Monday, May 13, 2013


“You have been blogging about old and new Malayalam movies, evergreen songs, posting reviews of the new Malayalam releases etc all these days. Now, tell me something, which according to you are the two best ever Malayalam Movies made to date?” my friend and colleague Mohan Kumar from Kochi posed this question to me suddenly out of the blue. I could sense an underlying tinge of challenge in his poser, a subtle attempt to have me stymied. This set me thinking for a long time. Yes, there are many good Malayalam movies, some very good Malayalam movies and a few superb movies but which are the two best ever Movies made to date in Malayalam? Now what are the attributes of a best ever movie in any language, I pondered.

I enjoyed the movie; I came out of the cinema, discussed about it and recommended it to my friends. No, not good enough because I remembered the movie only till I see the next good movie and the previous movie I have seen took a backseat and slowly faded out of my mind. I realized that the best ever movie should touch a chord in me, make an impact on me and I should remember the movie for a long time to come. How long? A year, five years, ten years, twenty years or forever?

Suddenly the puzzle cleared and two of the best ever Malayalam Movies made (in my opinion) came to my mind. Yes, both these movies touched a chord in me, made an impact on me and I remember these movies for decades, the first one for nearly forty years and the second for more than thirty years. It cannot get better than this, can it?

The Movies are “Nirmalyam” (1973) and “Elippathayam” (1981) and both these movies stand apart from the runoff the mill Movies you get to see every other day.

 നിര്‍മ്മാല്യം NIRMALYAM (1973)

‘Nirmalyam’ means Darshan of the Deity in the Temple early in the morning before the Deity is adorned with flowers and jewels for the devotees to see and worship during the day i.e. seeing the Idol exactly the same way as it was left at the time of closure, the previous night. In the movie the meaning of ‘Nirmalyam’ denotes the leftovers of previous day’s offerings.

‘Nirmalyam’ was based on M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s short story ‘Pallivaalum Kaal chilambum and MT himself wrote the script, dialogues and directed the film.  The film was shot in Mookkuthala, a nondescript village in South Malabar District. The film is about Kerala at the crossroads of modernization and focused on the neglect of old Temples in remote villages and hardships faced by the families dependent on temples. ‘Nirmalyam’ also pointed an accusing finger at dire neglect of the traditional arts of Kerala.


Nirmalyam is all about veteran actor P.J. Antony’s stunning performance as Melekkavu Velichapad, who despite his abject poverty firmly believes that Goddess Melekkavu Bhagavathi has the bigger picture in Her mind and will alleviate his distress. It is P.J. Antony all the way and his brilliant histrionics as Velichpad is visible in every frame of Nirmalyam and one cannot have enough of it.
The Movie starts with the Melsanthi (Chief Priest) of the Melekkavu Bhagavathi Kshetram quitting his post as the dilapidated Temple is devoid of funds to conduct regular Poojas or pay salary or rice to the Priest. A new Priest is appointed in a hurry so that the daily Poojas don’t come to a standstill and Brahmadattan (Ravi Menon) a young Nampoothiri arrives and takes charge as Melsanthi.
The Velichapad’s family lives in abject poverty as with the changing times people have lost faith in the old traditions of Kerala and there are no takers for the Velichapad or his soothsaying skills. The Velichapad’s unemployed son Appu turns into a rebel and speaks and acts against temple traditions to the extend of defying his father who is dedicated to his job at the Temple. The Velichapad’s wife Narayani (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) struggles to run the household what with the meager income they get from the temple has also stopped. This drives the Velichapad to go around the village begging for alms to feed his starving family.
In a very emotional scene where the Velichapad is insulted for begging he cringes and longingly reminisces about the good old days when he and his family were living in abundance and listens to a Pulluvan and his wife singing 'Naavaru' in his courtyard in praise of his Unni (son). Please take a moment to savor this Pulluvan Paattu a brilliant composition by Maestro K. Raghavan to Edasseri’s lyric mellifluously rendered by K. P. Brahmanandan and Padmini.
Music: K. Raghavan, Lyric: Edasseri, Singers: Brahmanandan and Padmini

