In life humankind faces many situations; life in general is fraught with trials and tribulations. In Malayalam films such situations call for a heart-rendingly sad song sequence. Women and men seem to face adversity with different mindsets. From a woman’s perspective, almost always someone is to blame. Whan a man faces adversity, he faces it with philosophy of creation and existence (or so Malayalam lyricists would have us believe). Whatever the case, these situations have given us several unforgettable tear-drop gems in Malayalam film music. Post my Favorite Five songs from the Male perspective, here are five that are close to a Woman’s heart.
1. Kannuneer Thulliye from Pani Theeraatha Veedu (1972)
This song from the movie Pani Theeraatha Veedu is sung by MS Viswanathan to his own music. Lyrics were by Vayalar. This song expresses the anguish Prem Nazir’s character Jose feels when he sees a young girl who reminds him of his own sister, being exploited by a rich man. I have heard a story that originally MSV had KJ Yesudas in mind to sing this song, but then for some reason this was not possible, and so MSV decided to sing it himself. There are a few spoken lines interspersed in a couple of places in the song. In the movie version these are spoken by Prem Nazir, but in the record version it is MSV himself who voices those lines.
2. Chirikkumbol Koode Chirikkaan from Kadal (1968)
This tear-jerker is from the movie Kadal, with soul-rending music by MB Sreenivasan, and the philosophical lyrics by Sreekumaran Thampi.
If you are happy, there will be a thousand people to laugh with you, but when you are sad, no one will be there to cry with you. Joy is a one-time visitor, but sadness is a relative who never leaves.”
S Janaki‘s golden voice gives it that forlorn tone.
3. Theeraatha Dukhathin from Dathuputhran (1970)
This is a song after my own heart, may be the sentiments it echoes are ones very close to my heart. The sweet voice of P Susheela evokes the desperation of a woman who feels that her loneliness and unfulfilled desires have not been validated. She blames all her misfortunes on her God. I don’t agree with that totally, but that does not stop it from being one of my favourite sad songs. A Vayalar – Devarajan classic from the movie Dathuputhran.
4. Agnikireedamaninjavale from Adhyaapika (1968)
Adhyaapika was one of the first movies that I really remember watching from my childhood. One hundred percent a tear-jerker. Especially in this scene, where Padmini is dying from Tuberculosis after a lifetime of sacrifices, toiling for her family and being exploited by all including her own father and sister for their own gain. I cried and cried and cried watching this movie, especially the part where she cries out for water when she is dying, and the dog brings it to her. In my child’s mind that was the best scene of the movie. Lyrics were by ONV Kurup and music by V Dakshinamoorthi, sung by KJ Yesudas with feeling.
5. Mulkkireedamithenthinu Nalki from Bharya (1962)
Bhaarya was a true crime story made into a movie. The tragic story of a woman dumped for a younger woman by her husband, and then was brutally murdered. This story happened during my parent’s youth, and their real life counterparts were known to them, and so we used to discuss it at home. Somehow, this song became the epitome of sadness to me. The beauty of Ragini, the lyrics and music richly reflecting her heart breaking sorrow (another Vayalar-Devarajan classic), and the forlorn voice of P Susheela together creates magic.