Lyrics by ONV Kurup | Melody meets Poetry

ONV Kurup - Early Years You could read this as a continuation of the earlier post appreciating the inherent beauty of ONV Kurup’s lyrics in Malayalam films. A film song becomes sweet due to the combined effort of the lyricist, music director with the background music and the singer. Quite often, the role of the musician gets ignored and I feel that it is an injustice. Everyone admires V Dakshinamoorthy who composed the song Chandrikayil Aliyunnu Chandrakaantham. But who cares to know that the excellent interludes which supported the song is composed by R K Sekhar ? By just recollecting those musical gems of the past in totality, let me put down a few songs enriched not only with the lyrics of ONV Kurup but by the compositions that made those songs to live in the memory of all music lovers with its synergy.

1. Enthinee Chilankakal

Film : Karuna ( 1966 )
Music : G Devarajan
Sung by : P Susheela

In the  song of Vasavadatta, pay special attention to the charanam of the song :
ആയിരം  ഉഷസ്സുകള്‍    ഒന്നിച്ചുദിച്ചു  നില്‍ക്കും
ആ  മുഖം  അരുകില്‍  ഞാന്‍  എന്ന്  കാണും
താഴെ  തൊഴുതു  നില്‍ക്കും  താമര  പൂവാണ്   ഞാന്‍
താലോലിച്ചു  എന്നെ  നാഥന്‍  തഴുകുകില്ലേ ?
Vasavadatta happens to see Upaguptan, one of Buddha’s disciples – a tall and handsome youth, and falls hopelessly  in love with him. She sends an invitation to the yogi but he responds with, ” The time has not yet arrived for Upaguptan to visit Vasavadatta.”  ( Please recall the song Samayamayilla Polum from the film sung by P Susheela for Vasavadata)

Another notable song in this film is Karuna than Mani Deepame composed, I believe in Bhoopaalam by G Devarajan. The poet offers his praises to the Buddha in the following lines of the song :
ആത്മ വേദനയാം   തമസ്സില്‍
വിടര്‍ന്ന  നന്ദന പുഷ്പമേ
ആര്‍ഷ  പുണ്യ  പുരാണ  ഭൂവിന്‍റെ
ആത്മബോധ   പ്രഭാതമേ !

2. Polthinkal Kala Pottu Thotta

Film : Kumarasambhavam ( 1969 )
Music : G Devarajan.
Sung by : K J Yesudas

This song in the film is sung by the character Naradan glorifying Siva and his abode, Kailasam. Two other songs sung by the character Naradan in other films are Sakthimayam Siva sakthimayam (Devi Kanyakumari) & Hari Narayana Govinda (Swamy Ayyappan). Beautifully written by ONV, Devarajan composed this song in Kalyani. The song starts with the Viruttam –
പൊല്‍ത്തിങ്കള്‍ക്കല പൊട്ടുതൊട്ട ഹിമവല്‍ ശൈലാഗ്രശൃംഗത്തില്‍
വെണ്‍കൊറ്റപ്പൂങ്കുടപോല്‍ വിടര്‍ന്ന വിമലാകാശാന്തരംഗങ്ങളില്‍
നൃത്യധൂര്‍ജ്ജടി ഹസ്തമാര്‍ന്ന തുടിതന്നുത്താള ഡുംഡും രവം
തത്വത്തിന്‍ പൊരുളാലപിപ്പു മധുരം സത്യം, ശിവം, സുന്ദരം.

There are lot many songs starting with such an introductory note – Kadali Vanangalil before Bharata Muni Oru Kalam Varachu (Yavanika), Dheera Sameere Yamuna Theere before Ambala Parambil Ninnum  (Collector Malathy). The songs Kesadipaadam (Pakalkinaavu) & Prabhatam Vidarum (Velutha Kathreena) also have such pieces before the original song. However, the Virutham in Sathya Siva Soundaryangal is worth mentioning due to the positive energizing effect it creates in the beginning of the song.

3. Sourayudhathil

Film : Swapnam ( 1973 )
Music : Salil Chowdhury
Sung by : Vani Jayaram

Normally Salil Chowdhury composes the tune for a song and subsequently lyrics are added. This is the only song where the musician composed the tune for the lines written by the poet. I read somewhere that Salil Chowdhury was not happy with the song since or the first time he reversed his strategy of music composition.

