Remembering MG Radhakrishnan and his Songs.

[ This was written on July 3, 2010 on the passing of MG Radhakrishnan, as my own little tribute to this unassuming genius in music as we know it. Today, a year on, the memories and the songs are still afresh, just like they were, new off the composing console.]

I think Providence is in a hurry to take back all the talent that had been powering Malayalam Cinema, and is going about it with its cold and clinical might that is beyond the scope of our mortal capabilities. With the passing of MG Radhakrishnan, Malayalam Cinema loses another school of playback compositions – no more of the new compositions in the exquisitely mellowed  Ahori Raga, or for the matter, the earthy tone of Unni Ganapathiye. Speaking of which, it was just two days back I watched Kalli Chellamma (1969), one of the enduring classics from Shobhana Parameshwaran Nair, and just couldn’t take my eyes and my ears off the folk dance that Adoor Bhasi performed on stage, lip-synching to the voice of the debut of MG Radhakrishnan as a Playback singer. Venerated teacher of a multitude of upcoming and established stars in the Malayalam music scene, a certain KS Chithra being just one of them, and the illustrious MG Sreekumar as his sibling, MG Radhakrishnan was already a popstar of the 60’s through AIR, and the ‘light music’ that was a staple product of AIR in those times.  I just recollected a few of my favourites through the years and thought of sharing with you here.  I have categorised them under three broad categories that I found relevant, his AIR days, his films as a music director, and his songs as a playback singer. As usual, your valuable inputs would be greatly appreciated.

From his All India Radio days.

Ghanshyama sandhya hrudayam.

Sung by : KJ Yesudas.
Lyrics : Kaavalam Narayana Panicker

Here is an article that came in the Malayala Manorama Weekly that explains the behind-the-story of how Ghanashyama  sandhya hrudyam came to being.  A very interesting story.

Odakkuzhal vili

Sung by : Sujatha
Lyrics : Kaavalam Narayana Panicker


Sung by : Sujatha
Lyrics : Kaavalam Narayana Panicker


I am a little confused as to the version here, whether it was by P. Jayachandran or MGR rendered it himself.

As MUSIC DIRECTOR – My favorites.

Kudayolam bhoomi from Thakara (1979).

Lyrics : Poovachal Khader
Sung by : KJ Yesudas and S. Janaki

Naadha Nee Varum from Chaamaram (1980).

Lyrics : Poovachal Khader
Sung by : S. Janaki

Directed by Bharathan, this had Raveendran Mash composing Varnangal Bandhangal, while MGR did two songs. Janakiamma sounds divine, picturised on Zarina Wahab, another bonus!

Oh Mruduley from Njaan Ekanaanu (1982).

Lyrics : Sathyan Anthikkad
Sung by : K J Yesudas

Sathyan Anthikkad’s debut as a lyricist , this song had a pathos version too. Never heard of a composition that used acoustic guitar till then that fully utilisied the tonal timbre and emotions of them note like a cool breeze.

Surya kireedom from Devaasuram (1993).

Lyrics : Girish Puthenchery
Sung by : MG Sreekumar

“Suryakireedom veenudanju raavin thiruvarangil” ( the Sun God’s crown lies shattered, in the court of  the enveloping eventide)for a composition started off with such evocative imagery, it had the perfect complement in MGR to make it one of the timeless classic of Malayalam Cinema. Goosebumps guaranteed.

Oru Murai from Manichithrthaazhu (1993).

Lyrics : Vaali, Bichu Thirumala
Sung by : K J Yesudas, K S Chithra

His best. Period.

Nilavinte Neelabhasma from Agnidevan (1995).

Lyrics : Girish Puthenchery
Sung by : MG Sreekumar

I personally consider this as my most favorite composition of MGR  and Gireesh Puthenchery. Everytime you listen to this, it is an indescribable emotion that rises up to choke you.

As a Playback Singer.

MGR debuted as a playback singer with Unni Ganapathiye in Kalli Chellamma, a frolicking folk song, sung in the Kakkarissi folk style, set to tune by K.Raghavan Master.

Unni Ganapathiye from Kalli Chellamma (1969).

Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran
Music : K . Raghavan

Pallanayarin – Ningalenne Communistakki (1970)

Lyrics : Vayalar
Music : G.Devarajan.

Uthishtatha Jaagratha from Sarasayya (1971).

Lyrics : Vayalar
Music : G.Devarajan

Vande mukunda hare from Devaasuram (1993).

Lyrics : Girish Puthenchery
Music : MG Radhakrishnan.
I always wished this composition had lasted a full 4 minutes. It is said that it is composed based on  Samantha Malahari. If only Girish Puthenchery let it flow.



