Nadhiye Nadhiye – The Beauty Of Neer And Penn!

Director Vasanth’s movie ‘Rhythm’ (2000) had a very interesting soundtrack, the album included 5 songs in A.R Rahman’s music and the lyrics were penned by Vairamuthu. Each of these 5 songs represented the 5 major element of the universe, water, wind, earth, sky and fire.

5 Elements

When ‘Kaatre en vaasal’ mentioned wind as the breeze of love, ‘Thaniye thannanthaniye’ conveyed a lover’s longing in reference to the earth’s patience. When ‘Anbe’ had woven the feelings of a girl in love with the free floating clouds in the sky, ‘Aiyyo Pathikichu’ depicted sensuality with fire. ‘Nadhiye Nadhiye’ compared women with water, the song is extremely soothing to listen and also gives the listener a chance to think about the similarities between water and women. ‘Nadhiye Nadhiye’ is amazingly poetic and takes us through the life of a women along with some facts of life.

Today we are taking a dive into the magnificent lyrics of ‘Nadhiye Nadhiye’. And while we look at the lyrics please don’t miss the beautiful rhythm that Rahman had composed to give the song a folkish nature and a slight shyness and naughtiness, lets start by humming:
“Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dheematanana Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dhirana!”

The songs begins with a question to the water body: “Nadhiye Nadhiye Kadhal Nadhiye Neeyum Penthane?”
(Oh river, river of love, aren’t you a woman?)

Then the lyricist goes on to say that, “Ondra Iranda Kaaranam Nooru Kettaal Solvene, Nee Kettaal Solvene!” (Not one or two but i can give you a hundred reasons if you ask) and then he lists a set of reasons to prove that the river (water) is a woman.

“Nadanthaal Aaru, Ezhunthaal Aruvi, Nindraal Kadalallo!”
(You are a river as you walk, a waterfall as you get up and an ocean as you stand)


“Samainthal Kumari, Mananthaal Manaivi, Petraal Thaiyallo”
(The woman is a young lady as she attains puberty, a wife as she gets married and a mother as she gives birth)

Lovely! The three stages that the water and the women pass through! Both of them gets a stature change with each stage. As the water body become the vastest as an ocean, a women becomes the greatest as a mother!

“Siru Nadhigale, Nadhiyidum Karaigale, Karai Thodum Nuraigale, Nuraigalil Ival Mughame!”
(Oh streams, Oh shores through the streams flow, Oh foams that touch the shore, the foams make her face)

“Thinam Moathum Karai Thoarum Ada Aarum Isai Paadum
Jil Jil Jil Enra Sruthiyilae
Gangai Varum Yamunai Varum Vaigai Varum Porunai Varum
Jal Jal Jal Enra Nadaiyilae”
(When the streams hit the shore, they sing in the Jil Jil Jil rhythm,
The rivers of Ganges, Yamuna and Vaigai shows tolerance in there rhythmic flow)

“Kadhali Arumai Pirivil Manaiviyin Arumai Maraivil Neerin Arumai Arivai Kodayile!”
(You will know the value of your lover as she leaves you, your wife as she passes away and the water in the dry summer)

“Vetkam Vanthaal Urayim Viralgal Thottaal Urugum Neerum Pennum Ondru Vaadayile”
(Both freezes when they are shy, melts when touched, the water and women are same in the winters)


The protagonist of the film, Karthikeyan (Arjun) had lost his wife in a train accident (which is shown in the flashback). This song appears in the opening of the film when the audience are unaware of the hero’s past but when we listen to the song after watching the movie we understand the pain of the character is induced in the words “Manaiviyin Arumai Maraivil”. And also, women and water are often taken for granted, these lines tell us that we would know their value only in their absence.

“Thanneer Kudathil Pirakkirom Oho! Thanneer Karayil Mudikkirom Oho!”
(We are born from the water in the woman’s womb and also we end up in the shores of water!)

This is deep! In the circle of life we come from water and we end up in water. (In the Hindu rituals the ashes after cremating a dead body will be diluted in a holy river or sea, which is mentioned as “Thanneer Karayil Mudikkirom”)


“Vanna Vanna Penne, Vattamidum Nadhiye, Valaivukal Azhagu! Ungal Valaivukal Azhagu!
Mellisaigal Padithal Medu Pallamaraithal Nadhigalin Guname Athu Nangayin Guname!”
(Oh colorful girl, oh flowing river, your curves are beautiful!
The soft singing and covering the ups and downs of the body is the river’s quality, it’s the woman’s quality!)

“Thaenkaniyil Saaraki Pookkalile Thenagi Pasuvinile Paalaagum Neere!
Thaayaruke Seiyaki Thalaivanidam Paayaki Seiyaruke Thaayakum Penne!”
(Oh water, you become juice in a fruit, honey in a flower and milk in a cow!
Oh woman, you become a child to your mother, companion to your husband and mother to your child!)

The changing of roles! When water changes it’s form according to where it is placed, women changes her roles according to whom she is with!

“Poonguyilae Poonguyilae, Pennum Aarum Vadivam Maara Koodum!
Neer Ninaithal Penn Ninaithal Karaigal Yaavum Karaindhu Poga Koodum!”
(Oh cuckoo, the water and the woman can change their physicality.
If the water determines, if the woman determines, they can turn all shores dry!)

Yes, here the second line shows the strength that water and women posses. They can change the entire world into a large piece of barren land!

[Nadhiye Nadhiye…]


First, salute to ‘Kaviperarasu’ Vairamuthu for developing such a brilliant thought. We would have never thought of drawing parallels between water and women. The song sounds so fresh and melodious even after 17 years and repeated hearing but that’s just an A.R Rahman thing! The song was beautifully shot by director Vasanth and cinematographer P.S Vinod. We have always heard lyrics that praise women, describe her beauty and the show the hero’s feelings for her in various film songs but ‘Nadhiye Nadhiye’ stands out to be special as it portrays the qualities of a women! The song teaches us to respect the ladies in our lives, even when the poet says “Thalaivanidam paayagum penne” (the lyricist refers the husband as Thalaivan or boss) he states that “Penn ninaithal karaigal yaavum karaindhu poga koodum”.

The power of creation and destruction is given in the hands of women.┬áHer responsibilities, her roles and their changes and her power is beautifully, poetically written! Also when water is compared to women, it makes us feel women are the most beautiful creation of God (they are actually)! Nowadays it’s a blessing if film song lyrics mean something and if it has theme to it that’s counted as a bonus! And there is this song that released 17 years ago hailing womanhood! All we can ask for is for more songs with lyrics that will give us something to think about and show us some values of life!

Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dheematanana Dheemtanana Dheemtanana Dhirana!

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About the Author

Mahima Nandakumar
Hardcore Film Lover and Ardent Movie Goer, Aspiring Film Maker.

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