ఒంపు = curvaceous
సొంపు = grace

‘O friend, your voluptuousness and your grace is the first of what you had shed’

పచ్చందనమే పచ్చదనమే
తొలి తొలి వలపే పచ్చదనమే
పచ్చిక నవ్వుల పచ్చదనమే
ఎదకు సమ్మతం చెలిమే

పచ్చందనం = పచ్చి + చందనం
వలపు = desire
పచ్చిక = grass
సమ్మతం = agreeable

‘Fresh, moist sandalwood is green. The first moment of desire was green, as green as the bright shining grass (personified using laughter). And what the heart only desires is romance’

పచ్చందనమే పచ్చదనమే
ఎదిగే పరువం పచ్చదనమే
నీ చిరునవ్వు పచ్చదనమే
ఎదకు సమ్మతం చెలిమే

ఎదుగు = grow
పరువము = youth

‘Fresh, moist sandalwood is green. Blossoming as a youth is green. Your beaming smile is green. And what the heart only desires is romance’

కలికి చిలకమ్మ ఎర్రముక్కు
ఎర్రముక్కులే పిల్ల వాక్కు
పువ్వై పూసిన ఎర్ర రోజా
పూత గులాబి పసి పాదం

కలికి చిలుకమ్మ = a charming lady (commonly used metaphor with a parrot)
వాక్కు = speech

‘The cute red nose of a charming lady is what does the speaking and her youthful feet are like a freshly blossomed rose’. The word గులాబి is a good example of a loan word having Hindustani roots and it isn’t very surprising, considering the Mughal influence in the Deccan since the 16th century.

ఎర్రని రూపం ఉడికే కోపం
సంధ్యావర్ణ మంత్రాలు వింటే
ఎర్రని పంట పాదమంటే

సంధ్యావర్ణ మంత్రాలు = Sandhyāvandana

‘Your florid figure means boiling with anger, does it?’ (in a playful tone)

I am slightly unsure about the next line. Or it might be that Veturi himself put that line just for the aesthetics. The literal translation is quite absurd and also the video, all of a sudden, diverts from depicting the lyrics. (Would be really helpful if someone peeked into the Tamil lyrics)

‘Listening to Sandhyāvandana makes (అంటే – sticks to) one learn a ruddy, fruitful Pādam (devotional song. Let’s keep the definition there for now)

The Tamil lyrics on the other hand, seem to be translating to
‘The twilight sky and the giant ball of fire (the Sun)’ which makes much more sense.

కాంచనాల జిలుగు పచ్చ
కొండబంతి గోరంత పచ్చ
పచ్చా…పచ్చా..పచ్చా…

కాంచనం = Gold
జిలుగు = mesh/cloth

‘A mesh of gold is green (Fact: Copper is responsible for the greenish tint of gold). The filament of a cornflower is full of green. Green! Green! Green!’

మసకే పడితే మరకత వర్ణం
అందం చందం అలిగిన వర్ణం

మసక = dimness
మరకత = emerald
వర్ణం = colour

‘And once night falls, it turns into emerald green…a colour which hides within it beauty’

Also ‘అందం చందం’ is a perfect example of ‘reduplication‘ and so is ‘English – Vinglish‘.

అలలే లేని సాగర వర్ణం
మొయిలే లేని అంబర వర్ణం
మయూర గళమే వర్ణం
గుమ్మాడి పూవు తొలి వర్ణం
ఊదా పూ రెక్కలపై వర్ణం
ఎన్నో చేరెనీ కన్నె గగనం
నన్నే చేరె ఈ కన్నె భువనం

మొయిలు = clouds
మయూరము = peacock
గళము = neck
గుమ్మాడి = pumpkin
ఊదా పూవు = brinjal flower
కన్నె = కన్య (వికృతి)

‘The colour of a sea without waves, the colour of a sky without clouds, the colour of a nascent pumpkin flower, the colours of the petals of a brinjal (eggplant) flower, like a vast sky which reaches out to so many, this maiden reaches out to me’

రాత్రి నలుపే రంగు నలుపే
వానాకాలం మొత్తం నలుపే
కాకి రెక్కల్లో కారు నలుపే
కన్నె కాటుక కళ్ళు నలుపే
విసిగి పాడే కోయిల నలుపే
నీలాంబరాల కుంతల నలుపే

Here the word నీలాంబరాల is a filler (and seems to be one of Veturi’s cliches). I couldn’t find something analogous in the Tamil lyrics, but the words seem to be taking up the space very well. Having just one of these is a minute offence compared to modern day lyrical marvels like this.

‘The night is black, its colour black. The wet season is totally black. The wings of a crow are jet-black. The colour of mascara and that of the iris is black. The Koel which sings in perpetuity is black and so are your locks of hair’

తెల్లని తెలుపే ఎద తెలిపే
వానలు కడిగిన తుమి తెలుపే
ఇరుకనుపాపల కథ తెలిపే
ఉడుకు మనసు తెలిపే
ఉరుకు మనసు తెలిపే

తుమి = Leucas aspera

‘What the soul conveys is the purest shade of white. The ‘Thumbai’ flower, washed in rain, is white. The story of your two pupils is told by your bubbly and vigorous mind’

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