[This came originally as a detailed response from Sajith Bhaskaran to a post here on S Janaki, and knowing the amount of information he manages to pack to each response, strongly warranted a “place” of its own, and hence this post. S Jankai, P Madhuri and G Devarajan have always been an intersting trio for any Malayalam music buffs who care about Malayalam Film Playback history, for the musical creativity and output between them and a certain degree of intrigue that surrounded the great music director’s choices in vocals over some of the best-loved gems from Malayalam films of yore. Over to Sajith. ]
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.
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!
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.
Swami (1977 ), directed by Basu Chatterjee and produced by Jaya Chakravarty (mother of Hema Malini) had the melodious Pal Bhar Main Yeh Kya Ho Gaya , composed by Rajesh Roshan and rendered by Lata ji, brought alive on screen by Shabana Azmi.