Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on February 14 in many countries around the world. Each year on this day, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance and love we call Valentine’s Day. Love, as Oxford dictionary claims, is the highly searched word.
Lot many quotes are there about love like the most popular – Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies or as Lao Tzu was defining love as “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” What is equally catchy are these two interpretations – “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams – and the curious quote of Henry Ward Beecher brewed out of his own experience that “Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”
This Valentines, I was thinking of the romantic songs created in our Malayalam films so that it will be a gift to you all. However, the real challenge was to select a few when the list of romantic songs is so lengthy. It came down to two options – either, I pick up the few from the ocean of songs or confine my selection to a subset of melodious gems. I finally chose the second option; but then arose a new conundrum – whom amongst the duo – that I have chosen would I focus ? Let me explain .
A closer scrutiny of the Malayalam film songs in the golden era (1960 to late 70s) reveals that lot many songs were molded by teams of lyricists, musicians and singers. Vayalar – Devarajan, P – Bhaskaran – M S Baburaj – S Janaki, Sreekumaran Thampi – V Dakshinamoorthi, and it goes on. Such an era of good music does not generally get established by the effort of an individual. It resulted of course in a team effort. The so-called “Golden era” succeeded in creating a team that filled out, expanded, innovated on and amended the breakthroughs in compositions and lyrical wonders. Doubtless to say that the combination of Vayalar-Devarajan still remain among all of us and the songs the team created lives in the heart of the new generation as well. The very first song Balikudeerangale created in the year 1957, that Malayalees have cherished for generations is the best example to prove the strength of this team.
Balikudeerangale & the Genesis of the Vayalar – Devarajan ‘Team’
The EMS Government, in the year 1957 decided to commemorate the centenary of the first war of Indian Independence of 1857 that challenged and ended the power and control of British East Indian Company in India. A Martyrs’ column was positioned by Government at Palayam Thiruvananthapuram and 14th of August 1957 was the day chosen to unveil the memorial.
The cultural leaders also made up their mind to present a song as a part of the function and after brain storming decided to entrust Vayalar Rama Varma to pen the lyrics and G Devarajan to compose music for the lines. The two artists hudled in at Kottayam Best Hotel and created the great song. I used the term ‘great’ because the song has been an inspiration for many years to people who have taken part in protests and marches in Kerala’s political history. The inaugural function was organized at Victoria Jubilee Town Hall (VJT Hall) and the chief guest was Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India. G Devarajan and K.S.George were the lead singers on that day.
The Vayalar – Devarajan ‘Team’ debuts in Malayalam cinema
Vayalar and Devarajan composed their first songs for Chaturangam in the year 1959. The next movie was Bharya and almost all songs of this film become everlasting hits.
Romantic melodies of Vayalar Devarajan Team – My Favorites
The Vayalar-Devarajan duo proved the most successful team till the death of Vayalar in the mid 1970s. Hundreds of songs contributed by the team are still part of Malayalis’ nostalgia. A wide range of subjects were dealt in the songs they created. There were Philosophical songs, devotional songs, revolutionary songs, lullabies, songs of love, separation and solitude… the list goes on. Here are the ones that stay on top of the subjects.
1. Premam, Stree Purusha Premam from Agnimrugam ( 1971)
Singer : K J Yesudas
The film produced under the Udaya banner was directed by M Krishnan Nair. This is the desi version of the famous long story – The Hound of the Baskervilles – of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The famous hindi film Bees Saal Baad is also based in the plot of the story. Sathyan took the role of Sir Charles Baskerville and Ravichandran (Husband of Sheela) appeared as Henry Baskeville. Ravichandran fall in love with Sheela (Sister of Stapleton). Mesmerized in her beauty, Ravichandran through the song tell what love is, that it will live forever, the paradise it can create and the magical effect of being in love. The song is a typical Devarajan melody in the major scale.
2.Ithihaasangal Janikkum Munpe from Chuvanna Sandhyakal (1975)
Singer : Sreekanth
This Manjilas Film was directed by K S Sethumadhavan. It is a fact that the digital copy of almost all films of Manjilas is available. Unfortunately, if I am not mistaken, the print of this film is not available. The story of this film was written by Balu Mahendra, the famous Cinematographer. This psychological film of Manjilas, after Punarjanmam, dealt with both Love and Horror! Sivan loves Ragini – a dumb beauty. Ragini’s sudden passing leaves Sivan shattered. It isn’t long before some of the locals witness a ghostly apparition haunting Sivan’s place. As the film progress, Sivan gets engaged with one of his relatives, but the phantom creature kills her! The mystery gets solved towards the end of the film which I am not disclosing here.
