Jayachandran, the voice of romance, turned 70 last week

In the dead of the night, when the only sound you could hear is silence, softly play on your music system the song, “Rajeeva nayane neeyurangoo…” You would get a fair idea about what bliss is.

P. Jayachandran’s matchless voice, which turned 70 last week, immortalised that song created by lyricist Sreekumaran Thampi and composer M.S. Viswanathan.

It continues to delight us 40 years after it was first heard in ‘Chandrakantham’. And it remains the sweetest lullaby a man has sung for his ladylove on the silver screen.

Nobody else could have given expression to the romance in that love song the way Jayachandran did. That is why he could make his voice heard even in the presence of a phenomenon called Yesudas. No mean achievement that.

“A banyan tree does not allow another one to flourish under it, but Jayachandran proved that it was possible,” says Thampi, who has penned some of Jayachadran’s finest melodies, such as “Swarnagopura narthaki shilpam…” (‘Divyadarshanam’), “Sougandhikangale vidaruvin…” (‘Pathira Suryan’), “Chandathil kadanjeduthoru…” (‘Shasthram Jayichu Manushyan Thottu’), “Sandhyakkenthinu sindooram…” (‘Maya’) and “Nin maniyarayile…” (‘CID Nazir’).

Jayachandran’s voice still retains the freshness and romance. He sounds remarkably youthful even at 70. “That is because he is in love with music and not with his own songs, unlike most singers,” says Thampi. “It is the songs of P. Susheela and Mohammed Rafi that Jayachandran listens to mostly.”

Like those legends, he is second to none when it comes to giving the right emotion to a song. His rendering of the light song, “Onnini sruthi thazthi…” written by ONV Kurup and composed by G. Devarajan, is a shining example.

It was Devarajan who gave Jayachandran his break in Malayalam cinema, with “Manjalayil mungithorthi…” (‘Kalithozhan’). Jayachandran made a sudden impact and earned a reputation of a singer with a unique voice and singing style.

Over the next few decades, he regaled Malayalis with melodies such as “Neelakkanukalo…” (‘Kottaram Vilkanundu’), “Poornendumukhiyodambalathil…” (‘Kurukshethram’), “Anuraga ganam pole…” (‘Udyogasthe’), “Njanitha thirichethi…” (‘Asuravithu’), “Suprabhatham…” (‘Panitheeratha Veedu’) and “Ekanthapathikan njaan…” (‘Ummachu’). He also made his mark in Tamil with hits like “Rasathi unne…” (‘Vaidehi Kathirunthal’), “Enmel vizhuntha…’ (‘May Matham’) and “Oru daivam thantha…” (‘Kannathil Muthamittal’).

Jayachandran is in a class of his own in devotional music too. His songs in ‘Pushpanjali’, composed by P.K. Kesavan Namboodiri, like “Ambadi thannilorunni…”, “Vadakkunnathanu…” and “Vighneswara…” are examples. That album was released nearly three decades ago, but it continues to be played in temples across Kerala. Because, good music does not age. Like Jayachandran’s voice.