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Song of the Day # 908

From: bb on: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:24 pm

Song of the Day: S.Janaki's songs in Malayalam - Part III

- Saravanan writes:

The Nightingale in God’s Own Country- Part III



The following decades brought halcyon years in Janaki’s career in Malayalam cinema, with her remaining happily ensconced in her enviable position as the most prolific female singer therein. All the music composers of the time flocked to Janaki and rejoiced when she brought their painstaking works to pulsating life.

Composers from Bombay who worked for Malayalam movies singled out Janaki to render their songs. In the late 60s and early 70s, Tarachand Bharjatya decided to venture south and dubbed 3 Hindi successes of his Rajshri Productions in Malayalam. The first in this series was the 1967 hit ‘taqdeer’ starring Bharat Bhushan, Shalini, Kamal Kapoor and Fareeda Jalal. Laxmikant-Pyarelal, who had composed the score for ‘taqdeer’, recorded the songs in the same tunes for the Malayalam version titled ‘vidhi’ (1967). P.Bhaskaran wrote the lyrics for the tunes and when Janaki sang Lata’s ‘jab jab bahaar aayi’ as ‘amirtam pakarna raathri’, the song cast aside the slur of a dubbed tune and fetched repeated airtime. Janaki’s two other songs on the movie, ‘aayiram chirakuLLa’ and ‘nandhavanathilE pushpangaLE’ also equaled, if not bettered the charm of the originals, and Laxmikant-Pyarelal were besotted with this dulcet diva of the South. The 1970 Dharmendra- Rakhee starrer ‘jeevan mrityu’ was the next Rajshri movie in this series to be dubbed in Malayalam. Titled ‘jeevitha samaram’ and released in 1971, the movie had L-P reworking their tunes again, and this time too, they picked on Janaki to replicate Lata’s magic in the two versions of ‘jhilmil sitarOn ka’. Janaki met their expectations and more with the both the happy (with Yesudas) and pathos rendition of ‘chinnum ventharathin.’ Bharjatya then dubbed the 1971 movie ‘uphaar’ starring Jaya Bhaduri and Swarup Dutt as ‘upahaaram’ (1972). Janaki summons vistas of forlorn loneliness in her ‘pirinju pOi sakhee’ (Lata’s ‘sooni rE nagariyaa’ ).

Producer T.E. Vasudevan decided to get the songs of his Prem Nazeer- Sheela starrer ‘moodal manju’ (1970) composed by Usha Khanna. P. Bhaskaran wrote the lyrics for the songs and Janaki traveled to Bombay where the songs were being recorded. Unfortunately, she fell ill immediately on arrival. However, Usha Khanna was determined that only Janaki should sing the songs, and ever the through professional, Janaki went to the studio. She remained lying on a couch in the recording theater, but when summoned, she did get up to sing and three solos were recorded one after another, without a single retake! The stunned Usha Khanna and her spellbound orchestra gave the singer a standing ovation, and Janaki responded with a wan smile before falling back exhaustedly on the couch. The three songs ‘maanasa manivEnuvil’, ‘unarau vEgam nee’ and ‘mukilE viNNilaayum kaNNeeru’ became immensely popular and find frequent airtime to this day.

Listen to ‘maanasa maNi vEnuvil’ from moodalmanju (1970)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by P. Bhaskaran
Music by Usha Khanna


Listen to ‘unaru vEgam nee’ from modalmanju (1970)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by P. Bhaskaran
Music by Usha Khanna



Salil Chowdhury came to Madras at the invitation of Ramu Kariat to compose music for ‘chemmeen’ and the immortal melodies that Salilda spun sitting in his room in Hotel Woodlands paved the way for a scintillating innings wherein Salida worked for 26 Malayalam movies, (including 4 for which he composed only the background music), spread over 3 decades. Janaki did not find place in the first 2 Malayalam albums of Salilda, wherein P. Leela was predominant female voice. Salil’s third Malayalam movie was ‘abhayam’ (1970) for which he composed only the background music, the songs being composed by V. Dakshinamoorthi. Salilda must have been impressed with ‘neeraadalathagriham’, the song that Janaki sang for Swami in ‘abhayam’, for when his next project ‘swapnam’ came up, he got Janaki to sing 2 diversely delightful solos. ‘swapnam’ (1973) was directed by Babu Nandancode and starred Madhu, Sudhir, Ranichandra and Nandita Bose. The album had 5 songs- all of them solos- Vani Jairam had a beautiful solo ‘sourayoodahathil’ and Yesudas sang ‘maanE maanE’ and ‘nee varoo kavya dEvathE’. Salilda called Janaki to sing the 2 other solos. And what memsmerizing marvels they were! ‘mazhavil kodi kaavadi’ was based on his own ‘nisi din nisi din’ (Lata in ‘annadata’), which in turn traced its original to Lata’s Bengali non-film song for Salilda ‘nishi din nishi din’. Opening with the bewitching call ‘kaamakkuyilE’, the song hops, skips and gallops with ‘mazhavil kodi kaavadi’, with Janaki’s infectious exuberance lighting up Salilda’s orchestration…