4. Sarovaram Poo Choodi

Film : Muhoorthangal ( 1977 )
Music : MK  Arjunan
Sung by : KJ Yesudas

Muhoorthangal was released in Central Theatre, Thiruvanathapuram.The film fared badly at the box-office and I believe that it could not complete even one week in the releasing cinemas. The song, I think, falls in the category of raag Mohanam. Listen the Anupallavi of the song :
കൈതപ്പൂവിന്‍ അധരം നുകരും
കാറ്റിനെന്തൊരു ലഹരി
മണമുള്ള ചെമ്പക മലരിന്‍ കവിളില്‍
തഴുകും കാറ്റിനു ലഹരി
നിന്‍ മുഖ സൌരഭ ലഹരിയിലൊഴുകും
തെന്നലായെങ്കില്‍ ഞാനൊരു തെന്നലായെങ്കില്‍.
The music director uses the different note komala gandharam when the song enters the line Thazhukum kaattinu lahiri & again takes another different note, the komala dhaivatam to the starting of the line Nin mugha sourabha lahariyil ozhukum and finally ends up in komala gandharam in the last line thennal aayengil. The selection of the two notes makes the song unique and transcend to heights of musical compositions. The combination of  the lead guitar and strings supported by flute in the background is also an excellent treat.

5. Maathala Malare

Film : Kaliyodum ( 1965 )
Music : G Devarajan
Sung by : Kamukara Purushothaman.

Prem Nazir appears in the scene. The singer in this song is disturbed and impatient. He invites his beloved into his life.
കാണാക്കുയിലിന്‍ പാട്ടിലുണര്‍ന്നൊരു
കാനന ദേവതമാര്‍
തൂവെണ്ണിലാവിന്‍ പൂമ്പട്ടിലെഴുതിയ
കാമലേഖനമേ…നീവരു നീവരു നീവരൂ‍.
See what he says in the charanam
പാദസരങ്ങള്‍ പാടാനിനിയും
താമസമരുതരുതേ
ആദ്യത്തെ രാവിന്‍ ആനന്ദലഹരികള്‍
പ്രാണനില്‍ നീ പകരൂ നീവരു നീവരു നീവരൂ‍.
One of the beautiful melodies rendered by Kamukara Purushothaman with rich bhaavam. G Devarajan composed the song, I believe, in Valaji.

6. Kili Chilachu

Film : Samasya ( 1976 )
Music : Udayabhanu
Sung by : K J Yesudas

Samasya, also like Muhoorthangal, was a flop. The story is in the line of those films in the 70’s that depicted decline of Namboodiri/Ambalavaasi domination in the Kerala Society and the aftermath of such a social change (on the lines of  Nirmaalyam, Dharmayudham etc).  Kamal Hassan takes the lead role in the film. Though the film faded from the memory of people, this song still lives in the heart of all music lovers. How can one forget the prelude? An excellent blend of guitar and strings. The intervening guitar in between the first line kili chilchu & second line kilu kile kai vala chirichu is a good piece but it is the combination of the same guitar with the accompanying percussion after kilu kile ka vala chirichu that gives an excellent treat. A great composition by K P Udayabhanu in durbar kyanada. No information is available about the person who scored the interludes.

7. Kaanaan Kothichenne

Film : Puthri ( 1966 )
Music : M B Sreenivaasan
Sung by : S Janaki.

Santhi is the actress in the scene. She and her lover Madhu regularly meet  at a secret place. This song is rendered while Santhi waits for her lover. The songs are composed by M B Sreenivaasan. I can’t really trace out the raga used in the song. But it sounds like Kalyani. Needs further clarifications from the more learned in this subject. I wonder why this so melodious song went unnoticed. Try to spare a few minutes for this song and appreciate how S Janaki presents this beautiful melody in her style. The lyrics are made very simple and beautiful. It’s the feelings of the lover to her beloved; her wishes when he is near.
See the lines :
കണ്ടു കണ്ടിരിക്കുവാന്‍ കഥ പറഞ്ഞിരിക്കുവാന്‍,
നെഞ്ചിലുണ്ടൊരു മോഹം ഒരു മോഹം
ഈ നെഞ്ചിലുണ്ടൊരു മോഹം
എങ്കിലും പിണക്കമാണെന്നടുത്തവന്‍ വന്നാല്
മിണ്ടുകില്ലാ ഞാന്‍ മിണ്ടുകില്ലാ.

Fantastic.

Another song follows this song in the film within a short time. This second song is sung by the hero waiting for his lover at the same place. This song is sung by Kamukara Purushothaman Vaarmukile Vaarmukile.