It is indeed unfortunate that the traditional Pulluvan Paattu is totally neglected and this folk art is dying a slow death.
The new priest Bhrammadattan falls in love with Ammini (Sumitra) the Velichapad’s daughter. Poverty hits the family hard and the Velichapad’s son Appu triess to sell his father’s Sacred Sword and Chilambu which are meant for performing the temple rituals, and an altercation breaks out between father and son that results in Appu being thrown out of the house and he leaves the village forever.
A deadly disease hits the village and the villagers believe that the disease is a manifestation of the curse of the Goddess who is angered because of the neglect of Her temple. The Velichapad decides to conduct a Kuruthi to appease the goddess and the villagers start flocking to the temple much to his delight and preparations for the ‘Kuruthi' festival begin. The new priest Brahmadattan seduces Ammini and runs away from the village. To make matters worse, on the day of the Kuruthi the Velichapad is shocked to find out that his wife Narayani has been selling her body to Kunjandi the local loan shark to keep the home fire burning.
Nirmalyam ends with an emotion packed scene where the Velichapad gets into frenzy, dances in front of the Goddess, spits at Her face, violently strikes his own body with the sacred sword, till he falls down dead. Please view this scene as a mark of standing ovation to the Late actor P.J. Antony for his brilliant effort in touching the ultimate in histrionics:
Nirmalyam was the debut film for the Late Sukumaran, Ravi Menon and Sumitra. The cast also includes Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Sankaradi, Santha Devi and Kuthiravattom Pappu in a cameo. It is said that the Velichapad’s role was first offered to Sankaradi who declined it saying he did not have the body structure or the agility that the role demanded and he himself recommended P.J. Antony for that role. 
Nirmalyam won a galore of awards including the National Award for the best Feature Film in 1973, Kerala State Film Award for the Best film, Kerala State Film Award for the Best Dialogues besides the National Film Award to P.J. Antony for the Best Actor.

 എലിപ്പത്തായം ELIPPATTHAYAM (1981) 

‘Elippathayam’ written and Directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan is still considered to be one of the most outstanding pieces in Adoor Gopalakrishnan's filmography to date. The Film portrays Unni, the last male descendant of an erstwhile disintegrating feudal system, as a rat caught in a trap because he is either unable to accept the changes taking place in the society around him or does not want to accept these changes. Unni avoids confrontation with the changing reality taking refuge under his false-pride and self-imposed silence. Now, only the shadows remain, and Unni and his sisters, Janamma (Rajam K. Nair), Rajamma (Sarada) and Sreedevi (Jalaja) languish in the shadows.


Elippathayam is set in a derelict house of an aristocratic family that has seen better days. Unni is brilliantly portrayed by Karamana Janardhanan Nair by subtly underplaying the character of the patriarch who spends most of his day in idleness and sleeping. His only activities are reading the newspaper and oiling himself. He is incapable of taking care of himself without his sisters, and cannot face the taunts and the insults of his extended family and the villagers. He needs to be propped up by his sisters who cook for him, clean for him, and do chores for him. He is unable to come to terms with the changing world outside. The characteristics of Unni is demonstrated by the way he treats his servants, the way he scoffs at and insults a visiting young man who is employed in the Gulf and how he treats Rajamma, his sister who takes care of him. 

The Video clip below from Elippathayam showcases Unni’s character perfectly to a T. Unni grooms himself by removing the grey hairs from his mustache, gets dressed and leaves home to attend a marriage and when he had to cross a muddy bog on the way, he cancels his trip and returns home for fear of dirtying his feet and clothes. This clip also demonstrates Unni’s laziness and when a stray cow enters his courtyard looking for some feed, how he does not not even bother to get up from his seat to shoo away the cow and shouts for his sister Rajamma who promptly swings into action to chase the cow away.
Janamma, the eldest of the three sisters is street-smart as she has survived within the patriarchy by marriage and bearing children. Her main concern is to claim her share of the family property and income for which Unni has disowned any responsibility and the ancestral property and income there from is managed by an old retainer for whom Unni has no respect. Janamma is portrayed as intransigent and selfish woman.

