Feb 27th was Polar Bear Conservation Day. And honestly, Kollywood ought to have been making noise about it. For Polar Bears are symbolic of that landscape our filmmakers try to squeeze into their stories whenever they can. Sometimes it may have a connection to the plot but more often than not, it’s that place where the Hero and Heroine go to cavort in their fantasy song sequence. As a film fraternity that loves and has countless snow-capped songs, it’s only right they do their bit to protect them.
Now, imagine a world without snow. Could Puthu Vellai Mazhai have been inspired into existence, set to tune that’s eternal, and shot so that it still makes us blush 19 years on?
Think of the retro wardrobe of reds, yellows, and blacks that Amala and Superstar sport as they stomp through the snow and do li’l jigs in the classic song Va Va Va Kanna Vaa. It is one of the early blueprints on how to dress stylishly when you visit ski slopes.
Snow makes room for all sorts of romance. There’s the gushing kind that wants to see Love in everything. A case in point is Alps Malai Kaatru. It features a struggling Manthra trying to keep up with the nimble-footed Prabhu. But close your eyes and listen. It all starts with the Snow and then it goes on to invoke Michaelangelo’s sculptures, the Gardens of Babylon, the Seven Wonders of the World, and the poetic genius of Percy Bysshe Shelly. That’s what Snow does. It kindles a spark with its cold touch and inspires us to flex our flights of fancy. So much so as to even romanticise BBC News.
Then there’s the more passionate kind. Think Meenamma that captures the honeymoon period in any love story. And it was the picturisation that helped seal this as a hit song of the 90s.
A more measured kind of love song set in snow is the iconic Malare Mounama, amplified by SPB’s gravitas and matched in demureness by S Janaki.
For those who have never seen snow in person, I’m sure one look at Seetha gambolling down white slopes in the song Idhazhil Kadhai Yezhuthum will make them want to add this experience to their bucket-list.
And who hasn’t wanted to bellow and declare at the sight of silvery peaks, “Pudhiya Vaaaaanam... Pudhiya Bhuuuumi”, just like MGR!
In all seriousness, global warming is not something exclusive to the snow underfoot the Polar Bears in the Arctic Circle. If it’s melting there, it’s also melting where our film crews go to capture evergreen images of romance. It’s time to step up and defend these places that have given room for so much of our imagination and passions. If not, there will be a day when the younger generation will look back and wonder where the Snow went. With it might go the inspiration for our prolific lyrics. And the ability to vividly capture the essence of cinematic love backed up by the magnificence of Snow.