Vignesh Eashwar renders Kalki’s translation of a Meera Bhajan

Gowri Ramnarayan introduces Vignesh Eashwar

Working on the translation of the Kalki biography, I realized that it was not enough for me to be faithful to the content, and to the thought processes of the writer of that original. I had to be true to myself too, as a writer, to my ways of absorbing that material and communicating that material in another language. This made me see Kalki with new eyes. He had started his life as a writer with an alarming challenge.  He translated Mahatma Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth.

Flash forward to 1944.

Kalki not only writes the screenplay for the film Meera, he also writes 6 songs for it, to be rendered by MS Subbulakshmi. You will hear one of them today, no, not the universal favourite Katrinile varum geetam, but one less remembered.I chose this because the song posed a challenge to Kalki.

A.  It had to be a translation of the original Hindi song (Pyare darsan) by the poet Mirabai.
B. It had to be structured to fit into metre and tune of that original song.

I roughly translate the words of the song here:

Was I wrong to have chosen you as my life’s companion? Even in my dreams, have I thought of anyone but you? Have I ever considered any other earthly joy? Don’t you know what it is to show compassion? Is it right to forget me?

My tears flow through the nights, my heart melts like wax in the flame, my tongue cries out your name, my heart is filled with agitations.

Like a bee humming over a flower, my heart at your feet, see, I sing of you! I seek your shelter, then… as now… Always…

Vignesh Ishwar has claimed it from the silver screen to present it for us today.

I introduce Vignesh Ishwar as a young Carnatic vocalist – who possesses in ample measure – the TWO innate attributes essential for quality. He has a resonant, malleable voice, and a discerning taste in music. He also possesses the intelligence, and the rigorous training from gurus Palakkad Anantharama Bhagavatar and TM Krishna, to make the best use of them.

Vignesh has a Master’s degree in sound & music technology, and has been working on assignments amalgamating them both in several projects – with the research team at IIT, the Music Technology Group (Barcelona), the CompMusic project, the European Research Council.