Rajamma the second sister, a spinster in her early forties, is gentle, submissive and is incapable of charting her life on her own outside the patriarchy. She constantly works for and faithfully looks after her brother Unni. Rajamma’s life is destroyed by the inaction and cowardice of her brother, who turns down an alliance for her when she wants to get married because in his false sense of feudal ego he feels that his sister should not marry a widower and he stands as a mute spectator doing nothing when Rajamma is ailing and dying because of his cowardice.

Sridevi, the youngest sister symbolizes revolt, youth and life. She is pretty and highly concerned about her looks. She realizes that her life will be doomed within the patriarchy because of the false sense of ego and cowardice of her brother and runs away from the family with her lover to carve a life for herself. Unni does not even bother to look for his sister Sridevi.

Rajamma helplessly watches Unni’s all encompassing paranoia and ultimately collapses under her physical and mental strain. Unni just watches his sister’s unconscious condition as a mute spectator and it is the SOS call from the milkmaid that prompts the villagers to carry her dead body like carrying away a dead rat right under the guilty eyes of her brother.
Left all alone to fend for himself, Unni locks the house and refuses to communicate with the outside world. In the darkness of the house he waits for his doom like a trapped rat. In the last scene unknown hands drag Unni to the pond where Sridevi used to drown the rats she trapped and standing in the water Unni cringes begging his imaginary assailants for mercy and the curtain closes.

Elippathayam won the Silver Lotus Award for Adoor Gopalakrishnan for the Best Regional Film (Malayalam) and another  Silver Lotus Award for the Best Audiography, both in 1982. It also won the British Film Institute (UK) Award for the Most Original imaginative Film at the National Film Theater besides the Sutherland Trophy at the 1982 London film Festival. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I consider the 1960s as the Golden era in Malayalam Cinema as this period had the best of Actors like Satyan, Ragini, Ambika, Prem Nazir, Madhu, Sheela, Sarada, K.P. Ummer, Thikkurisi, Sukumari and Adoor Bhasi, the best of Music Directors like Devarajan, M.S. Baburaj, K. Raghavan and Dsakshinamoorthy, the best of lyricists like P. Bhaskaran, Vayalar and O.N.V. Kurup, the best of playback singers like Kamukara Purushothaman, Yesudas, Jayachandran, P. Leela and Shantha P. Nair and the best of Directors viz.. Ramu Kariyat, Sethu Madhavan, Kunchacko et al. I have pleasure in sharing with you some of the best melodies from the Malayalam films of the 60s which still remain evergreen in our memory although 50 Years have gone-by since the release of these movies.

En Kanninde Kadaviladuthaal - Umma (1960)

Music: MS Baburaj, Lyric: P Bhaskaran

Umma is the first Muslim social drama in Malayalam that boldly criticized the marital evils that prevailed amongst the Muslim community in Kerala, especially in the Malabar region.  The film is based on a novel by Moidu Padiyath of the same name. Enjoy this melodious duet by A.M. Rajah and P. Leela. 

It was Music director Devarajan’s decision to reject the producer's offer for composing music for ‘Umma’ (1960), as he he felt the remuneration was vey low, which proved to be the turning point in Baburaj’s career. Baburaj, who had made his debut three years earlier composed superhit numbers for 'UMMA' like ‘Kadali vazha…’ En Kanninte Kadaviladuthaal and ‘Palanu thenanu…,’ and waltzed straight into the hearts of Malayalees, to remain there forever.

Aaadyathe Kanmani.. - Bhagya Jaathakam (1962)

The duet ‘Adyathe kanmani ....’ by P. Leela and K J Yesudas has stood the test of time and remains one of the best songs in Malayalam cinema to date.

Music: MS Baburaj, Lyric: P Bhaskaran

‘Bhagya Jathakam’ was a pure family entertainer with all the mandatory factors like comic scenes, tear jerking sentiments, dances, songs, fights etc. One of the important factors that led to the success of the film was the performance of the super star Satyan in a double role. Bhagya Jathakam is also actress Sheela’s debut in Malayalam. 

