Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri | When a poem becomes a musical hit

Purists may not agree, but poetry can also be enjoyed when it is accompanied by music. Vishnu Narayanan Namboothiri certainly enjoyed listening to one of his early poems, Balyakala Sakhi, in G. Venugopal's gentle voice, set to lilting music by Suresh Manimala.

Venugopal included it in his first album of poems, Kavyaragam. “I think Balyakala Sakhi is now the most popular of all Namboothiri’s poems because so many people listened to the album, and we all know that very few actually spend time to read poetry,” he told The Hindu over phone. “In one of his speeches, he had thanked me for making the poem popular.”

The poem was born from a very personal experience the poet had when he was young. It is sweet and poignant, like first love, the poem’s subject.

“It was the first poem that came to my mind when I decided to include Namboothiri in my album,” recalled Venugopal. “I was introduced to him by my cousin S. Vinaya Kumar while I was a school student.”

The singer said he wanted to pay the poet for using his poem in the album. “But I didn't know how he would react, so I just made him sit in my car and drove around the Thiruvananthapuram city and finally managed to take the cheque out of my pocket,” said Venugopal. “He refused. He made me drive to the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy and asked me to deposit it there.”

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 4:16:21 PM |

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