Some of the evergreen songs in Malayalam cinema are imprinted on our minds along with images of Madhu. Here is a selection of a dozen such unforgettable songs:
An evocative humming by P. Suseela leads to an introductory instrumental piece and the first stanza of this song from the movie Abhijatyam (1971). Film director A. Vincent has visualised a recording session for radio in which Madhu and Sarada sing. As K.J. Yesudas breaks into the melody, created by A.T. Ummer, it is bliss.
Baburaj and Kecheri team up again, this time in folk raga Pahadi for the movie Khadeeja (1967). The song, immortalised by Yesudas, invokes the richness of the music of the hills. Feel the pangs of love in Kecheri’s words ‘Then purattiya mullukal nee karalil eriyuvathenthino…’
‘Manasa maine varoo…’
An all-time great love song from the Ramu Kariat movie Chemmeen (1965) that brought together king of lyrics Vayalar Rama Varma, iconic composer Salil Chowdhury and velvet-voiced Manna Dey. The torments of love are writ large on Madhu’s face, the sea wailing in the background. Vayalar writes ‘Kadalile Olavum Karalile Mohavum Adangukillomane Adangukillaa’ …
Composer G. Devarajan uses accordion to create a mood of mellow wistfulness. The lyrics are by O.N.V. Kurup and the song is from the 1965 movie Kattupookkal . Wearing a nightgown, Madhu paces about the terrace of a house. Lovelorn, he asks ‘Ennaduthethumbol Enthuchodikkilum enthinanenthina nee mounam? ’
A haunting piece. ONV, K. Raghavan, and Yesudas construct a melody for the movie Yuddhakandam .
‘Mangalam Nerunnu Njan…’
G. Devarajan’s tune and Sreekumaran Thampi’s lyrics have a special charm. The song is from the 1976 movie ‘Hridayam Oru Kshetram.’
Vayalar’s magical lyrics, tastefully tuned by Devarajan. The song lent charm to the movie Nakhangal , and is picturised on Madhu and Jayabharati.
P. Bhaskaran’s words were set to tune by Pukazhenthi (Velappan Nair), a musician who gave us hits such as ‘Gopuramukalil…’ and ‘Madhuraprateeksha than..’. The movie was Vithukal.
‘Ezhilam Pala Poothu…’
A memorable Susheela-Yesudas duet from the 1973 film Kaadu , set to tune by Hindi composer Vedpal Verma. It topped the charts.
‘Anuraga Ganam Pole…’
P. Jayachandran’s song was penned by Yusufali Kecheri and set to tune by M.S. Baburaj for the 1967 movie Udyogastha . The singer’s voice has a rare texture.
Devarajan captures the beauty of raga Kharaharapriya in toto. Vayalar borrows the first line from Unnayi Warrier.
‘Omalale Kandu Njaan…’
A song from the movie Sindooracheppu that ranks among the best of Yusufali-Devarajan-Yesudas combination. Forty-three years have passed. Kerala’s tastes and values have changed. But the song lives on.