Charukesi is a heart-melting raga that is used in melodious compositions. Right from the 50s, this beautiful raga has been used to compose songs that render a feel of pathos as well as warm the hearts of the listeners. Though this raga is extensively used in Classical music, it was adopted by music composers to provide a classical touch to their songs. Charukesi's charm was popularized by many film songs and it is used even in today's compositions.
The first song to have Charukesi as its base was Manmadha Leelaiyai song from the movie Haridas. Composed by Papanasam Sivan, this song was rendered flawlessly by M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. There are many sangadhis in this song which perfectly reflect the astounding raga. Another golden number is Aadal Kaaneero song from the movie Madurai Veeran. This song was composed by G. Ramanathan and crooned meticulously by M.L. Vasanthakumari. This number too has lots of layers of sangadhis and Charukesi is heard at its purest form. Then the popular song Vasantha Mullai from the movie Sarangadhara also has Charukesi evolving from every line. Interestingly, the remix version from the 2007 movie Pokkiri also is based on this raga.
While there is the popular notion that Charukesi is best suited for mellifluous songs, there are some foot-tapping numbers which prove otherwise. The best example is M.S. Viswanathan's Azhagiya Tamizh Magal Ival from the movie Rickshawkaaran. When it comes to the 80s era, Charukesi wasn't left behind. Ilaiyaraaja used this raga beautifully in his evergreen compositions. Songs like Aadal Kalaiye from Sri Raghavendra, Thoodhu Selvadhaaradi from Singaaravelan, and Mayanginen Solla Thayanginen from Naane Raja Naane Mandri. Music composer Deva indulged this raga in the playful romantic number Engengey Engengey from the movie Nerukku Ner. Sung by Asha Bhosle and Hariharan, this song had a rich classical feel to it, despite being a fast-paced melody.
A.R.Rahman, too, used Charukesi in some of his soothing compositions. The best one is Udhaya Udhaya from the movie Udhaya. This sangadhi-filled number was perfectly rendered by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Another soulful song is Yedho Yedho from Enakku 20 Unakku 18 movie. Karthik and Gopika Poornima's voices flow like honey along with this heartwarming raga. In Bollywood, the song Ahista Ahista from Swades has traces of Charukesi in it.
Some of the new-age songs like Thaiyya Tha from Thiruttu Payale and Nenjil Nenjil from Engeyum Kaadhal are good examples of Charukesi raga.
Other Tamil songs based on this mesmerizing raga are:
1. Amma Nee Sumandha Pillai from Annai Oar Aalayam
2. Maapillai Ragasiyam Sollava from Arangetram
3. Muthuthaaragai from Oru Kai Osai
4. Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru from Thambikku Entha Ooru
5. Siriya Paravai from Andha Oru Nimidam
6. Chinnajiru Kiliye from Mundhaanai Mudichu
7. Manamaalayum Manjalum from Vaathiyaar Veetu Pillai