Shooting film songs

Picture the song: In ‘Tarali Raada Thane Vasantham’, a plea to liberate classical music

The popular song from K Balachander’s ‘Rudraveena’ denounces the belief that art belongs to a particular caste.

In his award-winning Telugu musical drama Rudraveena (1988), K Balachander posed poignant questions that remain relevant. Do Brahmins have a monopoly over the classical arts? Should classical music and dance be confined to designated sacred spaces? What happens if they are taken out of these spaces, into the wild and to the people?

Rudraveena tells the story of a conflict between Carnatic musician Bilahari Ganapathy Sastry (Gemini Ganesan) and his son Surya (Chiranjeevi). Surya reveres his father’s music and aspires to match up to him, but has radically different ideas about the purpose of art and the role of the artist.

A devout Brahmin, Sastry’s worldview is firmly entrenched in his caste. He believes that Carnatic music is too sacred to be sung anywhere and everywhere and belongs to the upper castes, and that artists must dedicate their lives to towards perfecting their skills. For Surya, music or any art is something that lives in, borrows from and responds to society. He is drawn to Lalitha (Shobhana), a Dalit woman who practises Bharatanatyam on a hill when she is refused entry into the temple because of her caste. Surya’s association with Lalitha further alienates Sastry.

A scene that best lays out the conflict is the one in which they are rehearsing for a concert. Sastry sings the refrain of Evari Maata Vinna and asks Surya to repeat after him. In the original tune, the composer Tyagaraja beseeches his god Rama to grant him an appearance. Just as Surya begins to sing, a beggar comes to their house. Sastry fumes when he sees Surya’s concentration waver, but Surya finds it hard to ignore the hungry beggar.

The scene is one of several instances in which Balachander uses music to heighten and highlight the tussle between father and son. All songs in Ilaiyaraaja’s brilliant soundtrack reflect on the central themes of Rudraveena. The track Chuttu Pakkala wonders whether artists can live in a cocoon. In Maanava Seva Drohama, Surya asks the question openly at a concert. But the song that delves deep into the themes is the soothing Tarali Raada Thane Vasantham.

While cycling in the woods, Surya sees a bunch of wood cutters slaving away even as their bodies are giving up on them. Surya runs to an old woodcutter and takes the axe from him. The woodcutters recognise Surya, and request him to sing for them. Surya begins with a traditional Carnatic alapana in Hamsadhwani raga, but finds that the woodcutters are standing around him looking clueless. “Can you sing a good song?” a woodcutter asks innocently.

Ilaiyaraaja begins Tarali Raada with the sound of the axe hitting the tree, then juxtaposes this sound with two axes clashing with each other to create an opening rhythm. The woodcutters pitch in too as Surya sings.

The lyrics, by Sirivennela Seetha Ramasasthry, argue that music cannot solely belong to one community or caste: “Don’t the clouds send rain to the earth when the waves cannot reach the skies; the breeze doesn’t discriminate as it blows; we don’t own anything; if we forget to share what we know, the world will perish.” Tarali Raada allows Surya to take his music to the people and thereby set it free. As he sings aloud, revelling in the beauty of nature, the song liberates him too.

Sastry confronts Surya at the end of the song. “Do you know the raaga of the song you were singing in the woods?” he asks. “Hamsadhwani,” Surya replies. “What you were singing was not Hamsadhwani but Himsadhwani,” Sastry grumbles.

Rudraveena (1988).
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.