Periyaare.. Periyaare … Bharya (1962)

Music: Devarajan Lyric: P. Bhaskaran Singers: A.M. Rajah, P. Suseela

The story of "Bharya" was based on the controversial 'Tiruvalla Ammalu Murder Case', a real-life incident of a clandestine love affair between a College Professor and a Danseuse that went awry. The duet "Periyaare... Periyaare" remains to be an alltime favorite even today, more than 50 years after the release of the movie "Bharya."

Manassammatham Thannaatte...: Bhaarya (1962)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singers: A.M. Rajah and Jikki

The story of "Bharya" was based on the controversial "Tiruvalla Ammalu Murder Case", a real-life incident of a clandestine love-affair between a College Professor and a Danseuse that went awry. Bharya with Satyan and Ragini in the lead was a superhit of the Year 1962.

Kalpanayakum Yamuna Nadiyude – Doctor (1963)

 Music: Devarajan, Lyric: P. Bhaskaran, Singers: P. Suseela and Yesudas

The Film "Doctor" directed by M.S. Mani, received the Certificate of Merit at the National Film Awards. Doctor was a Musical hit of 1963 with superhit melodies like "Kalpanayakum Yamuna Nadiyude" and "Viralonnu Muttiyaal Potti Chirikkunna Maniveena Kambigale"

Viralonnu Muttiyal Potti Chirikkunna.. - Doctor (1963)

 Music: Devarajan, Lyric: P. Bhaskaran, Singer: P. Suseela

The Film "Doctor" directed by M.S. Mani, received the Certificate of Merit at the National Film Awards. Doctor was a Musical hit of 1963 with superhit melodies like "Kalpanayaakum Yamuna Nadiyude Akkare.. Akkare... " and "Viralonnu Muttiyaal Potti Chirikkum Maniveena Kambigale.."

Anjana Kannezhuthi – Thacholi Othenan (1964)

Music: M.S. Baburaj Lyric: P. Bhaskaran Singer: S. Janaki

When "Thacholi Othenan" was released in January 1964, wall Calenders with stills from the Movie were distributed all over Kerala weeks before the release of the Movie, as a new advertisement strategy. Popular artists like Satyan, Ambika, P.J. Anthony, Adoor Bhasi, Kottayam Chellappan, Sukumari etc. were cast in important roles. Apart from acting, Adoor Bhasi also worked as an Assistant Director of the Film. The Film was a huge hit and also went on to win the National Award under the Regional Category for the best Malayalam Film in the Year 1964.   

Kottum Njan Kettilla - Thacholi Othenan (1964)

Music: M.S. Baburaj Lyric: P. Bhaskaran Singer: P. Leela and chorus

T. K. Pareekutty who produced successful social movies like “Neelakkuyil” (1954), ‘Rarichan Enna Pouran' (1956)etc. that focused on social issues came up adventurously with ‘Thacholi Othenan’ a musical hit based on ‘Vadakkan Paattu', ballads of North Kerala.

Arabikadaloru Manavalan - Bhargavi Nilayam 1964

Music: M.S. Baburaj, Lyrics - P Bhaskaran, Singers: P. Suseela & Yesudas

The Film ‘Bhargavi Nilayam’ was based on a short story ‘Neela Velicham’ by Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, and the script and dialogue of the film was also written by the novelist himself. Bhargavi Nilayam was the first ghost story film in Malayalam and confirms the existence of supernatural powers unlike some of the early Indian films in this genre. Even Bollywood suspense thrillers of the sixties, which can also be classified under the ‘ghost story’ group such as Bees Saal Baad’ (1962), ‘Woh Kaun Thi’ (1964), and ‘Kohra’ (1964) had heroines in disguise as ghosts and did not deal with ‘real’ ghosts. But in ‘Bhargavi Nilayam,’ for the first time in Indian cinema the audience were told about the existence of the supernatural. 

