‘Ayyanayyan’, Bijibal’s composition in ‘41’, scores high for its lyrics, musicality and rendition

Written by Rafeeq Ahamed, it is sung by composer Sharreth

November 08, 2019 05:30 pm | Updated 05:30 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

 (From left) Lal Jose, Sharreth, Rafeeq Ahamed and Bijibal

(From left) Lal Jose, Sharreth, Rafeeq Ahamed and Bijibal

“Paramasathyathinte porul” (essence of the ultimate truth). That’s how Bijibal introduces his composition, ‘Ayyanayyan’ in Lal Jose’s 41, which reached theatres on Friday. Written by Rafeeq Ahamed and sung by composer Sharreth, the track is getting rave reviews for lyrics and rendition.

The film, a socio-political satire, is about the conflict between ideology and faith and is set against the backdrop of a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Moving away from the usual format of a devotional number, the song mainly reflects upon the concept of ‘Tatwamasi’ (‘Thou art that’), a Sanskrit phrase in the Chandogya Upanishad, which is also written on the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum in Sabarimala. “This is the principal philosophy of the temple and the pilgrimage. It is all about self-realisation and the truth that god resides in all living beings. But in the present times, we are continuously in conflict with one another,” says Rafeeq.

The weaver of words has written a deeply philosophical song on faith and humanity. “I don’t want to take credit for that. I have adapted what Ezhuthachan, Kumaran Asan, Poonthanam and Sree Narayana Guru wrote long ago into the format of a film song. I am happy that lyrics are being appreciated. Usually, we lyricists are never in the picture!”

He adds that the director had given him total freedom in the writing process. “He was clear he didn’t want a devotional number. When I put forward the idea of giving the song a philosophical tone, he had no objection to it because we all felt that it is the need of the hour,” says Rafeeq. He adds that he has written songs for all religious faiths, even though he is not a believer.

The song has been set in Vijayasri, a janya raga of Pavani, the 41st raga on the Melakartha chart. Bijibal says that there aren’t many songs composed in the raga in Malayalam. “It is not a prayer but a reminder about what Ayyappa stands for. It exhorts the need to stand together,” he explains. Bijibal says that he opted for Sharreth to render the track since he wanted a voice that could bring out the raga element in the authentic way.

Sharreth, meanwhile, stresses upon the lyrical content and tone of the track. “The verses are deep and is definitely a song for the present times. Each raga has its mood and Bijibal has excelled in handling the rarely-used raga. That’s why it sounds fresh,” says Sharreth, adding that he has sung for the first time in a Lal Jose film. The composer also says that the song can’t be put in the category of evergreen devotional tracks in Malayalam on Lord Ayyappa. “Be it ‘Gangayaaru pirakkunnu’ or ‘Swamy sangeetham’ or other songs, they are rich yet simple and straight to the point. However, this track is in a league of its own with its metaphysical lines,” he points out.

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