8. Srishti than.

Film : Shrishti ( 1976 )
Music : M S Baburaj
Sung by : K J Yesudas

Shristi is the cinema version of the famous drama with the same title written by K T Muhammed. It’s the story of a writer who depicts the comedy and tragedy in the life of his neighbor family. Surasu is the writer in the film. M S Baburaj composed music for the film. The theme of the song is Shrishti. Highly philosophical, the song is rated as one of the must hear song of both ONV and Baburaj. I’ve noted a few lines from the song. The poet with profound grief expresses the futility of it all in a way, by  “സൃഷ്ടിതന്‍ വേദനയാരറിയുന്നു!

The  search of truth and for establishing justice the cost that goes unnoticed with :
പൂവുകളായിരം കീറിമുറിച്ചു ഞാന്‍
പൂവിന്റെ സത്യം പഠിക്കാന്‍
ഹൃദയങ്ങളായിരം കൊത്തിനുറുക്കി ഞാന്‍
ഹൃദയത്തിന്‍ തത്ത്വം പഠിക്കാന്‍
നൂറു സഹോദരരെ കൊന്നു ഞാന്‍
അഞ്ചുപേര്‍ കുരുക്ഷേത്രം ജയിക്കാന്‍
ദീപങ്ങളൊക്കെക്കെടുത്തി ഞാന്‍ പ്രാര്‍ഥിച്ചു
ദീപമേ നീ നയിച്ചാലും
ഈയുഗത്തിന്‍ ഇതിഹാസത്തിലുണ്ടെന്റെ
ഈ വീരസാഹസചിത്രം
ഒരുതത്ത്വശാസ്ത്രത്തിന്‍ തൈനട്ടുഞാന്‍
എന്നും പിഴുതു നോക്കുന്നു വേരെണ്ണാന്‍.

Advocate  P P Kunjahmmed, in the collected readings on Baburaj (edited by Jamal Kochangadi: Current Books) recollects that Baburaj, who normally composes songs within an hour took three days to finalise this song. The song is a ragamalika and the recording of this song which started in the morning at AVM Studio completed in the midnight. Actually this song was recorded in three pieces and later edited for a single song. Each piece of the song is composed in three different ragas – Pooryadhanasree, Kalyani and Kalavathi are the three ragas used. Onlt two instruments were used for this song  – a tamburu and a sitar. The sitar was played by Janardhana Rao,  disciple of Pandit Ravi Sankar.

Do write in about those by the master poet that have stayed with you for its perfect marriage of melody and poetry.

10 thoughts on “Lyrics by ONV Kurup | Melody meets Poetry

  1. Hi Sajith
    Thank you for re-postiing your selection of ONV lyrics. I have grown up listening to his beautiful and timeless songs. To select a few would be impossible. I pay my respects to the beloved genius.

    1. Hello Susy
      Happy to see your post after long days. DCB two years back (if i am not mistaken) published the songs of ONV. If you go through the pages, definitely you can select your songs. Looking forward for your select list!
      B Sajith

  2. It’s a very interesting talk led by PS Remesh Chandramohan. No sooner I think about Brahmanandan, Jayachandran etc than Sajith. B filled with a good list. Still there may be some more to add. Among them, VT Murali should be added. And do you know who sang the song “Vazhitara marayilla vaahanangal marayilla vannirangiya yatrakkaaro….”
    We were very rich with a variety of singers as said by Remesh Chandramohan. Mayaamayanude leela athu maanavanariyunnilla……. and
    Eeswara chindayithonne manujanu saswathameeyulakil…..
    Of Kamukara is ever remembered as his unique and elegant voice…..!!
    In 2002 or 2003, Akaasavaani Thrissur/ Tvm/ Kozhikode had broadcasted a wonderful Programme regarding Malayalam film songs. It was really a worth to music lovers.
    Thank you PS Remesh Chandran.,Sajith B, and Gayathri Jayakumar….!!

