His is one of the finest male voices among the younger generation in Malayalam film music today. With songs like Karimizhikuruviye kandeela… (Meesa Madhavan), Kathirunna pennalle… (Classmates) and Enthanentha… (Goal), he has proved a hit with melodies.
Devanand, who was in Kozhikode twice during the last one week to sing in stage shows, is one singer who has not got his due yet, though. “But I am confident that I will get what I deserve eventually,” he says, smiling.
Lady Luck has not smiled at him so far, it has to be said. Some of his best songs were either not picturised in films or were not properly promoted. And many people still believe, Karimizhikuruviye…, his biggest hit till date, is sung by Vidhu Prathap.
“I was not aware that the song had created such a misconception because at that time I was living in Chennai,” he says. “Sometimes I feel sad that I couldn’t enjoy the success of my own song. I have, however, overcome that.”
It was after that bitter experience that he decided to change his name from Prathap to Devanand. “Now at least I am credited properly for my own songs,” he smiles. “I really could enjoy the success of my songs in Classmates and Goal. Success has come to Devanand the hard way. He had slogged it out in Chennai as a track singer before he caught the attention of composers like Vidyasagar, who has made the best use of his talent, and Raveendran.
“I gained a lot by singing tracks for great singers like Yesudas, who advised me to move to Chennai from my hometown of Vaikkom, and K.S. Chitra,” he recalls. “Those days, when you sang the track, you were watched not just by the composer, but the director and the producer as well; so you had an opportunity to impress them.”
One of the directors impressed with Devanand was Lal Jose, who made him sing in films like Oru Maravathoor Kanavu (the song composed for that film by Raveendran was not shot though), Randam Bhavam and Meesa Madhavan. “I was nervous when Vidyasagar told me that the song I was about to sing, Karimizhikuruviye… would become a huge hit; I was happy that I could do justice to the song. And it was nice singing it once again with Sujatha at the show in Kozhikode last week. Kozhikode is a place I actually like to perform, for the people here, compared to many other towns in Kerala, appreciate melodies, my strong point.”
Devanand, who learnt music from his father Vaikkom G. Vasudevan Namboothiri, feels reality shows on TV have given viewers the impression that singers are supposed to dance as well. “I often get requests from the audience during the show to dance while singing. I politely tell them that my physique is not exactly suited for dancing; neither are my songs,” he chuckles.
P.K. Ajith Kumar