Innente Karalile - Kuttikkuppayam ( 1964 )

Music: M.S. Baburaj Lyric: P. Bhaskaran Singer: P. Leela


The Film ‘Kuttikuppayam' directed by M. Krishnan Nair was a box-office hit and is still considered as one of the best musical hits in Malayalam Cinema with some excellent scores by M.S.Baburaj-P.Bhaskaran duo. The story was based on the novel ‘Kanneer Panthal,' by Moidu Padiyath and the script and dialogues for the film were also written by the novelist himself. The film had an unusual theme - the social evil and stigma attached to infertility wherein it was always conveniently assumed that the cause for this was the woman and the film pointed a finger at this misunderstood idea and the injustice meted out to women on account of this.
Kuttikuppayam was the debut film for veteran actress the Late Philomina and also the debut Malayalam film for Tamil playback singer L. R. Easwari.
Kanmani Neeyen Karam Pidichaal – Kuppivala (1965) 

Singers: A.M. Rajah and P. Suseela

Please turn your Speaker Volume to the Maximum as the Audio Quality of this video clip is very poor.

Kuppivala, a Muslim social drama written by Moithu Padiyath and directed by S.S. Rajan was released in May 1965. It had Prem Nazir (as a blind man) and Ambika in the lead besides Sukumasri, Bahaddur, Kottayam Chellappan, Johnson and Nilambur Ayesha in supporting roles. Kuppivala was a hit at the box-office due to its melodious songs composed by M.S. Baburaj to P. Bhaskaran’s lyrics.

Kaakka Thamburatti Karutha Manavaatti - Inapravukal (1965)

Music: Dakshinamoorthy, Lyrics - P Bhaskaran, Singer: Yesudas

The plot of family melodrama Inapravukal, based on a novel by the same title under this genre written by Muttathu Varkey was set in a remote village in Kerala and the story pivoted around three Christian families. Director Kunchacko introduced Sarada, Malayalam cinema’s ‘dukha puthri’ (sorrowful daughter) in this film. Her name was included in the title cards as ‘Rahel', the name of the heroine’s character which she essayed. With her impressive performance as a tragic character, she proved her talent in handling such roles in her debut film in Malayalam. Other popular artistes who acted in the film were Satyan, Prem Nazir, Muthiah, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Kottarakara Sreedharan Nair, S. P. Pillai, Pankajavalli besides others. Muttathu Varkey was known for using the dialect of Christians from different parts of Kerala, and the dialogues for Inapravukal were written by him and were an added attraction of the film.
Ambala Kulangare - Odayilninnu (1965)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singer: P. Leela

The song ‘Ambala Kulangare’ soulfully rendered by P. Leela is a confession by the protagonist (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) who is the mother of a seven year old, of her love for Pappu (Satyan).

കള്ളികൾ ചിരിച്ചപ്പോൾ ഉള്ളിലെ മോഹങ്ങൾ
എല്ലാം ഞ്ഞാൻ  അവരോടു പറഞ്ഞുപോയി 
അങ്ങൈയൊടിതുവരെ ചൊല്ലാത്ത കാര്യം
അങ്ങനെ അവരെല്ലാം  അറിഞ്ഞു പോയി 

I never tire of listening again and again and enjoying these beautiful lines of Vayalar in P. Leela’s inimitable baritone. Pappu in Odayilninnu is a landmark character of Satyan that serves as a comprehensive guide in histrionics to any aspiring actor even today, 48 years after the relase of the movie. Odayilninnu turns up every time you think of the top ten films of not just Sathyan, but of Malayalam cinema itself. While the film highlights Pappu’s relationship with his adopted daughter Lakshmi and how he brings her up without exposing her to any of the hardships of life, the film discreetly touches upon the understated and subtle relationship between Lakshmi’s mother (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) and Pappu.

Priyathamaaa… Priyathamaaa…  Sakunthala (1965)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric - Vayalar, Singer: P. Suseela

Kalidasan’s epic ‘Shakuntalam,’ has been a favorite subject of several Film Producers and Directors of Indian Cinema and many versions of Shakuntala have hit the Indian Silver Screens in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and other languages. The Malayalam version, produced and directed by Kunjacko and released in 1965 is a remake of the Hindi Film ‘Stree’ (1961) produced and Directed by noted Director V. Shantaram featuring his wife Sandhya in the lead role of Shakuntala and Shantaram himself as Dushyanta. While Shantharam’s 'Stree' failed miserably at the box office, Kunjacko’s Malayalam version achieved stupendous success and remembered even today for its mellifluous songs. 