Related : 2 July 2011 | Mathrubhoomi Online’s Tribute to MG Radhakrishnan.

10 thoughts on “Remembering MG Radhakrishnan and his Songs.

  1. Great Article.

    I would like to know whether the video posted above of the song Odakkuzhal vili by Sujatha is the original recording done by Sri M.G. Radhakrishnan when she was 11 years old.
    If not, anybody has it and would like to share it?

    When All India Radio will take all their treasures out and share it to the world, even for a commercial gain?

    There is also another version of this song on youtube, which does not seem to be the original song.

    1. Hi Suresh,
      Thank you for writing in. As I have mentioned, these are a compilation of my personal favorites and hence, every suggestion is an added bonus. Also did you mean “Ramayanakkili Sarika Painkili?” from his AIR days? That’s a beautiful composition.Thanks again.cinematters

  2. the light music of late m g radhakrishnan is cherished by the whole malayalees
    only because they are so very classic. But it is very sorry we are not able to get
    them in CD form in the market. A shame on the great gentle man and selfish-
    ness of AIR. some of the great songs sung by Yesudas, like Shaarathedu
    Mayooka Mallakal…, Rajanigandhithan etc – they are such great compositions.
    where are these songs? Please release them or if any of my friends, if you
    do have them, load them in the net atleast. The latest generation should hear

    1. Dear Prem,
      Thank you writing in with your thoughts. AIR and DD, just like most of the State-run establishments are bloated, corpulent entities, to which accountability, foresight and technical edge are foreign terms. It just doesn’t bother them. There is a vast treasure-trove of content, mostly feared lost or misplaced ( from the sources I personally know who are a part of some of them ) in their archives and there is NO ONE who would be held accountable or would feel the pain and loss, save for music and movie aficionados who would never ever get a chance to experience them again. Unless there is a drastic change in policy and principle of the establishments, I don’t forsee any change in their charted course. The only option out is to depend on private collectors, peer groups, public domains that discuss related subjects and hope to find contacts that would point you to those rare sources. DD has displayed a rate card for its Archival content on its website, but I guess co-ordinating it would be another nightmare.You would also notice that almost all the rare archival footage – be it songs or film footage are uploaded on popular video/audio sharing sites by private collectors. I guess, going forward, it would be them who would provide more on that..Thanks again..cinematters

  3. MGR will be terribly missed. I first heard him in Manichitrathazhu and then I worked backwards thru’ his works. Ethra pookkaalamini, Poomukha vaathilkkal,Oh Mridule, Oru Murai, Nilaavinte Neelabhasma, Pinnakkamaano,Njaattuvela kiliye.. the list goes on… He introduced Sujatha & G.Venugopal through his non film albums and i think it was he who gave the first break to Chitra who was his sister’s student thru’ the film Attahasam.

    One of his earliest works was setting music to his guru Sree Vidyadhiraja’s lyrics which were sung by his sister Dr.Omanakutty. Till date i could not get a hold of this album and this album maybe lost forever. He also composed music for the album Surrayya Paddunnu. A talented and humble music director, he will be always remembered through his works. May his soul RIP.

    1. Dear music lover and friend. we are all indebted to M.G.Radhakrishnan chettan as we all call him for his great ever memorable contributions to the malayalam songs gifted through the All India Radio as well in the Malayalam movies. The excellant compositions of M.G. R chettan could be identified from many group musics he composed. I was fortunate to render some of his light musics as well as group musics from the All India Radio, Trivandrum during 1982- 1986 while I was doing my Law Degree at the Govt Law College, Tvm. I once asked Kavalam Sreekumar whether he remember one of his songs composed by M.G.R chettan written by Kavalam Narayana Panicker Sir. unfortunately he do not remember. it was a folk song. The lyrics are this. ” AKASA PANTHALITTA MEGHAM KONDU MEKKATTI KETTI, NAKSHATHRA PICHAKA POOVINE KUTHI PIDIPPICHEUU, AMBILI PONNUM VILAKKUM KOLUTHI VECHEEUU, ARUDE KODA KODAKKANEE ORUKKAM” This excellant song came from AIR, Tvm. I had occassion to sing along with M.G R chettan at Thriprayar Sreerama Temple, Thrissur District in the year 1988. Thanks for your valuable contributions sir.

      1. Suresan Sir- great to see another lawyer over here- karutha gownile kalaaswadakanu ivedekku swagatham- from another karutha gown sevakan…(and speaking of karutha gown- though out of context- I am reminded of the words of Prem Nazir while describing Soman in the movie SNEHICHA KUTTATHINU). Soman portrays a lawyer who ultimately is revealed to be the real villain prompting Nazeer to say…”karutha gownitta draculayanavan”…..

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