This note, is not one of disrespect. Rather it is one of fond appreciation of the way, the behind-the-scenes-genius of Malayalam film music, always let his musical inventiveness slip through. I am talking about RK Shekar here. For quite a long time, I used to wonder about the perky opening part of Chettikulangara bharani Nalil, which is so perfect in rhythm and groove that it almost sounds out of place. Am sure even you would have stopped and mused about the energy of that composition in the pallavi that kinds of wearily settle into the classical groove in the anupallavi.And suddenly you know.
That is a very clever reworking of the The Champs Hit, Tequila (1958). Its so in ur face that you almost kick yourself for not getting to it sooner. And I believe it had to be RK Shekar, who was the Assistant Music director to MK Arjunan who must have a had a major part to play in the composition of the song. I repeat it once again, these are just my personal beliefs and would love to hear your opinions on the same.
I love the way he did almost the same ‘alchemy’ in Poombatta, with that rollicking Rockn Roll jive ending with a sitar version of Do-Re-Mi. And I’m pretty much sure no one else could have done it better in those times.! RKS was sheer genius.
Here is Chettikulagara Bharani Naalil, sung by KJ Yesudas, lyrics by the legendary Sreekumaran Thampi and set to music by MK Arjunan.
Now listen to the The Champs major chart hit Tequila (1958). I have chosen the rare live version, with their original sax man Chuck Rio doing the extended ‘dirty sax’ bit, so that you get a better understanding of the structure. Try singing the Malayalam Classic as soon as the guitars open up. You could listen to the 78 rpm version here.
I also know that they molested and gang raped the tune for a current hit, Chotta Mumbai. Here is the same for some perspective.