M.G. Radhakrishnan was renowned for his light music compositions. Wednesday was his fourth death anniversary.
Sujatha was a little schoolgirl when M.G. Radhakrishnan asked her to sing ‘Odakkuzhal vili…’ for an All India Radio (AIR) programme in Kochi, her hometown. Little could she have imagined that it would go on to become one of her most popular songs ever.
“I was 11 years old when I sang that song,” recalls Sujatha, on the fourth death anniversary (July 2) of Radhakrishnan. “That light song is about as popular as any of my film songs, I think.”
Radhakrishnan was truly a master of composing light songs. Some of the most popular Malayalam songs in this genre were tuned by him. Melodies such as ‘Ghanashyama sandhya hrudayam…’ (Yesudas) and ‘Jayadeva kaviyude…’ (P. Jayachandran) are classics.
Though he was not the most prolific of composers in films, he gave us several immortal songs, such as ‘Natha nee varum…’ (Chamaram), ‘Pazham thamizh pattizhayum…’ (Manichithrathazhu), ‘Thira nurayum…’ (Ananthabhadram), ‘Mouname…’ (Thakara), ‘Ambalappuzha unnikkannanodu…’ (Adwaitham), ‘Oru dalam mathram…’ (Jalakam) and ‘Sooryakireedam…’ (Devasuram).
“My favourite film song by Radhakrishnan is ‘Pazham thamizh…,’” says Sujatha. “It is a truly great composition and sung brilliantly by Yesudas.”
She had sung the slower version of ‘Oru murai vanthu…’ in that film. But that is one of the few film songs she has sung for Radhakrishnan. She has had only one hit song for him — ‘Neelakkuyile cholloo…’ (Adwaitham).
“I do not have any complaints though, as he had his own disciples such as K.S. Chithra,” says Sujatha. “He was very proud of Chithra; I remember him introducing me to her in Thiruvananthapuram. She was a puny girl, and I thought she was younger than me, though we are of the same age. He had made her sing for me, and I was amazed by her talent.”
Sujatha is glad that she could sing some timeless light songs for Radhakrishnan, such as ‘Yamunayil veenilakum…’ “He was brilliant as a composer of light music,” she says. “He knew how to use a raga in its simplistic form to create a melodious light song, as he did with Hindolam in ‘Odakkuzhal vili…’”