One of the greatest songs ever made on The city of Kashi

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Shivatathvam, one of the greatest energies we can experience. It’s not a religious process but an emotion. Lord Shiva is the epitome of energy. Hence, he has a cult following among other gods. His philosophy, a way of life inculcates an internal peace with an undying power within us. There have been many songs in Telugu, celebrating his emotion and power. But this one song, explains the greatness of the most popular shrine of Lord Shiva, Varanasi. It is ‘BhamBham Bole’ from Megastar Chiranjeevi’s “Indra (2002)”.

The best part of Shivatathvam, is experiencing Lord Shiva’s exuberance, his dance form Shiva Tandavam. Taking the energy of Thandavam as the intricate base rhythm, and explaining the specialty of the holy city of Kashi, this song gives a perfect start to this massive hit film. This vibrant cinematic rock song is composed by the king of melody in Telugu Movies, Mani Sharma who was at his best possible form. And it is written by the self-proclaimed Shiva disciple, legendary Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry, who once again proved that he can add the intellectual devotion in a commercial song. Now let’s have an analysis of this track.

Lyric Breakdown:

Pallavi:

BhamBhamBholeShankamMogele
DhamDham Dole Chelaregindile
BhamBhamBholeShankamMogele
DhamDham Dole Chelaregindile

TaddinakadinDaruvaiSandadiRegani
PodduleruganiParugaiMundukuSaaganee
TaddinakadinDaruvaiSandadiRegani
PodduleruganiParugaiMundukuSaaganee

VilasangaaSivanandaLahari
MahaagangaPravahangaaMaari
VisaalaakshiSamethangaa Cheri
VaraaliccheKaasiiPurii

||BhamBhamBhole……..VaraaliccheKaasiiPurii ||

Picking up the Tandav Rhythm, Sirivennelagaru opens the song with the hook lines “BhamBham bole…MundukuSaaganee”, indicating a start to the song which means, “The conch has been blown, and the drum rolls have been given. So, celebrate the groove and march forward till the dawn and dusk”. In the next lines, the end of pallavi in “Vilasanga… KaasiPuri”, it just explains the formation of the city of Kashi, explained as “In his extravagant mood, Lord Shiva along with Goddess Visalakshi in the banks of the splendid river Maha Ganga, will bestow prosperity to you in this city of Kashi”.

The first interlude is composed with the chorus of “BhamBhamBholenath”, the chants given by the disciples of Lord Shiva. It is perfectly accompanied with progressions on acoustic guitars, string sections and dhol rhythms.

Charanam 1:

VaranaasiniVarnincheNaaGeethika
NaatiSrinaadhuniKavitheVinipinchagaa
MuktikaiMaargamChoopeManikarnika
AlladeAndinaayiChiruGhantika

DhamakuDhamakaalaiYedaLayaleKeerthanaCheyagaa
YamakuYamakaalaiPadagatuleNarthanaCheyagaa
PrathiAduguTaristondiPradakshinagaa

|| Vilasangaa……VaraaliccheKaasiiPurii ||

The first charanam, explains the history of Kashi in a single stanza. That takes a mind of genius to explain the ‘Sthalapuranam’ in one paragraph! The first two lines “Vaaranasini… Vinpinchaga”, translates to “The song in which I’m describing about Varanasi, is explained through the poem of ‘KaviSarvabhoumaSrinadha’. In it he says

‘ఆనందంబుననర్థరాత్రములచంద్రలోకముల్కాయగా, నానాసైకతవేదికాస్థలములంనల్దిక్కులున్శంభుగా,
శ్రీనాథున్తరుణేందుశేఖరుఁశివుఁశ్రీకంఠునిన్పాడుదు, న్మేనెల్లన్పులకాంకురప్రాకారముల్నిండారమిన్నేటిలోన్!’

Which means ‘In the night filled with bliss, as the moonlight pervades and is reflected by the sandy daises, I would sing in all directions about Shambu, the lord of kasha, the one adorned with the cresent moon. Shiva, the one with blue throat, I am experiencing goosebumps all over my body, standing in the divine river Ganga’.” How genius one should be in writing a song taking reference from another poem!

The next lines from “Mukthi…Ghantika”, explains why Kashi is considered holy to die. These lines mean, “At Manikarnikaghat, where last rites of dead people are done, it is said that Lord Shiva himself would speak the final words giving the person eternity. Thus peace is attained when the as soul flickers away in the pulsating tiny bells.”

The next lines “DhamakuDhamakaalai….Pradakshinagaa”, means “Through the rolls of dhamru, the heart beat resonates the song of life, the feet dances to its rhythm, resulting in every step embracing the devotion!”

The second interlude starts with a traditionalfemale chorus singing the lines

“KaarteekaMaasaanaVevelaDepaalaVelugantaSivaleelaKaadha
PriyamaaraMadilonaEeswaruniDhyaasinthe
Mana KashtameTolagipodaa”

Which is a song for the ritual done in the Month of Kartheekam, where they pray Lord Shiva by leaving small scented lamps into the water, praying the god to show them the light of prosperity and good health for the family. This interludes progresses into the cues of first interlude.

Charanam 2:

EdurayyeSilayeAyinaa Siva Lingame
MahimaKaaduMahadeviVaradaaname

ChiranjeevigaaNilichindiEeNagarame
CharitalakuAndanidiKailaasame

GaaliloNithyamVinaledaa, AahOmkaarame
GangaloNithyamKanaledaa Siva Kaarunyame
TaralirandiTelusukondiKaasiMahima

|| Vilasangaa……VaraaliccheKaasiiPurii ||
||BhamBhamBhole……..VaraaliccheKaasiiPurii ||

This second charanam, explains the prominence of the holy city of Kashi. The first four lines “EdurayyeSilaye……Kailaasame” says, “Every stone you encounter in this city resembles the Shiva Lingam, which is not a miracle but a boon to this place. This city is very much immortal as the Kailasam itself”

The next lines “Gaalilo… KaasiMahima” translates to “Every breath of air always resonates with the sound of ‘OM’, every drop of the river Ganga gives you the purity of Lord Shiva’s grace. Just come to this holy place and know its’ glory!”

This song would be as immortal as the city of Kashi itself. And brilliantly rendered by the marvelous duo Shankar Mahadevan and Hariharan, the song intricately has a classical touch and energy because of them. This song would be memorable also because of the glory of Chiranjeevi and his graceful moves. Once again, the man behind this composition has to be given credit, Mani Sharma has lifted the song to another level through his powerful arrangements and subtle harmonies. And hats off to the god’s gift to telugu cinema, SirivennelaSeetharamaShasthrygaru.