Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's a long way to Tipperary......

TP Kailasam is one of Karnataka's better-known humorists. Though he passed away about sixty years ago, he is remembered quite often even now in many contexts. A host of delightful stories, anecdotes and witticisms are attributed to him.

He was a very interesting person. He reportedly could blow smoke rings and spell out his name with them. How cool is that! (I mean, not his smoking, you know what I mean!) He was a master punster, and often refered to himself as "Typical Ass".

Most anecdotes are best told and understood in Kannada, but here is one interesting story. Once, while Gandhiji was staying for a while at Nandi Hills, there was a concert by the great violinist T.Chowdaiah. Gandhiji, enjoying the magnificent music, turned to Kailasam, who sat next to him, and asked, "Who is this great man?" Immediately, Kailasam replied, "Oh, Bapuji, you are a great non-violinist, but this Chowdaiah is a pakka violinist!" He was rewarded with a wide toothless grin.

On another occasion, somebody asked Kailasam, "You say that Sir M.Vishweshwaraiah is blessed with sixth sense, does that mean that nobody else has sixth sense?" Kailasam replied, "Oh sure, you do have it too, but in your case it is called non-sense."

Anyway, this space will not suffice if I begin to relate his anecdotes, so let's leave it at that.

Recently, I had been to a wedding reception, where there was a live Sugama Sangeeta (Kannada Light Music) concert. I did not recognize the male singer, but the female singer was the gorgeous M.D.Pallavi (I know her better as Vidya of Mayamriga fame).

[Sidenote: In Mayamriga (A popular Kannada soap directed by TN Seetharam, that was aired a few years ago), Pallavi played the role of Vidya, a singer, who walked with a limp. During this concert at the wedding, at one point, Pallavi changed her sitting position, and as she did so, she gave a slight grimace and rubbed her foot. The first thought that popped into my head was, "Oh, her bad leg must be giving her trouble... ". Even as I started thinking this, I realized what I was doing... "Oh man", I thought, "That was just in the serial.......... Pallavi's leg, in reality, is just fine..." If I, who hardly watched a dozen episodes of Mayamriga, could get so attuned to her reel personality, then what about those people who watch soaps with total dedication? Reminded me of this post of mine. End of sidenote.]

So, during the concert, the male singer sang the song "Namma Tipparhalli Balu Doora". I remembered it as a song I had loved as a child, but had long forgotten it. I was thrilled to listen to it after all these years. I vaguely remembered that it was composed by TP Kailasam. This, and another song, "Kolikeranga", had been two of my favourites.

"Kolikeranga" is a spoof of the English poem "Constantinople". The story goes that when Kailasam was studying in London, an English friend of his sang "Constantinople", and claimed that this kind of a song cannot be composed in any other language. And Kailasam, as a challenge, composed "Kolikeranga" right on the spot.

I googled and found that even "Namma Tipparhalli Balu Doora" is a spoof of an English marching song, "It's a long way to Tipperary".

You can listen to both these songs, sung by C.Ashwath, a well-known singer in Kannada, here.

Both these songs have the first few lines of the English original, and then the Kannada version, as a continuation. Do listen to them. The English original "It's a long way to Tipperary", is such a beautiful, evocative song... full of old-world charm. I just fell in love with it.

And if you are a Kannadiga, do concentrate on the lyrics of the Kannada versions - they are hilarious. And if you don't catch the lyrics, you can find them here. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

And here's to more such accidental discoveries!


bellur said...

thanks for writing about kailasam. lovely post, shruthi.
and thanks for those links. loved every bit of it.
true, hilarious songs.

take care

usha said...

excellent info shruthi, mathe constantinople poli kitti natakadalli mathe baLasidaare... tumba chennagidhe...

kailasam geethegalu eega siguthe, C R simha avara initiative ansuthe, C Aswath hadirodhu very good collection , aa listnalli kashighoda nam bhava kabbnad doNili antha baruthalla... yen humor alla... he was a true Guru for humor..

Srik said...

Thanks for writing on TPK.

Prashanth M said...

nice post. he is known as karnataka naataka prapitamaha, i guess.

Sandesh said...

Hey Shruthi!!

Nice post! If you have a habit of reading, do read his dramas. It'll be a mixture of all languages.

You can also read works of Raa Shi (Dr.Shivaram). He is also a pun specialist.

