KS Sethumadhavan’s Kanyakumari (1974) had 2 songs in Malayalam written by Vayalar, set to music by MB Sreenivasan. There is an English song credited for its lyrics and music to MB Srinivasan but I strongly contest that and feel a collaborator on the lyrics have been left out. There are two instrumental pieces, catering to two disparate forms of dance as it were, a Shiv Parvati Lasya piece, and a music montage of Jayan’s memories of his Bohemian life, of a life-time of drugs, sex and rock-n-roll.
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.
Playwright – Thoppil Bhasi
Lyrics- Vayalar Ramavarma
MB Sreenivasan and K Raghavan
Direction- Thoppil Bhasi
Ashwamedham and the one that followed, Sarasayya addressed the same issue through the drama – the social stigma surrounding Leprosy as a contagion. Though the drama was instrumental in increasing the awareness of the “rights” of a section of the society which was deliberately kept out of the mainstream, the film version was a far cry from the original script, wallowing in melodrama and pithy glycerine histrionics. The movie adaptation was shot entirely in the Leprosy Sanatorium in Nooranadu, the only one in Asia. Even the drama was freely staged for the inmates of the Sanatorium by Thoppil Bhasi.
This series is dedicated to Richard. 🙂
I don’t think there has been any other theater movement or for that matter any movement in any state in India, that has entertained, and with it sown the seeds of social rethinking and transformation the way KPAC (Kerala Peoples Arts Club) did for Kerala. I guess along with the central theme of the subjects that stalwarts like Thoppil Bhasi chose for the productions, the songs composed by the popular team of ONV-Devarajan was a big draw that brought people to watch them. Even though the compilation from HMV of KPAC’s drama songs is now on CD, I can never thank those audio engineers enough for leaving the hiss, the scratches and the rumble intact. All I have to do is close my eyes, and its as if KPAC Sulochana is right there on stage, rocking the stage with Cheppu kilukkana changathi ( from Mudiyanaya Puthran, 1960) . In an interview with The Hindu in 2005, Devarajan Master has shared some interesting details on the efforts that went in to produce the compilation.