  3. What attracts one the most when he listens to old Malayalam film songs is the diversity of male voices in those times. When we had the need to get a song recorded in the voice of a particular singer which reflected well the feelings and emotions depicted in the song, we called some particular singer to render it. Thus we had Kamukara Purushothaman, A.M.Raja, K.S.George, Udayabhanu, P.B.Sreenivas and so many others who thrilled us with their heavenly voices. When we listen to their songs, we will be convinced that those songs, if were sung by anyone else, would not have possessed such charm and beauty. This diversity and richness in voices was the soul of Malayalam film music then. This continued till dear K.J.Jesudas appeared on the scene. From then onwards, everyone among the film producers, film directors and music directors wanted only Jesudas to sing in their films. The others, one by one lost chances and began to fade away. Since the time of Jesudas, there has been only one voice in Malayalam film music, that of Jesudas, singing all songs irrespective of the emotion and mood prevalent in the songs. Thus we can say that, though he was innocent, Jesudas was who destroyed this diversity and richness in voices in Malayalam Cinema Music. Whether he knew it or not then is another matter. There were exceptions indeed, like M.S.Viswanathan giving chances to extremely good singers like Jayachandran. M.S.Viswanathan even became furious when one of his singers, a famous one, could not bring out full the expressions in one of his songs, and unnatural to him, decided to sing the song himself. We know what happened with Hridayavahinee Ozhukunnunee. The strangest male voice in Malayalam film was born then, which perfectly well brought out the inner feelings and emotions of a rushing torrent, flowing towards eternity, touching and nourishing generations and civilizations. Even after singing and recording it, he would not have been satisfied that he had brought out at least a quarter of what he conceived and wished in his soul. Yesudas, or anyone else, could not have fully expressed a river’s soul that way, perhaps Udayabhanu could have. Even Devarajan, singing Ponnarival Ambiliyil added another unearthly and beautiful voice to our music archives. So, this diversity and richness voices was important to us and we have lost it.

    1. Dear Ramesh
      I do agree with your arguments and am really convinced after repeatedly reading your comments. In the list of male singers , let me add K P Brahmanandan, Mehboob, C O Anto, Karthikeyan, A K Sukumaran, J M Raju, Pattanakkad Purushottaman, M G Radhakrishnan, Srikanth, Jolly Abraham etc though credited with only a few songs will live in the memory of all music lovers with their own unique style of rendering the compositions in their own bhavam. However, i feel that this situation is created by all concerned like the producer, director, Musician and the media. Almost all composers of that time advocated the voice and style of Yesudas. It resulted to make virtually all malayalees to become yesudas addicts. It was unbelievable, in those days, to find a film without at least one yesudas song. Kallichellamma, Kaumaraprayam, Edavazhiyile Poocha Minda Poocha etc are a few films i can quickly recollect without a song of Yesudas. Another interesting fact is that the song Chandralekha Kinnari sung by yesudas failed to become popular in the film C I D Nazir while the other two songs of P Jayachandran and Brahmanandan are admired even now.
      You agree with me sir?

      Sajith

  4. What attracts one the most when he listens to old Malayalam film songs is the diversity of male voices in those times. When we had the need to get a song recorded in the voice of a particular singer which reflected well the feelings and emotions depicted in the song, we called some particular singer to render it. Thus we had Kamukara Purushothaman, A.M.Raja, K.S.George, Udayabhanu, P.B.Sreenivas and so many others who thrilled us with their heavenly voices. When we listen to their songs, we will be convinced that those songs, if were sung by anyone else, would not have possessed such charm and beauty. This diversity and richness in voices was the soul of Malayalam film music then. This continued till dear K.J.Jesudas appeared on the scene. From then onwards, everyone among the film producers, film directors and music directors wanted only Jesudas to sing in their films. The others, one by one lost chances and began to fade away. Since the time of Jesudas, there has been only one voice in Malayalam film music, that of Jesudas, singing all songs irrespective of the emotion and mood prevalent in the songs. Thus we can say that, though he was innocent, Jesudas was who destroyed this diversity and richness in voices in Malayalam Cinema Music. Whether he knew it or not then is another matter. There were exceptions indeed, like M.S.Viswanathan giving chances to extremely good singers like Jayachandran. M.S.Viswanathan even became furious when one of his singers, a famous one, could not bring out full the expressions in one of his songs, and unnatural to him, decided to sing the song himself. We know what happened with Hridayavahinee Ozhukunnunee. The strangest male voice in Malayalam film was born then, which perfectly well brought out the inner feelings and emotions of a rushing torrent, flowing towards eternity, touching and nourishing generations and civilizations. Even after singing and recording it, he would not have been satisfied that he had brought out at least a quarter of what he conceived and wished in his soul. Yesudas, or anyone else, could have fully expressed a river’s soul that way, perhaps Udayabhanu could have. Even Devarajan, singing Ponnarival Ambiliyil added another unearthly and beautiful voice to our music archives. So, this diversity and richness voices was important to us and we have lost it.

  5. Do you know who was the lyricist of the film Elavankod Desham directed by K.G.George? And the year of the film.

    1. Hi Gayathri,
      Elavankod Desham directed by K.G.George was released in 1998, lyrics were by ONV Kurup and Vidyasagar composed the music for the film. Thanks..cinematters

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