Songs in my earliest memory consist of my parent’s favourites – KPAC Drama songs, and movie songs by Kamukara, Dr PB Sreenivas and AM Rajah. Though I am a diehard KJ Yesudas fan, I have always had a special place in my heart for the songs of Dr PBS.
1. Mahal Thyaagame from Harischandra (1955).
This was his first Malayalam movie song. I heard this song for the first time only a few days ago. I was amazed at the clarity and almost flawless diction PBS managed to achieve in the song. Lyrics were by Thirunayinarkurichi Madhavan Nair and music by Br Lakshmanan.
2. Inakkuyile from Kaattuthulasi (1964).
Most songs of PBS that I love fall into the serious/philosophical/sad romantic category. Movies like Rebecca, Poochakkanni and Baalyakaalasakhi have many such songs. But the song Inakkuyile from Kaattuthulasi (1964) is the one which haunts me. You can sense the desperation of the lover for his beloved, fearing the worst, right from the initial heart-wrenching plea “Thulasee…Vili Kelkkoo ” and Sathyan‘s presence on screen is a bonus.
3. Maamalakalkkappurathu from Ninamaninja Kaalpaadukal (1963)
Long before KJ Yesudas’s “Naaleekeratthinte Naattilenikkoru” from Thurakkaatha Vaathil (1970) soothed the homesickness of the Malayali working away from home, there was PBS’s happy, peppy, chirpy “Maamalakalkkappurathu” conjuring up idyllic, nostalgic images of home. This song from Ninamaninja Kaalpaadukal was created by the legendary P Bhaskaran – MS Baburaj combination. Interestingly, “Naaleekeratthinte” was also written by Bhaskaran Master (tuned by K Raghavan Master).
4. Jheel Kinaare from Thadaakam (1982).
Dr.PBS was known to be a prolific writer in several languages. This Hindi song from the IV Sasi hit Thadaakam (1982) is captivating in the voice of S Janaki wjth music by the talented AT Ummer. The picturisation strongly resembles the song sequence “Ye chaand sa roshan chehraa” from the Shammi Kapoor-Sharmila Tagore megahit Kashmir Ki Kali.
He has also sung a Punjabi folk song along with S Janaki in Prathikaaram (1972). It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the lyricist turned out to be Dr.PBS himself.
5. Raathri Raathri from Ezhu Raathrikal (1968)
The fact that this song has shown up in at least two of my lists earlier is enough proof of how highly I regard this song. It is unsurpassed for its lyrical beauty, atmospheric composition and soulful rendering. A Vayalar – Salil Chowdhury classic.
It was a difficult task for me to choose just five from the hundreds of gems that this great singer has bequeathed to Malayalam Cinema. I will always remember him.