Listen to ‘mazhavil kodi kaavadi’ from swapnam (1973)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by O.N.V. Kurup
Music by Salil Chowdhury


The other song that Janaki sang in ‘swapnam’ was ‘saarikE en saarikE’. Salilda recycled the tune he had set Sandhya Mukherjee’s ‘jaarEjaa jaa phirjaa’ to. And 3 years after Janaki repeated the magic in ‘swapnam’, Salilda called Lata to sing the same tune in Hindi as ‘duniya rang badalti jaai’ (Jeevan Jyoti). What a haunting melody the song is, Janaki’s emotional essay framed with her inimitable light brighas linger long after the song…

Listen to ‘saarikE en saarikE’ from swapnam (1973)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by O.N.V. Kurup
Music by Salil Chowdhury


Over the years, Salilda gave Janaki many of his best compositions in Malayalam, and the singer did ample justice to Salilda’s well-placed trust. Some of the songs were based on Salilda’s earlier compositions in other languages, but Janaki brought in her own unique flourishes and that made all the difference, rendering the song sparkling new. In the 1975 movie ‘neelaponmaan’, Janaki sang that unforgettable solo ‘poomaala poonkuzhali’ that flows into ‘kilu kilum’ besides a duet with B. Vasanta, ‘kaNNil meenaadum’.



A. Bhimsingh remade Shakti Samanta’s 1972 movie ‘anuraag’ in Malayalam as ‘raagam’ (1975). S. D. Burman had come out with a winsome score for ‘anuraag’; nonetheless Salilda was not far behind with ‘raagam’. The Malayalam equivalent of the Rafi/Lata duet ‘wOh kya hai’ was tuned so liltingly by Salilda as ‘ividE kaattin sugantham’ and was sung by Yesudas and Janaki. Shankaran Nair’s ‘thulavarsham’ (1976) had an album that was partly V. Dakshinamoorthi’s and partly Salilda’s. Janaki was present in the works of both composers- ‘parayidukkil maNNuNdu’ with Selma George & Kamala (Dakshinamoorthi), ‘swapnadanam’ and ‘yamunE nee ozhuku’ with Yesudas (Salil). ‘muralidhara mukunda’ (aparadhi) and ‘malarkodi pOlE’ (vishukkani) were songs that hogged the airwaves in 1977. Shankaran Nair adapted Erich Seagal’s tragic ‘Love Story’ as ‘madanOlsavam’ (1978) and made Kamalhasan and Zarina Wahab play the lead roles. Salilda’s music was the highpoint of the movie- Janaki and Yesudas made a tryst with immortality when they sang the enchanting songs. While ‘ee malarkanyakaL’ by Janaki & chorus is a romantic rhapsody, when listened to in the still of the night the heartrending solo ‘sandhyE kaNNeeril enthE sandhyE’ fills one’s eyes with unbidden tears. Janaki was rightfully honoured with the Kerala State Government Award for ‘sandhyE’.

Listen to ‘sandhyE’ from madanOlsavam (1978)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by O.N.V. Kurup
Music by Salil Chowdhury


Flying high on this magnificent success, Salilda worked with Janaki in the following years and discovered each collaboration to be richly rewarding. ‘ee kaikaLi vEnozhukaan’’ (ee gaanam maRakkumO/1978) is one such delight that one can never tire of. Shankaran Nair engaged Salilda again for his 1979 movie ‘chuvanna chirakukaL’ and Janaki was at her best in ‘yaamini dEvi yaamini’ and ‘bhoomi nandini’. Released the same year, ‘prateeksha’ had the two stunners from Janaki and Salilda- ‘nerukaiyil neithottu’ that was soaked in a million yearnings and that vibrant slice of rainbow ‘kochchu kochchu swapnangaL.’ ‘manassE nin ponnambalam’ (puthia veLicham/1979) has Salilda in his rich orchestral elements and a brooding, introspective Janaki pours her heart out in each note. ‘allimalarkaavil’ from the 1982 Kamalahasan-Lakshmi starrer ‘andhi veyililE poNNu’ was probably the last song that Janaki sang for Salilda…. Janaki has the rightful place of pride in Salida’s Malayalam repertoire- she was the female singer to sing the most number of his Malayalam compositions… A wonderful partnership immortalized by unforgettable songs….

