Once, something catches your attention. You live with it. You go about telling everyone about it. It suddenly vanishes in to the bylanes of memory. You start having those sudden bursts of past experiences followed by a stream of continuous calm and you learn to live with it. Then, it comes back to stay, again
The “something” in this story is “Scribbles on Akka“, a 2001 musical documentary by Madhusree Dutta, on Akka Mahadevi, a 12th century Kannada bhakti-poet. I have to confess that I never had the opportunity to see the full film. But, the amazing six songs from this documentary are available on youtube. They are the ones that never left me after the first hearing
Here is a trailer of the film for starters.
(there are nude looking paintings. So, someone who thinks they can’t “see” such things on screen can just listen to the songs by looking somewhere else … as I couldn’t find an audio-only link so far!)
All the song videos on youtube can be accessed here. They are short but left a lasting impression on me. I don’t know how people sing Akka Mahadevi vachanas usually, but I like this Ilayaraja and Bombay Jayashree touch
I found six songs on youtube and most of them (according to me) leave you in deep thought, if you watch the video coupled with audio… or listen to the audio coupled with video!
My favorite from among them remains – “Onthalla, Iradalla“. It completely occupied my imagination for several days after I first heard it and still does whenever I listen to it.
“Kaisiri Agandhava“, according to me, is an amazing visual interpretation (watch the video and listen to the song!). “Enakegayya” was the toughest song for me to understand/watch but then, I felt that the video and the chorus has had more more impact on me than everything else in this album (everything including my favorite..onthalla, iradalla). “Indra neelada” was another very interestingly picturised song in the initial parts. I loved listening to the song more than watching it though. “Kamanathaliya Korithu” also was visually very interesting although I did not understand this despite the subtitles, despite watching it a few times.
“Bettathu Mele manaiya“, the last song of the album, did not not have too much of video attached to it, except for the initial few seconds. But, although I loved the lyrics (this was the only one which I understood directly without subtitles, when I heard for the first time!), what caught my attention more were the end credits
Here is what the film maker says about these songs:
” Six songs are composed for a one hour non-fiction film. We picturised them on assorted images of contemporary women creating small spaces, making small transgressions, initiating minor revolts. In Bombay suburban train a woman commuter balances her limbs and cuts vegetables, in a Karnataka village a feudal housewife reads a forbidden text after the whole world falls asleep, in a gothic church an ordinary woman puts her wedding ring on herself – she marries Christ. They are different women, ordinary women – through whom Akka survives. But they should be played by one actress. The actress is Seema Biswas. “
(Link to full article here)
I wish I would one day be able to see the film. Until then, my scribbles on the scribbles are only about the short video songs