Shruthi said...

Bellur, Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

Usha, Haudu, I think Kashighoda is there in the same collection - haven't listened to it with attention.
Yeah, true Guru indeed :)

Srik, Glad you liked it! :)

Prashanth, oh, I didn't know that! Thanks!

Sandesh, yeah I have a collection of his works - haven't got round to reading it - it is written in the way the language is spoken, right? It takes longer to read :)

Madhu said...


Wonderful post.. i enjoyed the songs!! they were just too good, esp the tipperary song:0))..

Anonymous said...

Today while coming to work, our cab driver was playing some kannada songs for a change. This irritated few of my non kannadiga colleagues. They started bad mouthing kannada and kannada people. This led to an argument. But we didn't succumb to the pressure and also didn't allow the driver to change the station.

Because of this incident I was in a very lousy mood. Then I read your post!!!!

Man oh Man. I listened to the songs and I'm now live and kicking. Thanks for such a lovely post and links to wonderful songs.
I love you :)


Shastri said...

in our office few of the colleagues had staged Kailasam's play 'banDvaLillad baDayi' for last year's rajyotsava and it was really hilarious.
My association with Kailasam's writing goes back to early school days. His works are as much fun now as they were then.
One trivia about Kailasam is that he never 'wrote' any of his works. He used to dictate them spontaneously and some of his friends would scribe them.
It is unfortunate that such a great soul had a very tragic personal life.

Nevertheless, its always a great joy to re-discover a writer from past.

Shruthi said...

Madhu, thank you! Glad you liked it :)

Rashmi, *blush* :) Thank you ;) Am so happy it made a difference to your day :)

Shastri, oh, I did not know that about his "works"!
Would love to watch a play of his, myself!

Veena Shivanna said...

Chennagide professor. I read between lines & have not gone into any links. I rememeber that prose we had in Non-detailed text in Class12th(or 11th). Poli kiTTi(maneya makkaligalve school or something like this). I won a book for Kailasam Jokes^u Songs^u! I have to read it still but :-(

Rajit said...

And that reminds of 'Nimbe gida' by B.R.Laxman rao, a translation of an old English song called "Lemon Tree"...

Shruthi said...

Veena, I studied Sanskrit in Plus-Two, so we didn't have that... but I have heard a lot about it!

Rajit, Am listening to that song - hadn't heard it - it's very nice :) said...

An interesting piece.
Bengaluru Akashavani used to broadcast B.S.Ramarao's musings about TPKailasam in 60s. If one were to allude, then, B.S.Ramarao was to TPK what Boswellwas to Samuel Johnson.

BSR used to be closely associated with TPK and used to write down TPKs creative thoughts. Wonder if anyone can access Akashavani Bengaluru's recordings of BSR and arrange for rebroad casting or bring it out in some form.

A good account of TPK was also written by K V Iyer,

A bit of digression:
K.V.Iyer was the 'sandow' of India in those days. He had an excellent physique (he had a gym of his own in JC Road)coupled with a flair for literary activities.An excellent combination of Brain and power.
KV Iyer's photo can be seen in:
An excellent write up of KV Iyer is in:
See also:
Incidentally, KV Iyer's classics are
Natyarani Shantala

bye for now.

Anonymous said...

Tipparhalli and kolikkeranga was my favourites too as a child, My dad who is a old mysore-bangalorean spoke a lot about Kailasam ... the two songs in your post transported me straight to my childhood days and the days I spend with my dad speaking about TP Kailasam.
Here's a heartfelt thanks coming your way!

--Chitra of C5 ;)

Shruthi said...

TSSM, thanks for all that info! About rebroadcasting, I don't think it is impossible - you could write to or call Akashvani and give them this suggestion - what say?

Chitra, so glad you enjoyed it! :)

anoop said...

hehe. Do you know where this 'tipparali balu doora' song was supposedly composed, right here in cambridge. just before flying to UK i was desperatley searching for this song in Mysore, in the bylanes of Sayyaji rao road, i did get a CD - karaoke, but to my dismay the tune was completely different, it was more of a slow version. the charm of this song is the fast pace and tumbling of words into the next in a very puzzling still melodious composition... boregowda hombegowda banda bengaloorge...

Anonymous said...

Loved the post. DhanyavaadagaLu !

vathsa said...

