Songs from Harischandra (1955)

Aathmavidyalayamey from Harischandra (1955)

Harischandra (1955)’s huge success, I guess, was also partly because of that one fabulous number Aathmavidyalayamey, sung by Kamukara Purushothaman, who had his debut in film playback singing for Ponkathir ( 1953), a home production of Merry Land, under Neela Productions. There were a total of 16 songs, written by Thirunayinaarkurichi Madhavan Nair and set to music by Br Lakshmanan, the hit pair of that era. Aatmavidyalayamey, seems to be  inspired by the beautiful Sanskrit Kriti, Manasa Sancharare composed by Sadashiva Brahmendra in the 18th Century.

Continue reading Songs from Harischandra (1955)

KPAC Dramas adapted to Film – 1

Mudiyanaaya Puthran (1961)

Mudiyanaya Puthran Film Title The first in the series of the KPAC plays to be adapted on to the silver screen, the popularity of KPAC’s play which debuted in 1957 helped in its own way fuel up the popularity of its screen version too. The movie was produced by TK Pareekutty for his Chandrathara Productions, and was the debut of Ramu Kariat, Adoor Bhasi and S.Konnat – the art director who would later become a staple for all of Udaya’s productions, specially the Vadakkan Pattukal. The main roles of the village rebel Rajan was played by Sathyan ( O Madhavan in the stage version), his lady love Chellamma was Miss Kumari( KPAC Sulocahana in the stage adaptation), and the play had even won the the Kerala Sahitya Academy award for best literary work in the drama category in 1959.

Continue reading KPAC Dramas adapted to Film – 1

Christian Songs From Old Malayalam Films -3

Salil Choudhary had this amazing sensibility to really get under the skin of any genre of music that he was briefed to create according to the Director’s vision. Add to the sound tapestry that we are familiar with, when it comes to Salilda‘s contribution to Malayalam cinema, a Russian composition for Nellu (1974), and I would say the most perfect Christian harmonic church chorale I have ever heard onscreen was in Aparadhi ( 1977), Nanma Cherum Amma. It is also surprising that he never repeated that composition anywhere, maybe because it was so appropriate and unique, just perfect for that moment for that one film in Malayalam. I have had the misfortune to listen to countless versions ( really really horrible, terrible, scary covers) of the song available in the market, and I chuckle to myself when you realise that even with the latest cut-and-paste sound engineering magic in recording studios these days, NO ONE has been able to replicate the haunting harmony of the song!

Continue reading Christian Songs From Old Malayalam Films -3

Poombatta’s Songs (1971) | G Devarajan, Sound of Music, RocknRoll and King Shibi

There were four songs and an instrumental dance track in Poombatta (1971). The lyrics for all the songs were by Yousuf Ali Kechery, set to music by G Devarajan. Being a self-styled ‘Children’s Film’, the songs were also crafted and set to music to gratify that belief, which also explains the song about King Shibi from the Jataka Tales.

Raagini and Baby Sridevi in Poombatta (1971)

I guess BK Pottekkad included it to probably propagate a sense of higher value and worth that the film conveys, but P Madhuri’s voice is not exactly what sounds agreeable to me as the voice of a loving mother (here Raagini) singing to her daughter ( Baby Sridevi).

Continue reading Poombatta’s Songs (1971) | G Devarajan, Sound of Music, RocknRoll and King Shibi

Christian Songs From Old Malayalam Films -1.

Nithya Vishudhayam Kanya Mariyamey, the waltzy chorale from Nadi (1969) has always been a fond memory. Not just the fact that it symbolized a unique aspect of Old Malayalam Cinema – the transfer of the adapted Christian faith’s music into mainstream musical compositions in films. I don’t think there has ever been an other regional film industry that has so seamlessly integrated organized religion into the main fabric of the narratives and as a result given us memorable compositions, be it Christian chorale,  or ones that reflected the sanctity of the temple sanctorum, or for that matter the intensity of the faithful that assimilate their energy from the al-Masjid al-Haraam.

Continue reading Christian Songs From Old Malayalam Films -1.