Music

Song of the season

A still from the song ‘Njaanum...’ with Kalidas Jayaram. Faisal Razi is seen to his right.

A still from the song ‘Njaanum...’ with Kalidas Jayaram. Faisal Razi is seen to his right.  

Faisal Razi on his sensational debut with his song ‘Njaanum Njaanumentaalum’ in Abrid Shine’s Poomaram

Overwhelmed would perhaps be an understatement to describe Faisal Razi’s current state of mind. As I write this piece, the song ‘Njaanum Njaanumentaalum...’, which he sang and composed for Abrid Shine’s upcoming movie Poomaram, is going insanely viral on the Internet. The new love anthem has crossed 35 lakh views and counting, after it was released on YouTube on November 18. The addictive song has taken social media by storm with trolls and memes being rolled out every day.

Faizal Rasi Photo: Special Arrangement

Faizal Rasi Photo: Special Arrangement  

It is like a dream come true for Faisal. He says he owes it all to his alma mater, Maharaja’s College in Kochi, and Abrid Shine. “The song is not mine, it was on everybody’s lips when I joined Maharaja’s to study music. But then it had a different tune, more of a folksy kind. I scored the new version. Early this year sir [Abrid Shine] had come to the college for auditions for Poomaram.

“He interacted with students and that’s when I sang the song for him, strumming it on my guitar. Then it didn’t have the humming or the chorus. He liked it so much that he asked me whether he could use it in the movie. I was so thrilled...Later we met him with the full song at his apartment,” says Faisal.

The youngster from Koratty in Thrissur had two goals in his life: “To study at Maharaja’s and become a composer. That’s why even after pursuing a course in sound engineering from Keltron in Thiruvananthapruam, I joined Maharaja’s for BA music. Maybe I was destined to study there... see how my life has changed now!” says the 22-year-old.

Not many know that Faisal is also featured in the song sequence picturised beautifully on Kalidas Jayaram. The bespectacled youngster sitting to the right of Kalidas is Faisal.

He has no musical lineage whatsoever. “But my parents love music and can hum a tune...” An ardent listener of A.R. Rahman’s songs, his favourites are Sufi and qawwali numbers. He used to have a band, Cafe Qawwali, which performed only qawwali.

“I had been making efforts to become a composer. With so many talents around, the destination seemed so far away. All that I knew was that it was going to be a long journey and was prepared for it. And then sir came into my life and everything happened so fast that I can’t believe it,” says Faisal signing off.

Story of the song

Ever since the song made waves, everybody wanted to know who the lyricist was. Well, that still remains a mystery, says Abrid Shine. Little did he know that his visit to Maharaja’s College to select actors and singers for Poomaram would turn out to be so interesting. It was Nasil P., a former student of the college and Abrid’s current assistant, who took the latter to Maharaja’s. “I fell in love with Faisal’s song and the simple notes of the strings,” says Abrid.

Abrid Shine Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Abrid Shine Photo: Thulasi Kakkat  

Then started his search for the lyricist. That led him to Sudheesh Suthan, another former student of the college.

“Apparently Sudheesh had gone to a house in Pala to lay tiles during his college vacation. There he heard another worker from Kodungallur, a boatman, singing the song. He learnt it and brought it back to his college, thus making it popular,” narrates Abrid.

The story doesn’t end there. A day after the song was released on YouTube, Abrid got a call from Ratheesh, a songster of Karinthalakoottam, saying that one Pradeep from Kuzhoor near Athani in Kochi had some information about the song. “The same night I drove to Kuzhoor where I met Pradeep and his friends, Vinod and Kannan. They told me a strange story. They had heard a man singing the song in a toddy shop in Kodumkulam near Kuzhoor. The singer asked for a pen, wrote it down for them and sang it again for them. But they have no clue who he was...,” Abrid recalls.

Even as debates on social media argue about the meaning of the lines, Abrid believes that the lyricist must have been a profound thinker as the lyrics, though simple, have a deeper meaning. “All I want to say is that the song was given to me by Maharaja’s.”

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 4:03:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Song-of-the-season/article16693733.ece

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