[ 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.
Director Kamal‘s first movie was Mizhineer Pookal (1986). Kakkothikavile Appooppan Thadikal ( 1987 ) was his third Malayalam movie. Now with close to 40 films that defy categories and genre to his credit, he still considers Kakkothikavile Appooppan Thadikal as the one closest to his heart. I think it is not difficult to see why.
There is no other film that weaves a story around childhood and sibling love like Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988), in Malayalam, written by Fazil and directed by Kamal , and looking at the way things are progressing, there never will. Kamal calls it the movie closest to his heart, Vipin Mohan (legendary cinematographer) says there can be no film like this, ever. It doesn’t have a single superstar of the times, no sky-high budgets, no glitz. All it has is a beautiful story of separation, independence and the inevitable reunion, deftly woven around a myth that stays sacred in the collective consciousness of one’s childhood – everything that is embodied by an appoppan thadi ( Grandpa’s beard a.k.a Calotropis Gigantea) !