Noted poetess and short story writer Lalithambika Antharjanam penned the dialogues, while the script was written by Thoppil Bhasi. This rem ains the only film for which the reputed poetess wrote the dialogues. The music by the magical duo Vayalar-Devarajan has become immortal and an all-time favorite with connoisseurs of Malayalam Cinema Music . The key roles were performed by the super stars of the time, Prem Nazir, Sathyan, and K. R. Vijaya.

Swapnangale Ningal Swargakumarikalallo - Kavyamela (1965)

Music: Dakshinamoorthy Lyric: P Bhaskaran Singers: Yesudas, P. Leela

Kavymela was an adaptation of Guru Dutt’s Hindi classic ‘Pyaasa’ (1957). Written by by S. L. Puram Sadanandan and directed by M. Krishnan Nair with Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead, Kavyamela is considered as one of Prem Nazir’s best performances. All the songs in Kavyamela penned by Vayalar Rama Varma, and set to tune by Dakshinamoorthy were super hits. Most of the songs were raga-based. The Yesudas-P. Leela duet ‘Swapnangal, swapnangale ningal swarga kumarikalallo… ‘ became a landmark melody in Malayalam film music. It is said that music director V. Dakshinamoorthy had composed over 20 tunes for this one number out of which he finally zeroed in to the one you savored just now.

Swapnangal..Swapnangal.. 5 Singers Version - Kavyamela (1965)

Music: Dakshinamoorthy Lyric: P Bhaskaran Singers: P. Leela, Yesudas, P.B. Srinivas, M.B. Srinivasan and Dakshinamoorthy

Please turn your Speaker Volume to the Maximum as the Audio Quality of this video clip is very poor.

The climax of Kavyamela was a novel experience in which prominent singers and music directors of the film industry appeared to sing a part of a song, ‘Swapangal, swapnangale…’ in different Ragaas. It is said that Music Director V. Dakshinamoorthy had composed over 20 tunes for this number out of which he finally zeroed in to one that was used for the duet of Yesudas and P. Leela. Some of the other tunes that Dakshinamoorthy composed for this song are represented in the climax where the certain stanzas of the song are rendered by playback singers P. Leela, Yesudas, P.B. Srinivas and Music directors M.B. Srinivasan and Dakshinamoorthy.  

Aakaasa Poyikayilundoru Ponnum Thoni – Pattuthoovaala (1965)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singers: Kamukara Purushothaman and  P. Suseela

Pattu Thoovalala was produced and directed by P. Subramaniyam with Madhu and Sheela in the lead the cast includes Kottarakkara Sridharan Nair, Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai, Nellikode Bhaskaran, Shanthi, Pankajavally and Laila. The screen play and dialogues were written by Muttathu Varkey.

Mullapoo Thailamittu Mudi Cheekiya Maran  - Muthalaali (1965)

Music: Pukazhenthi, Lyric: P. Bhaskaran, Singers: S. Janaki and Yesudas

Music Director Pukazhenthi's original name was Velappan Nair, a native of Chaala, Thiruvananthapuram. He changed his name to ‘Pukazhenthi’ after the famous Tamil Poet of the Chera, Chola and Pandiya era, when he decided to embark on a film career as a Music Director. He worked as an associate of the famous Music Director K.V. Mahadevan in about 250 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.  Muthalaali (1965) was Pukazhenthi’s debut as a Music Director in Malayalam. In a career spanning over 15 Years Pukazhenthi scored music for just about 12 Malayalam Films but all of them are evergreen hits.

Pani Neeru Thoovunna Poo Nilaave - Muthalaali (1965)

Music: Pukazhenthi, Lyric: P. Bhaskaran, Singer: Yesudas

‘Muthalaali’ was directed by M.A.V. Rajendran with Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead the cast includes Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, Adoor Bhasi and S.P. Pillai. All the songs in Muthalaali under Pukazhenthi's Music composition are evergreen hits.

