For those who knew singer H. Mehboob, listened to him sing, there could be no replacement. He was their own bhai, a natural crooner, who poured out his soul effortlessly, without tricks or exaggeration. He was Kochi’s own singer and no wonder a few of those who knew him and his music intimately recreated the magic of Mehboob’s songs in Mehboob Ororma, a mehfil organised by the Bank Employees Arts Movement Ernakulam (BEAME) at TDM Hall.
While most of Mehboob’s film songs are available his non-film ones, especially his extempore renderings, were never recorded. Most of these songs written by Mepally Balan and Nelson Fernandez stand testimony to the amazing talent of Mehboob, who was stamped as a singer of comedy songs in films.
Some of those non-film songs like ‘Naadinu vendi…’, ‘Pattapakalum choottum minnichu…’, ‘Natthum kozhiyum…’, ‘Karalil thee eriyunnu’, ‘Angottum ingottum…’, and the now popular ‘Kayalinarike kodikal parathi…’. These were songs, with the typical Kochi flavour, that Mehboob sang with so much emotion.And seasoned singers like Ibrahim Thuruthil and Kishore Abu, along with Cochin Abu, Shafique Amaravathy and Saritha succeeded in finding the soul of these songs. Abu and Ibrahim were easily the pick of the singers.
Mehboob’s classic film numbers like ‘Kathusookshioru kasturimambazham…’ ( Nair Pidicha Pulivaal), ‘Jeevitham oru gaanam…’ ( Periyar), ‘Neeyallatharundennude…’ ( Neelisali), ‘Kozhikodeangadiyile…’
( Thankakudam), ‘Kollan nadakkunna kombulla bappa…’ ( Subaida), ‘Keladi nine njaan…’ ( Doctor), ‘Kandu randu kannu…’( Chuzhi) and many others revealed the variety and range of this talented singer.
Mani Palluruthy (harmonium), Mustafah (violin), Johnny (tabla), Paul Palluruthy (rhythm) and Rijad (guitar) provided the backup.
The power and spirit of the originals, the angst and sorrow, that went missing when recreated in recent films, were brought back to life by these Kochi singers. At the end of the two-hour show Mehboob was no longer a memory, he came alive!