Matters of the Mind, Nature of the Heart

Heart-and-Mind-in-Old-Malayalam-Cinema
Image Source & Credit : https://alochemshelelohim.wordpress.com/

Heart (ഹൃദയം) usually refers to the organ which pumps our blood to various parts of the body, and Mind (മനസ്സ്) refers to where thought processes occur in us, where we feel emotions. However, in Malayalam movie lyrics, lyricists have painted vastly different pictures of various aspects of the mind using those terms interchangeably. Most of these have philosophical undertones. Here are some of my favourites.

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Susie’s Fab Five | Songs of Dawn

Songs of Dawn in Malayalam Cinema
The Break of Dawn from Ulsavapittennu (1989)

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.

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Susie’s Fab Five | Tribute to Dr PB Srinivas

Dr PB Srinivas - Early Years in Playback
Credit : DNA

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.

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Susie’s Fab Five | Stories as Songs for Children

Sarada and Baby Sumathi in Nadhi (1969)
Sarada and Baby Sumathi in Nadhi (1969)

Children love stories. It is a great way to calm them down after a hectic day, and to get them to eat, or to get them to sleep. As a child, my Mum and my older sister told me stories, be it from the Bible (Mum), or from literary classics like Jane Eyre or the Count of Monte Christo (adapted deftly to a five-year-old’s level of understanding by my sister). It would be told in instalments every night, and much like a reality TV show of today, would finish for the day frustratingly at the most interesting and suspenseful moment – “The rest tomorrow” (ബാക്കി ഇനി നാളെ).

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Susie’s Fab Five | Odes to our Universe and its mystic beauty.

Alone in the Universe From time immemorial the Universe has always fascinated man.  He wrote, sang and wove dreams about it. He strove to conquer it. { Quoting Captain Kirk from Star Trek “Space: The final frontier…..to boldly go where no man has gone before!”  😀  In Malayalam movies, Vayalar reigns supreme among lyricists who expressed this fascination with poetic brilliance; the others are there, too, but some way behind. Here are some of my favourites.

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Susie’s Fab Five | Songs that assert a Second Chance

A Second Chance
Pix Courtesy : Remigiusz Szczerbak

A second chance at life and love – the hope of reconciling after a quarrel, or the unexpected blossoming of a new romance, the optimism of the human psyche is eternal. There are many such songs in Malayalam cinema.

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Susie’s Fab Five | Songs that make you Smile

Adoor Bhasi in Lottery Ticket Comedy interludes have been a staple of commercial Malayalam cinema from the beginning. Many of these scenes were picturised as songs. I have not seen many of these songs, because in those days, radio was the only way for me to listen to songs. Many of these still bring a smile to my face even today. It is only recently that I have seen, through Youtube clips, the actual scenes which belonged to those classic songs.

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Susie’s Favorites | Songs of Separation from Malayalam Films

KR Vijaya and Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair in Shakunthala (1965) The pain of separated lovers, and their desperate longing for each other have been the subject of poets and lyricists for centuries. Visual media like cinema brought popularity to these, and people empathised with the emotions. Cinema is almost always a reflection of real life. While passing through the mind of the poet, the lyricist, the musician, the singers, the actors, and the cinematographer, this  intense feeling of the pain of separation gets stamped with their individual interpretation.

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