Staff Reporter

Documentary captures the life of Kozhikode Abdul Khader

KOZHIKODE: A documentary on singer Kozhikode Abdul Khader, also known as Kerala Saigal, will be screened in early November.

The 30-minute work, which unfolds through reminiscences of close associates, will bring out the singer’s persona as well as his musical prowess.

Nadim Naushad, director of the documentary, says this is the first documentary on Abdul Khader, whose masterpiece is ‘Engane Nee Marakkum Kuyile’ from ‘Neela Kuyil.’ Along with M.S. Baburaj, Abdul Khader had brought much joy to music lovers in Kozhikode.

“I continue to be fascinated by the singer,” says Naushad, a teacher at the Kolathur Government Higher Secondary School. He had earlier directed a documentary on writer P. Valsala.

Old visuals of Kozhikode city and charcoal sketches will be intersperse with the reminiscences, to provide a total picture. ‘Thangakinakkal Hridaye Veeshum’ the song in ‘Navalokam,’ for which Dakshina Murthy composed music, launched Abdul Khader as a cine playback singer in 1951,

Najmal Babu, his son and singer, remembers. Soon to follow were half a dozen films which catapulted Abdul Khader to a coveted slot in the Malayalam film music scene.

Abdul Khader’s stint as a playback singer lasted only for a short while though his popularity continued through radio songs like ‘Njan padan orthathu madhuridha ganam,’ based on Tagore’s Gitanjali.

He later sang for the Left parties too, says Ahan Sebastian, a long-time associate, who describes him as a true secularist.

Shanta Devi, film and TV actress adds poignancy as she remembers the encouragement provided by Abdul Khader all along. Wilson Samuel, violinist, and Bhasi Malaparambu too share memories of Abdul Khader. Rafeeq Rasheed wields the camera, and Fasal scores the music.