Playwright – Thoppil Bhasi
Lyrics- Vayalar Ramavarma
MB Sreenivasan and K Raghavan
Direction- Thoppil Bhasi
Ashwamedham and the one that followed, Sarasayya addressed the same issue through the drama – the social stigma surrounding Leprosy as a contagion. Though the drama was instrumental in increasing the awareness of the “rights” of a section of the society which was deliberately kept out of the mainstream, the film version was a far cry from the original script, wallowing in melodrama and pithy glycerine histrionics. The movie adaptation was shot entirely in the Leprosy Sanatorium in Nooranadu, the only one in Asia. Even the drama was freely staged for the inmates of the Sanatorium by Thoppil Bhasi.
Lyrics : Vayalar | Music :
MB Srinivasan. K Raghavan
1. Paambukalku Maalamundu ~ Sung by : KS George.
Written as a swift accusation and a self-deprecating lament at the same time, it starts off with the simple yet profound lines of ” the snakes have their burrows, the birds have the sky as their home, but the creation of God still crawls around, solitary and forlorn..”, something a leper could easily relate with. KS George’s sound was magnificent, loaded with pathos and pain.
This is a very interesting version of the same song, done in true Blues slide-and-stomp by a musician with his roots in Kerala, now residing in the US. Absolutely fabulous. I love this.
2. Thalaykku meethey ~ Sung by : K.Sulochana and KS George.
Another plaint, loaded with self-pity and totally acerbic, from the leper’s point of view, it starts off with ” the empty sky above, the raging earth beneath, I am like a horn bill, delirious and reeling, would anyone care to give me a little water to quench my thirst?” I remember KS George performing this live, as a solo performance on Doordarshan in the early 90’s, and wish they would soon digitise their archives and bring them out as concert DVDs. A dream, nevertheless.