Shruthi avarige Thanksoo.
Kannadakobbare KAILASM.
Avarilladhiruvudhu dodda

HIS songsoo, jokesoo, natakasoo
ever greenu.

A book of collection of his songsoo and jokesoo by B.S. Keshav Rao, published by Ankita pustaka is really a revitalising to one and all.

Shruthi said...

Anoop, ohhh that is interesting! And you put it just right - tumbling of words - mixing of syllables - such that you have to strain to get the meaning - its fun!

Anon, glad you liked it :)

Vathsa, ha ha, channagi barediddeera! That's interesting info - thanks!

vanishree said...

hi,thankyou for the lyrics

vanishree said...

hi shruthi and rajit,
thankyou.nimbegida haadu keli khushi aaytu,maretuhogitu.namma college,national college jayanagar nalli,obba senior,competitionge ee haadu haadidru,thumbaa ishta aagitu.

Dutt said...

Shruthi, Thanks a ton! Made lovely reading! I am trying to teach my son kannada songs and he LOVES kolike ranga song but I dont know the lyrics (rather, I could not catch it as he sings so fast). Can you share the lyrics with me? My email id is - Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Well..lovely post. It makes me feel proud of being a Kannadiga again. However, Kailasam was a legend and will always remain a legend. I tell my grandchildren, this and they look up to me in awe. This blog made them understand what I mean, at least a bit!
Thank you very much..

adu seri, nIvu yaake kannadadalliye baribaaradu? nammantha vyasaadavarige aaga swalpa sulabha aagathe..
enilla baari easy, hogu.. alli, enu beka baredu copy past maadodhu ashte.. ondu saari noodamma..


Reshma said...

Very nice blog. I notice your remorse over being unable to read in Kannada. I think what you should be doing is perhaps writing in Kannada. Being such an interesting author, I think it's not very hard to do so now anyways.
In either case, to get kannada script. Just go to and type in English to sound like Kannada. Copy/paste the Kannada text.

Anonymous said...

ನೀವು ಬರಹನಂತ ( ಉಪಕರಣಗಳನ್ನು ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೆ ಬರೆಯ ಬಹುದು.

bird's eye view said...

Hi Shruthi,

Found your blog through Desi Momz. This was a fun post. I remember some hilariously funny songs that my dad used to have on an audiotape (remember those?) and was wondering if you know who wrote/ sang them - one is called Brahma ninage jodasthini henda muttida kai na, and another is donku baalada naaye kare

Jayanth said...

Amazing post.. Its quite surprising people still remember this great :)

I recently dug out this cassette from my collection.. Was looking for the wordings and stumbled upon this blog :0

Male 21 bangalore said...

ಅಯ್ಯೊ ತುಂಬ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗ್ ಬರ್ದಿದೀರ ಕಣ್ರಿ.. ಕೈಲಾಸಂ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ್ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಇಂದ inspire ಆಗಿ ಇನ್ನ ಒದ್ತೀನಿ. thank you ರೀ :)

Ishwar said...

Hey, Nice post, T P Kailasam is a legend!
And Please submit your blog to Stumble upon, may other kannada-literature lovers find them more easily (i have added this post already)


Anonymous said...

i am glad you linked the original Tupperary song. its really nice too. also, i had always struggled with the last stanza of "boray gowda". now i have the lyrics. thanks!


Anonymous said...

It is a good post with lot of information.

T P Bapuji

HS Raakesh said...

Hi Shruthi,

Can u pls tell me y his life was a tragedy?

vathsa said...

ನಮಸ್ಕಾರ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ, ಅವರ ಬದುಕು ಟ್ರ್ಯಾಜಿಡೀ ಆದ್ರೂ ಅವರ ಒಂದೊಂದು ಹೆಜ್ಜೆಯಲ್ಲೂ ಕಾಮೆಡೀ ತುಂಬಿತ್ತು. ಕನ್ನಡಕೊಬ್ಬನೇ ಕೈಲಾಸಂ ಅನ್ನೊದ್ನ ಮರೆತು ನಡೀತಿರುವ ಈ ಕಾಲ ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಟ್ರ್ಯಾಜಿಡೀ ಹಾಗೂ ಮಲಡೀes

Harsha said...

Karnataka naataka pra pithamaha TP Kailasam simply awesome....

Anonymous said...

Tragedy !!??

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who has sung the contantinople lines of kolikeranga song with C Ashwath

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