Monday, April 10, 2006

The making of Saidapettai Mannaru: A lesson in perseverance

On Tuesday last week, I woke up to a call from Ganesh. He seemed very excited and started to rattle off dialogues in Madras Tamil and kept calling me Kabali. I was still asleep and did not understand what he was talking about. All that I could understand was that there was a “ghaana” song that he had composed to Thennavans lyrics. I did not pay heed to his words and listened to him half heartedly and fell fast asleep immediately after I kept the phone down. It was usual for Ganesh to be excited, but I didn’t know that he was very serious about this one. I was not every serious about the Madras “ghaana” song thingie till I reached his house on Saturday night. He was kind enough to pick me up on his way back from the Circus. We woke Thennavan up from his evening siesta and called him to Ganesh’s place. As usual, he brought us a pack of my favorite “Kaju Bharfis” and we forgot to reprimand him for his late arrival as soon as we saw that. We then chatted about a bit and as usual I argued with Thennavan about some trivial issues (we just love arguing).

Ganesh and Thennavan began brain storming about the dialogues for the mini skit at the beginning of the song. Ganesh was at his innovative best, often making us burst out in laughter with his antics. After nearly 2 hours we came up with the entire script and also made modifications to Thennavan’s lyrics. I came up with peechangaiya paaru and avicha muttai and Ganesh brilliantly modified veetiliruppadhu aaru to ooti valarthadhu aaru and we were finally ready to record the skit. It was 12AM then and we finished recording the skit by 1:30AM. We should have immediately started recording the song but were caught up with listening and admiring our recorded voices. We must have listened to the skit a thousand times that night admiring and congratulating ourselves on our performances (you must think that we are bloody narcissists, I think there is nothing wrong in it, like my thalaivar (kamal haasan) says, we are our biggest fans and critics:P)

So, finally after wasting a lot of time on listening to ourselves we finally got ready to record the song. It was 3AM and Annathe had to record the Karaoke version of the song first and we all started to feel very sleepy and decided to call it quits for the night. I slept that night at Annathe’s place and Mannaru also decided not to go home because we really were by that time very excited to see what the final product would look like. We all woke up at 9 AM and right after we brushed and got ready to record the song again. Annathe was still trying to record the Karaoke version and we rehearsed singing the song at least 10 times. Annathe was able to fix the chords and record the Karaoke version only by 2PM. It was a continuous struggle because we had to allow enough time for all our extra gimmicks and Annathe had to record it and feed it into the software on his laptop. After the Karaoke version was recorded we decided that it would be best that Annathe leads because he was the least likely to make mistakes while singing (coz me and Mannaru are yet to turn pro). We then encountered the biggest problem of them all; we had finished recording all our voices on separate tracks and everything seemed to be in perfect sync when the software on Annathe’s computer froze. It crashed and corrupted our files and when we mixed our voices it did not synchronize like before, this happened to us twice and both times it was my track which wasn’t in sync and I had to sing my part multiple times.

It was nearly 8 PM and I was really frustrated coz both Mannarus and Annathe’s tracks had come out fine, I asked Annathe to mix his and Mannaru’s voice first and I told them to post the song without my voice. Both Mannaru and Annathe refused to accept and strongly felt that my voice should feature in the song because of the effort we had already put in. We nevertheless went ahead and mixed their voices and I accidentally ran upon my voice file and asked Annathe if he could try mixing that file to check if it works and it did!! We were all so relieved and immediately finished the recording and posted it on Annathe’s corner. I told Annathe yesterday when he was dropping me on my way back home that I didn’t really care if people liked the song or not because I really enjoyed making the song with him and Mannaru and to hear the finished product itself was very fulfilling and a testament to Annathe’s perseverance. Annathe could have called it quits any time yesterday, but did not. Mannaru was infectious with his enthusiasm and had all our spirits high right throughout. I still remember Mannaru playing Anthakshari with Annathe’s kid while Annathe was recording the Karaoke. I wondered how he kept his enthusiasm alive the whole day, when even the most enthusiastic kid would have given up. Mannaru and Annathe really made it happen by being persistent and enthusiastic the entire time.
Kudos to our team! I am very proud of being part of a team like this.
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this wonderful venture and have learnt a lesson of patience and perseverance from two veterans.

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Lyrics: Mannaru
Singers: Annathe, Mannaru and Kabali
Actors: Ganesh, Thennavan and Robbie.


thennavan said...

Robbie, as I mentioned on Ganesh's post too, I had a lot of fun making Saidapettai Mannaru with both of you and your contributions in the areas of how the song should be sung and your voice intonations really added the pep to the whole exercise. Thanks a lot for your part in the group effort :-).

Anonymous said...

Hi Robbie..
Ennapa ithu??? Unga allarukkum oru periya vannakkam.. Jooper aa irukku intha Saidapettai Mannaru.. Hahahaaha... Eppidi da??? Avan thaana nee?? Oi Kabali.. Nee vaada Chennai ku.. Unnai oru kai paarthukiren..
Jokes apart.. Its a great work.. Keep it up.. Hope to hear more from u guys in the future.. Take care..

aditya said...

it was fun to hear this piece.

ROBBIE said...

hey thenns,
I thoroughly enjoyed making the song with you and I really hope we get the opportunity to work together as a team again.

ROBBIE said...

Dear Aditya,
I am glad that a person with your experience and expertise appreciates this song. I hope to hear more from you soon, remember that we are all big fans of yours.

Narayanan Venkitu said...


Idhu innappa...DVD kanukka...Making of Saidapettai Manaaru poshta.?? shokka ikeedhu.!

pattu chooper, dialogue chooper...mothathula..semma kalakkal.!!

ROBBIE said...

Hey Narayanan,
Puchudha!! chumma pheelings aaiduchu maamu!! danks thaleeva!

.:: Rosh ::. said...

Zaps..way to go! heard it frist frm Ganesh's blog, you guyz gave us a welcome break frm all the
khisa pita mushy songs we've been singing and listenin to for quite sometime. Hope to hear more songs..

ROBBIE said...

Hey Lens,
I am glad that you liked it. I dont know about ghisa pita mushy songs coz I havent heard any of them of late hehehe... ever since I've been in the kabali mode:P

Ganesh said...

well I am happy to see such good response from folks
robbie the small issue we faced was with the sequencing and not chords ;)
but glad we go that one fixed.

Anonymous said...

the song is well cool!! amazing voices mann!! do more songs and then you can make an album and then u can like get someone to produce it and then u will be famous!!!!
malavika!!!!!! (monkey!)

Shuba said...


ROBBIE said...

Hey Shuba,
Glad you liked it, we were laughing like hell while making the song, it was a great fun experience, I heard that my little cousin is singing this song all the time hehe...