In fact, when I was witnessing the re-recording, I didn’t know about the name of the film. It was only in the late evening, as a last piece of recording, the title music was getting recorded; and at that time, I came to know the film name as "Soorakkottai Singakutty"
Many of you might have seen the films Raaja Paarvai, Nizhalgal etc in which the typical recording hall and other arrangements were shown.
Let me recall the one I witnessed on that day.
It’s a rectangular type of small hall, on one side the projecting room and console room is situated and opposite to that is the medium size screen.
Rectangular glasses are seen on the sides of the side-walls, which show us there are small rooms behind that hall, from where the people can “see” what is happening in the hall and vice versa! These rooms are mainly meant for the singers and the chorus team and some time certain groups of instruments are played from there also!
In the hall other than centre portion, some isolated groups of instruments are housed with the chairs and instrument/note stands arranged for the specific instrumentalists!
Generally what I remember to have seen are the sections of Keyboards, Lead and Rhythm guitars, Percussion instruments, Violin (Strings) groups, Flutes (Woodwind) groups etc are accommodated in the hall, all of them generally can easily face the screen as well as the central area.
As I could guess from my logical sense, most of these instruments in that hall are either directly connected through cable to the console or instruments that will make gentle or mild sound and can co-exist without disturbing the other. Main singing voices and choral voices are accommodated in the individual glass rooms for more clarity.
Some of you might have guessed now and felt the shortcomings of being in the main recording hall. i.e.
You Can Only Hear Some Partial Music that are going on from that hall!
It’s so because, keyboard, Guitar type of instruments when the cable is connected in them, immediately they are muted and the sound can be heard only in the console room.
Similarly, voices behind the glass room also directly goes to the console and again you can’t hear them if you are in the hall!
So, it’s the violins, flutes and the rhythms that are what reaching you directly, whose sounds are picked up by powerful microphones fitted near them.
But don’t worry; at the time of rehearsal all the instruments are available for you to hear!
Now the central portion is obviously meant for IR with his Harmonium and the chair for him.
When I entered the hall, most of the arrangements were ready, but the people were not there except the boys who arrange them and connecting and checking the cable, the crew which was checking the film clips to be screened etc. I had taken refugee near the area where the Keyboards and guitars were kept.
Slowly people started entering the room and took their positions. They are the people of so jovial and blast and enjoy nature and all the things that go with them cannot be explained! You may feel as if you are in a College class room, before the period starts!
But suddenly everything went off and a forced silence crept in, which I could not believe or understand why, what happened to them!
Then I realized that IR has just entered! The discipline you witness there is unprecedented!
He took his seat and immediately the hall lights were dimmed and the screening started!
Firstly, the selected film clipping started rolling without any kind of sound! It was a totally new experience, as if you are viewing a movie in a TV after pressing the mute button!
If you have VCD/DVD player try that! See a particular significant portion of the movie without the sound and then again with sound! You will realize what the sound and music means to a film!
As I could guess, the portion is that from the Climax. A few emotional scenes between Vijayakumari (VK) and Prabhu both tied to pillars and villain and gang laughing and witnessing the drama. After full throated emotional outburst of VK, Prabhu break open the shackles with the whole pillar coming down and there starts the fighting for about 10 minutes with police & others finally arriving and the film to end!
So many time such scenes are scene in films, but this time I was seeing them without any sort of sound in a mini-screen and of us witnessing them in utter silence except a few comic scenes in fighting (including VK’s emotional outburst moment) when some smiles and gentle laugh came from some of the people !
I also saw a lot of markings of circles and cross marks in the corner of the film appearing and dis-appearing ! After this climax scene, a few more clippings from the same film was also screened ! With all bits and pieces, you cannot make it out what the film is or what its actual story!
Once this cycle is over, once the again screening process started after re-rolling the films in the projector!
This time I could hear all the dialogues at the appropriate place. Now it made a little more sense to me! But again there were no other music or any kind of sounds like fighting sounds, dashing etc! Again you feel very awkward to see a whole lot of fighting scene in such a silence atmosphere! You will simply loose interest to watch any film in such conditions!
Once the complete screening is over, the light went on full, and feeble whispering noises of small conversations started in the hall, with people getting up and many moving out of the hall !
I was totally puzzled, what is happening there!
We start with a climax, and also without any sound and after that all people getting up and go out and the hall returned to utter silence!
But to my surprise, IR didn’t go out, rather now he took some notebook kept on his harmonium and took his pencil and started writing something making the harmonium as his desk!
He was in such a deep thinking and went on writing as if he was possessed by something!
A few handful of artists, went near him with their notepad pencil etc and some took the chairs and sat near him and others stood surrounding him, as if a steno is standing and ready to take dictation!
I was not having the guts to go near and see what he is writing but just keep on watching the process of his writing and others standing over and looking over his neck and copying what he is writing.
This process went on for some 15 to 20 minutes! He finished his writing and the others were still continuing copying!
A few doubts among others and some exchanges of words and the process are over!
And now, even IR and his remaining gang got up and went out of the hall!
What is happening and where is the music and where is the recording?
Shall I also go out and see? But I didn’t do that as I believed that if I leave the hall, I may not get back into the hall once again!
So what? I instructed to myself “Stick to your place and just wait for the things to happen!”
And when people re-assembled after this break, every one of them had their portion of sheets ready in front of them and few tried them and that’s the fist time I heard some musical sound on that day! Again it didn’t make any sense to me!
But after a few minutes, again the silence gripped the hall.
Then IR entered and went to the centre of the hall and put his headphone on his head. After a few tense moments among the players in that hall, he turned towards the violin group and started waving his hands and thus came the Magic!
Magic of music! Created by God of Music!
What to say, one can die at that instant moment!
My purpose of Birth was already over on that day!