Putthen Valakkare -  Chemmeen (1966)

Music: Salil Choudhry, Lyric: Vayalar, Singers: Yesudas, P. Leela, Shantha P. Nair, K.P. Udhayabhanu, Mannadey and chorus

‘Chemmeen,' a landmark film in Malayalam, acquired cult status in the history of Malayalam cinema besides being the first South Indian film to win the coveted President's Gold Medal for the best film in the Year 1966. Based on a highly acclaimed Malayalam novel  by Jnanapith Award winner Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and dialogues by S. L. Puram Sadanandan, the story of ‘Chemmeen' is set in a fishermen community settled in the southern belt of the coastal area of Kerala. The highly emotional melodrama told the tragic love story set in the backdrop of a fishing village interlinked with some ancient beliefs that exists among the community. Superb musical score by Salil Choudhry to Vayalar Rama Varma’s lyrics was another reason for the success of Chemmeen.

Annu ninte nunakuzhi - Pareeksha (1967)

Music: M.S. Baburaj, Lyrics: P Bhaskaran, Singer: Yesudas

Babukka (M. S. Baburaj) was an integral part of the Renaissance of Malayalam Film Music in the 1`960s. He provided the glitter, a new dimension to music that is fresh and alive even today. In every song of his, there was something special, a kind of Babukka touch with subtle traces of Hindustani and the use of the Ghazal style that generations of music lovers have cherished. This song “Annu ninte nuna kuzi thelinjittillas..” is an intoxicating elixir of M.S. Baburaj and P. Bhaskaran combination.

En Prana Nayakane enthu vilikkum - Pareeksha ( 1967 )

Music: M.S. Baburaj, Lyrics: P Bhaskaran, Singer: S. Janaki

Babukka (M. S. Baburaj) was an integral part of the Renaissance of Malayalam Film Music in the 1`960s. He provided the glitter, a new dimension to music that is fresh and alive even today. In every song of his, there was something special, a kind of Babukka touch with subtle traces of Hindustani and the use of the Ghazal style that generations of music lovers have cherished. This song “En praana naayakane enthu vilikkum..” is an intoxicating elixir of M.S. Baburaj and P. Bhaskaran combination. 

Ezhuthiyathaaranu Sujatha – Udyogastha (1967)

Music: Baburaj, Lyric: Yousefali Kecheri Singers: Yesudas, S. Janaki

Udyogastha' is claimed to be the first multi-starer in Malayalam. Directed by Venu, it had the top seven actors of the period viz.. Satyan, Prem Nazir, Madhu, Ummer, Sharada, Sheela and Vijaya Nirmala. Ezhuthiyatharanu Sujatha is a mellifluous number from the film.

Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal - Ashwamedham (1967)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singer: P. Suseela

The Film 'Aswamedham' with Satyan, Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead was a Musical hit. Aswamedham is still remembered for its super-hit melodies like Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal..' and philosophical songs like 'Oridatthu Jananam, Oridatthu Maranam..' and 'Karuttha Chakravala Mathilugal Choozum..' by the Devarajan - Vayalar duo. In this film Sheela portrays the unusual and deglamourized role of a leprosy patient and Satyan that of an idealist Doctor fighting a courageous battle to cure leprosy patients.

Karutha Penne Ninde …..  - Collector Malathi (1967)

Music: Baburaj, Lyrics: P Bhaskaran, Singers: Yesudas and B. Vasantha

‘Collector Malathi’ starring Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead, directed by M. Krishnan Nair deals with the story of a higher cast boy falling in love with a low-caste girl and the rise of woman power. The cast also includes Ambika, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Adoor Bhasi, TS Muthaiah, Manavalan Joseph and Aranmula Ponnamma. 

