I was just driving out of the garage to go to work at 5.30 am. The car window was down, and the cool, crisp air blew in my face. I wound the window up, and turned right, driving out of the gates. The sun was just coming up over the horizon, and the car stereo was playing “Arayilotta mundudutha Penne“, a song which I have heard innumerable times before. But this time the new sun just rising in front of me coincided with the lines “Aadimaasa Pularippenne“, and it struck me that this song is not about Jayabharathy in an Ottamundu, as I always imagined.
It is about an enchanting and lustrous new day dawning for us all! In fact, the whole song was about the day, how it starts out, and how it ends. That song made my day. It made me think about my favourite dawn songs. And here they are, in no particular order.
Arayilottamundudutha Penne from Oru Sundariyude Kadha (1972).
In the scene we see Jayabharathy running away from a homeless man singing the song. I think the beautiful imagery of the song has been totally wasted in its picturisation.
Suprabhaatham from Pani Theeraatha Veedu (1973).
P Jayachandran / Vayalar / MS Viswanathan.
When I think of dawn, this is the first song which comes to mind. The freshness of Jayachandran’s voice, and the natural beauty of Nilgiris, and a happy Prem Nazir all rush back to my mind every time I hear this song.
Udayagiri Chuvannu from Aswamedham (1967)
P Susheela / Vayalar / Devarajan
Aswamedham was a milestone in Malayalam cinema, bringing the plight of leprosy patients to the attention of the masses. All songs in this movie were hits. But when I hear this particular song, it brings to mind the peachy sky of a new dawn (the charioteer of the sun drawing the flaming ball across the sky with the accompaniment of its thundering celestial hooves, heralding a positive, new beginning for all life on earth.
Prabhaathamallo Nee from Chandrakaantham (1974).
MS Viswanathan / Sreekumaran Thampi / MS Viswanathan.
MS Viswanathan has an important place in Malayalam film music, not just for the captivating compositions from way back in 1953 , all the way to 2007. He has also sung many emotionally charged songs for us, right from the unforgettable “Kannuneer Thulliye” in Pani Theeraatha Veedu (1973) to the most recent “Nadannu Nadannu” with Kavalam Sreekumar in Kunjananthante Kada.
“You are the breaking dawn, while I am dusk, our dreams the same,” sings he. “You smile as the lotus while I wallow in the tears of the water-lily. Singing the same tune, yet never able to kiss each other.”
Ushasse Neeyenne from Paadasaram (1978)
KJ Yesudas / AP Gopalan / Devarajan
Dawn, if you had not awakened me, I would never, never have woken up. Every new day is a new beginning. Let’s look forward to tomorrow.