The Pallavi of the song goes like this :
Ithihasangal Janikkum Munpe, Easwaran Janikkum Munpe. Prakruthiyum
Kaalavum Orumichu Paadi Premam Divyamamoranubhoothi…
( Before the legends were born…
Before God was born
Nature and time together sang that
Love is a divine experience )
A sweet song that praises the emotion called love in the voice of Sreekanth and in the film this is rendered by Sivan (Mohan).
3. Aadamo Hawwayo from Priyamulla Sophia (1975)
Singer : K J Yesudas
Priyamulla Sophia was directed by A Vincent based on the novel of Muttathu Varkey. Prem Nazir and Priyamalini take the lead role. The film narrates the usual theme of a wealthy person loving a poor and the subsequent turns in their affair with a villain entering and so on. So far, the negative of this film is not available. Though a film which failed in the box office, I believe, is still remembered by this song since it was popular in the AIR list of songs in the mid 70s. The poet is curious to know who among Adam and eve started the long gazes and triggered the feelings of romantic love? The poet requests the flowers, moon, dreams and the birds to clarify it ! Devarajan excels both in the composition of the lyrics and BGM in this ragamalika
4. Premichu Premichu from Tokkukal Katha Parayunnu (1968)
Singer : K J Yesudas
The film produced by Navajeevan was directed by K S Sethumadhavan. The story of the film was by Thoppil Bhasi. It’s sad to know that the print of this film is lost forever. This is a film in which the noble love of Rema (Sheela) and Reghu (Sathyan) was spoiled by a gun. The same gun, later reconciled the estranged relationship of two other lovers. The film is credited with some of the golden melodies created ever in the annals of Malayalam film music.Premichu Premichu Ninne Njaan is sung by Aniyankunju (Prem Nazir), the brother of Rema. The powerful lyrics which expresses the intense love of the lover is supported by the charming composition.
5. Ashtamudi Kayalile from Manavaatty (1964)
Singers : K J Yesudas & P Leela
Raju M Mathan, under the banner Thankom Movies, produced the film Manavaatty. K S Sethumadhavan directed the film, starring Sathyan, Ragini, Madhu, K R Vijaya etc.The story and screen play was done by Aswathi Maathen. This film also featured 8 songs that include Idayakanyake (K J Yesudas), Devataaru pootha naal (A M Raja), Parakkum Talikayil (P Susheela) Ashtamudi Kayalile etc. However, to the best of my knowledge, the master print of this movie too, has been lost. I have included this song, truly fascinated by its simplicity in lyrics, composition and rendering.
The pallavi ends with “Chinna Kili Chingara Kili Chollumo Enne Ninakk ishtamaayo ?”
An interesting story associated with this song goes thus : G Devarajan married Leelamoni on 1.12.1963. Four days later, the couple reached Madras and Devarajan invited Leelamony to see how song recording is done and Ashtamudi Kayalile was the song recorded (from G Devarajan – Sangeethathinte Rajashilpi: Perumbuzha Gopalakrishnan )
6. Ashtami Rohini Raatriyil from Omanakuttan (1964)
Singer : P Susheela
Omanakuttan was released in 1964 and the film is directed by K S Sethumadhavan. Oneof P Susheela’s excellent rendering. One peculiarity of this song is that it traverse throughthe past, present and future thoughts of the character through the Pallavi, Anupallavbiand charanam of the song. Sathyan, Ambika, T K Balacjandran and Chandini are the leadactors and the song is sung by Yasodha (Chandini), sister of Sathyan. The song narratesthe auspicious moment she first saw her sweetheart in the temple and it was love at firstsight. Day after day, the love blossomed and she is joyfully willing to wait for a thousand days for her beloved. Composed in the domain of Harikhamboji, the song is also rich in its excellent BGM. The print of this film is also unavailable.
7. Aattin Manappurathe from Kanmanikal (1966)
Singer : K J Yesudas
Kanmanikal, directed by Sasikumar was a film with a theme of children separated from their father and finally they all getting rejoined. As usual, nobody knows that the print ofthis film is available. The song Aattin Manappurathu hass two versions and the popularversion we all know is also edited. The composition is a little bit similar to the song Karutha penna (K J Yesudas – Film Anna). However, the song is refreshing especially the line Aayirathi Onnu Raatrikal Angaye Swapnam Kandu Njaan ( Angaye instead of ninne is also interesting.