* * * *

The late A. T. Ummer was another composer who explored Janaki’s infinite range delightedly and reaped repeated successes in an association that lasted over 2 decades and gave forth more than 150 songs. Right from his first movie ‘thaLirukaL’ (1967) wherein he discovered the wondrous talent of Janaki when she sang the songs ‘pandu pandoru kaattil’ and ‘poovaadithoru’ up to the movie ‘padayani’ (1986) where he teamed her with the new star on the horizon K.S. Chithra in the duet ‘hridayam oru vallaki’, Ummer cherished Janaki as his propitious talisman and ensured that she was a perennial presence in his ensemble.




‘paraga surabhila kunkumam aNiyum’ (aalmaram/1969), ‘swarnamukilukaL swapnam kaaNum’ (vilakkappatta bandhangaL/1969), ‘mazhamukiloli vaman’ (aabhijathyam/1971), ‘kaNNaa kaarvarNaa’ (preethi/1972), ‘varillennu chollumbOl’ (thekkan kaattu/1973), ‘poomarakootilE’ (oru pidi ari/1974), ‘madhumakshikE’ (Chief Guest/1975), ‘adyasamagama lajjayil’ and ‘swayamvarathinu’, both with Yesudas (ulsavam/1976), ‘kuruvikaL Osanna paadum’ and ‘souramayookham’ with Yesudas (anubhavam/ 1976) - I am picking just few samples of Janaki’s collaborations with Ummer from each of the golden years… The melancholic ‘thushaara bindhukkaLE’ that Janaki sang for Ummer in I.V. Sashi’s Sridevi starrer ‘aalinganam’ (1976) fetched her the Kerala State Award that year. ‘neela jalasyathil’ (angeekaaram/1977) and ‘sooryanamaskaaram cheithunarum’ (adavukaL pathinettu/1978) are songs that are forever enshrined in the annals of Malayalam film music..

1978 brought with it I.V. Sashi’s ‘avaLudE raavukaL’ starring Seema. A bold and brutal look at the life of a sex worker, the movie was a runaway hit far and wide, for all the wrong reasons. Be it as it may, the movie will be remembered for another reason as well… the wonderful songs that Janaki sang for Ummer… Now, I have heard Ummer was given to lifting popular tunes from other languages at times, and this is probably true, for one of the songs that Janaki sang in ‘avaludE raavukaL’ is a straight lift from Rajesh Roshan’s ‘pal bhar mein yeh kya ho gaya’ sung by Lata in Basu Chatterjee’s 1977 movie ‘swami’. Nonetheless, Janaki gives the tune a tantalizing tint and shade with her vocals that made ‘raakEndhu kiranangaL’ one of her most popular Malayalam numbers ever.

Listen to ‘raakEndhu kirangaL’ from avaludE raavugaL (1978)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by Bichu Thirumala
Music by A. T. Ummer


‘avaludE raavugaL’ held another Janaki wonder as well- the caressing lullaby ‘unni aaraarirO’, a song that is everything a lullaby should be… gentle, soothing and pacifying, a panacea that erases all the troubles that torment one’s soul and fills one’s inner self with serene bliss…

Listen to ‘unni aarirarO’ from avaludE raavukaL
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by Bichu Thirumala
Music by A. T. Ummer


The late 70s were momentous years for the Janaki- Ummer partnership- albums such as soothrakaari, snEhikkan samayamilla, pambaram, aavEsam, manasa vacha karmana, agnivyooham, pushyaragam, angakkuri all had noteworthy songs sung by Janaki. The 1980 Balachandra Menon movie ‘aniyaatha valakaL’ had Janaki essaying a ghazal-like wonder ‘oru mayil peeliyaai’ which brought home the Kerala State Award for 1980..

Listen to ‘oru mayil peeliyaai’ from aniyaatha valakaL (1980)
Sung by S. Janaki
Lyrics by Bichu Thirumala
Music by A. T. Ummer


In later years, Ummer’s career was on the wane, but he ensured that Janaki was an integral part of whatever work that came his way… ‘chinga peNNin’ (avathaaram/1981), ‘jalashankhu pushpam’ (ahimsa/1981), ‘poo virinjilla’ with Jayachandran (ina/1982), ‘dil kE kinaarE’ with P.B. Srinivas, which was written by PBS himself, and ‘moodal manjin charuthayil’ with Yesudas (thadaakam/1982), ‘ponnin pushpangaL’ (oru mukham pala mukham/1983), ‘engO engengO’ (lakshmana rEkha/1984), ‘nyaan choodiyada’ (chillukottaram/1985), ‘onnanam kunnirangivaa’ (onathumbikkoroonjal/1985), ‘mazhaiyLLa raavil’ (aaruNdividE chodikkaan/1986)…



* * * *

~ Janaki’s songs for MSV, Shyam, Illaiyaraja… in the next part ~


Tags: S.Janaki

S.Janaki's songs in Malayalam - Part I : http://www.dhool.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6791

S.Janaki's songs in Malayalam - Part II : http://www.dhool.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6831

Discussion Page in DhooL on this Song

http://www.dhool.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6858