Malayaalees (and most Indians, for that matter) seem to have a fascination for philosophy in general. Almost every hit movie of yesteryear seems to have atleast one philosophical song in it. Most were very popular among the masses. Among these, I have several favourites, and as usual, it is extremely difficult to pick five of them.
1.Aathmavidyaalayame from Harischandra (1955)
The story of Harischandra is one of redemption through suffering. Cine Matters has given an enthralling review of this movie here . This movie, released in 1955, had Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair in the lead role of Raja Harischandra. Reduced to being sold into slavery, in this scene he is seen lamenting his fate, tending funeral pyres in a cemetery and ruminating about the general vagaries of fate. Lyrics are by Thirunayinarkurichi Madhavan Nair, set to music by Br Laxman and sung with befitting solemnity by Kamukara Purushothaman.
2. Oru Jaathi Oru Matham from Koottukaar (1966)
For me the main drawcard is the young, innocent voice of Yesudas in combination with the haunting melody of MS Baburaj and the meaningful lyrics of P Bhaskaran which is relevant to this day. An exhortation to remember that all religions, castes and Gods are one and the same. I have not seen this movie, and can only visualise it mentally when I hear it.
3. Iniyum Puzhayozhukum from Agniputhri (1967)
The youthful voice of P Jayachandran, lends charm to this song, The river will keep flowing, and cool breezes will come by this way again one day. I have always felt that it is a song of hope glimpsed through desolation. An evergreen MS Baburaj- Vayalar creation. I have never seen the movie, but this song has always remained with me since the first time I heard it. You tube clips show a distraught Prem Nazir driving erratically along Kerala roads in an open roofed car trying desperately to keep straying strands of his hair in place and avoid oncoming traffic.
4. Pravaachakanmaare Parayoo from Anubhavangal Paalichakal (1971)
Most philosophical songs are born out of man’s attempt to cope with adverse situations in life. Vayalar – G Devarajan – Yesudas team has come up with this hit song. The look of utter desperation on Sathyan’s face as he walks barefoot down the streets of old Ernakulam city (?) cannot be matched. I always try to ignore (without much success) the glaring marker on the road where Sathyan has to stop, look across the road and then walk to the side of the road.
5. Maranadevanoru Varam Koduthaal from Vithukal
I have been fascinated at how death is one of the several taboo subjects never openly talked about among Malayaalees. Lyrics of this song has cut close to the heart for me time and time again with its meaning. If the dead were to come back alive, the truth would be revealed, and things may not be always as they seem. The MD of this song is Pukazhenthi. Written by P Bhaskaran and soulfully performed by Yesudas. Although Pukazhenthi only composed music for twelve Malayalam movies, many of those songs have stood the test of time.
I hope you have enjoyed these songs. Please share your philosophical favourites here, too. Would love to know what they are.