8. Priyathama, Priyathama Singer from Sakunthala (1965)
Singer : P Susheela
This P Susheela Song is still considered as a sublime and inspiring song to all loving hearts. Sakunthala is confused. She doesn’t know how to write to her sweetheart. In the course of the song she a little bit loudly pleads (towards the end of the anupallavi and charanam) Naatha Naatha Nee Evide (In fact Dushyanthan is resting in his tent somewhere near). Those who want to learn the craft of Devarajan should probe into this song – both its lyrics and music – to know how a song can be effectively composed and made a classic. The song is composed in Bilahari and (in the words of Devarajan) the notes of the Raagam can be easily deciphered in the part Naadhaaa…(Listen the Aarohanam and its return )
9. Thanka Talikayil from Gayathri ( 1973)
Singer : K J Yesudas
Gayathri, directed by P N Menon is shot at Thruvananthapuram. Based on a story by Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, the film tries to narrate the life of Tamil Brahmins in the Agraharams. Kottarakkara Sreedharan Mair, Raghavan, Soman and Jayabharathi are the lead actors in the film. Jayabharathi (Kanakam) fall in love with Appu (Raghavan) who is a washerman, much ‘inferior’ to the Brahmin girl. The song describes the thoughts and desires of Appu. A typical Sudha Dhanyasi composition, this song was very popular and still a favourite of all music lovers.
10. Aayiram Villodinju from Akkarapacha (1972)
Singers : K J Yesudas & P Madhuri
Akkarapacha, directed by M M Neshan is a film which tries to depict the strong family ties, however failed in the box office with the sudden demise of Sathyan who took the role of the husband of the heroine (Kaviyoor Ponnamma). Thereafter, I think that the story was reviewed and thereafter revised. The story was penned by Parappurath. The song lucidly explains the deep felt love and desire of the lovers. Composed in Mohanam, the song is soft flowing with therich bhavam of K J Yesudasand P Madhuri.
In the year 1971, a film titled Navavadhu was released. The film was directed by P Bhaskaran and produced by ALS Films. This song Aayiram Villodinju is seen included in the song book of this film and though I’ve seen this film in the cinemas, could not remember whether this song was there in this film. Somebody who knows the facts better can please supplement.
11. Madhuchandrikayude Chaya Talikayil from Anachaadanam (1968)
Singer : P Jayachandran
Anachadanam was produced by Raju M Mathan under the Tankom Movies. The story of the film was written by Thoppil Bhasi and directed by M Krishnan Nair. Prem Nazeer, Sheela, Jayabharati and Muthiah appear in the lead role. A person is murdered and theonly witness is a little girl. The CID Officer (Nazir) investigates the murder and the littlewitness is his lovers’ sister. Identification parade of all suspects was done. But the culprit was not identified. Finally, a function was organized to unveil the statue of the mayor.The statue was unveiled. The little girl cried out to all that the mayor is the murderer!I’ve seen the film in my childhood but prersently the print of the film is unavailableThe song Madhu chandrika, composed in Mohanam is an excellent rendering of P Jayachandran and the song was included in one of the Best hits of Malayalam Cinema Long Play record released in the 70s.
Listen to the interlude BGM of the song and you can appreciate the music of the song ‘Mizhi meen Pole’ of this film sing by P Susheela. Similarly, listen to the interlude BGM part of ‘Mizhi Meen Pole’ and you will get the song Madhu Chandrika. An unique experience and a rare experiment of the musician.
12. Pushya Raga Mothiramittoru from Inquilab Zindabad (1971)
Singer : K J Yesudas
Inquilab Zindabad, directed by K S Sethumadhavan was telecasted in the Doordarshanin the late 80s and now to my knowledge the print of the film is not traceable. S L Puram Sadanandan wrote the story of the film in which Satyan, Madhu Sheela and Jayabharathi takes the lead roles. This is a very beautiful romantic song rich in lyrical content and elegant in musical composition. The song expresses the delicate feelings of the lover by the effects of love which opened colours in his life. A not so popular song, I submit it for your appreciation. The song is a ragamalika and three ragas are used; yaman, Kappi (Peelu) and in the charanam Hamsanandi (Though at the beginning of the charanam, I feel that the mother raga Gamanashrama is used). The G Major is eschewed and this chasm in the centre of the raga gives rise to the emotion of yearning and fervent appeal which is effectively used by Devarajan
Footnote : I am very much obliged to Malayalasangeetham info for the reference I had to prepare this note and am also thankful to P S Radhakrishnan for his invaluable inputs.