Songs from Harischandra (1955)

Aathmavidyalayamey from Harischandra (1955)

Harischandra (1955)’s huge success, I guess, was also partly because of that one fabulous number Aathmavidyalayamey, sung by Kamukara Purushothaman, who had his debut in film playback singing for Ponkathir ( 1953), a home production of Merry Land, under Neela Productions. There were a total of 16 songs, written by Thirunayinaarkurichi Madhavan Nair and set to music by Br Lakshmanan, the hit pair of that era. Aatmavidyalayamey, seems to be  inspired by the beautiful Sanskrit Kriti, Manasa Sancharare composed by Sadashiva Brahmendra in the 18th Century. You can find the entire list of the songs here – my favorite place for Malayalam Film Music, MSI 🙂

The list of singers include Kamukara Purushotthamana Nair, CS Radhadevi,Cherthala Gopalan Nair, Kaviyoor Revamma, Kumari Thampi, P Leela, PB Sreenivas, Santha P Nair and V Lakshmi. Apart from Aathmavidyalayamey, there are two other compositions that stay with you. The first one  that always brings on a chuckle..the effervescent Kattu Mulley, Naanam Vannilley which is the “seduction song” that the sirens belt out in front of a bemused King! More than the song, its the dance that holds my attention, one of the perfect examples of those “Pair-Mirror Dances” that was a specialty of those times! ( Minai is going to be delighted!)

Here is Kattumulley from Harischandra (1955)

Here is Athmavidyalayamey from the film.

Here is Manasa Sanchararey, from Shankarabharanam, rendered by Vani Jayaram.

The King leaving in exile from Raja Harischandra (1955)

The other one would be Mahal tyaagamey, a paean on the greatness of the King whose convictions to uphold the Truth above everything else, has now led to his exile, sung by PB Srinivas, presumed to be his first song in Malayalam.

Here is PB Srinivas’ debut in Malayalam Playback, the philosophical Mahal tyaagamey

Related : Harischandra (1955), Malayalam’s first mythological film

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2 thoughts on “Songs from Harischandra (1955)

  1. Lovely couple of posts about this film- always enjoy learning more and more about “old malayalam cinema” through your blog. And I see that you mentioned me, thank you! I definitely honed in on that song immediately from the preview image. I wish I could understand the lyrics- your mention that it’s a “seduction song” that makes one chuckle was a surprise just going off of the visuals. I guess that’s both the blessing and curse of not knowing the language. 🙂 Very sweet melody though. I am always up for finding more examples of “twin” dances in Malayalam films because they seem to be hard to find. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Hi Minai,
      My pleasure 🙂 The lyrics of the songs go on these lines,”Wild Jasmine, spare me the blushes, the honey bees that were destined to reach you have finally arrived, haven’t they? ( Referring to the King and themselves 😀 ) The situation, as I have mentioned is how the two of them, ‘virtually created” by the Sage tries to entice the King with the ultimate “Honeypot Routine” 🙂 It is a very rollicking, sweet melody as you have said, but thinking about the sheer verve of them two girls singing like that in font of the King always makes you chuckle.. I can understand the ‘degree of difficulty’ that you mentioned. Will try my best to share whatever I can get hold of..Thanks again for passing through. The Season’s best wishes to you and your loved ones..Regards..CM

      PS. I can finally smell blood in the hunt for a copy of Mohanlal’s first Kathakali based movie Rangam. Will keep you posted. 😀

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