Sacred Songs (Parishudha Gaanangal – original title) was an ‘event’ in the Malayalam music industry and one of the greatest commercial successes of Tharanagani Studio. To my best knowledge, it was the first music album centered around a concept/ theme, and an-out-of-the-cinema-playback set of compositions done for the first time by a mainstream film music composer/ directer ( read Big time Composer). Sacred Songs, released in 1982, would also lay the template for the successful series of ‘Christian Devotional Songs’ series that would be put out by Tharangani Studio on a regular basis, mostly being released around the Christmas season. This album also paved way for the content format of all the albums that followed it, though most tried to keep up with some semblance of a theme, you could find one composition on Nativity and another on the Passion of Christ in almost every album that came out of Tharangini under the “Sneha” series.
As with any other legend in our film industry, its impossible to choose when it comes to our Nightingale of Celluloid, S Janaki, or fondly Janakiamma with all the respect that I can muster. Her voice is like warm honey over a cold heart when it wants to be and like a comforting cloak on a windy evening.While on the subject, I just felt I need to mention about Dhool, a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the yesteryears of Malayalam playback singing amongst a host of other subjects. Sadly, it has been live but inactive since the past two years.
I have managed to write a note to the owner to keep it up forever. I sincerely hope he does.
Shyam aka Samuel Joseph was like a breath of fresh air when he stepped in to take the baton of Music Composer in Malayalam. Not that there was a dearth of talent, but it was high time someone with a different ‘sound’ made his/her mark in Malayalam Cinema. And who else but Shyam, who was the pet of MSV and the favorite violinist of Salilda, we owe a big note of thanks to him for bringing the Western thematic concepts into popular mainstream Malayalam cinema. Though he dabbled in independent projects and attended as a session violinist in the Tamil film industry ( his first Tamil film was Etrikal Jagrathai in 1968) , his first independent project in Malayalam was Manyashree Vishwamathran (1974), Madhu’s fourth film as Director, and was recommended to him by none other than Sheela. This note is just a frank appreciation of his immense talent and the dexterity with which he composed his songs that had his signature in almost every tune, at times even reminding you of Salilda’s magic.
[ This was written on July 3, 2010 on the passing of MG Radhakrishnan, as my own little tribute to this unassuming genius in music as we know it. Today, a year on, the memories and the songs are still afresh, just like they were, new off the composing console.]
I think Providence is in a hurry to take back all the talent that had been powering Malayalam Cinema, and is going about it with its cold and clinical might that is beyond the scope of our mortal capabilities. With the passing of MG Radhakrishnan, Malayalam Cinema loses another school of playback compositions – no more of the new compositions in the exquisitely mellowed Ahori Raga, or for the matter, the earthy tone of Unni Ganapathiye. Speaking of which, it was just two days back I watched Kalli Chellamma (1969), one of the enduring classics from Shobhana Parameshwaran Nair, and just couldn’t take my eyes and my ears off the folk dance that Adoor Bhasi performed on stage, lip-synching to the voice of the debut of MG Radhakrishnan as a Playback singer.
AT Ummer was the most busy music director of the late 70’s. I guess he was under so much pressure to sustain the success of his teaming -up with Bichu Thirumala, and most of the times buckling under Producers who had a ready made Hindi or Tamil tune that had to be repackaged for their project.
It isn’t any different when it comes to IV Sasi’s Ina ( 1982), which had 3 of its songs borrowed from other languages.
There were three songs in the film, written by Bichu Thirumala and set to music by Ouseppachan.