Ikkareyanente Thamasam – Karthika (1968)

Music: Baburaj, Lyric: Yousuf Ali Kecheri, Singers: Yesudas, P. Suseela

The film ‘Karthika’ with Satyan and Sarada in the lead and directed by M. Krishnan Nair was another Musical hit of Baburaj and Yousuf Ali Kecheri duo. Besides the above duet Karthika also had other hit numbers like ‘Pavada Prayathil Ninne Njnaan Kandappol’ and  “Kanmaniye Karayathurangu Nee.

Omana Thingalil Onam Pirakkumbol  - Thulabharam (1968)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singers: Yesudas and P. Suseela

Supriya Films came with the screen version of this highly emotional Malayalam stage play ‘Thulabharam,' written by Thoppil Bhasi in 1968 which was a thundering hit. The unusual political drama that focused on some of the undesirable features among political and trade unions, resultant labor issues, the blacklegging in trade unions and the villainous ways of the management of factories to suppress labor activities. The film portrayed a realistic picture of the working class that often falls prey to the evil of the Management-Trade Union disputes in factories.

Thulabharam featured Prem Nazir, Madhu, Sharada, Sheela in the lead besides Thikkurissi, Adoor Bhasi, Adoor Bhavani and everyone came up with stellar performances. The film also had some fine songs from the hit-duo Vayalar-Devarajan. The film won the National film award for best actress for Sharada. It was also adjudged the second best film of the year 1968.

Following its stupendous success in Malayalam, Thulabharam was remade in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi with Sharada as the heroine in all the versions. In the Tamil version, titled ‘Thulabharam' she was paired with AVM Rajan, in Telugu with Shobhan Babu and in Hindi with Ajay Sahni. Both the Malayalam and Tamil versions were directed by A. Vincent. 

Swarnachamaram Veesiyethunna – Yakshi (1968)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric - Vayalar, Singers: Yesudas and P. Leela 

Yakshi is a thriller  written by Thoppil Bhasi based on Malayattoor Ramakrishnan's acclaimed novel of the same name. Yakshi was directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan and the cast includes Sathyan, Sharada, Adoor Bhasi, N. Govindankutty, Bahadoor, Ushakumari, Sukumari, Rajakokila and Radhika. It is the first psychological thriller in Malayalam.

The song ‘Swarnachamaram Veesiyethunna’ is repeated six times in the Movie in the voices of P. Leela, P. Suseela and Yesudas on different occasions.

Pathiravaayilla – Manaswini (1968)

Music: M.S. Baburaj, Lyrics: P Bhaskaran, Singers: Yesudas, S. Janaki

Manaswini in Sanskrit means a kindhearted and congenial girl who prefers to be a homemaker. The Film Manaswini, a Madhu Sarada starrer released in 1968 was a family entertainer. The song “Pathiravaayilla powrnami kanyaikku…” was an intoxicating mixture of P. Bahaskaran and M.S. Baburaj combination that entices you to listen again and again.   

താരകക്കണ്ണെഴുതി വിണ്ണിലെ തൂവെള്ള താമരപ്പൂവൊന്നു ചൂടി 
വെണ്മുകിൽ തൂവാല തുന്നിഇരിക്കുന്നു
കണ്ണിൽ കവിതയുമായി. . .  കണ്ണിൽ കവിതയുമായി

I feel heady savoring the above lines of the one and only P. Bhaskaran and only P. Bhaskaran can pen these beautiful lines.

Chandrikayil Aliyunnu Chandrakantham- Bharyamar Sookshikkuka 1968

Music: Dakshinamoorthy, Lyric – Sree Kumaran Thampi Singers: A.M. Rajah and P. Leela

‘Bharyamaar Sookshikkuka’ starring Prem Nazir and Sheela in the lead, directed by K.S. Sethumadhavan was a Musical hjit of 1968. Dakshinamoorthy composed Music for lyrics written by Sree Kumaran Thampi.

Indhumukhee.. Indhumukhee – Adimakal (1969)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric - Vayalar, Singer: Jayachandran

Adimakal, considered to be one of the best social movies of the 60s won the President's Silver Medal for the best Malayalam film of the year 1969. The Film, based on a novel of the same title by R. P. Parameswara Menon focused on sexual exploitation of maid servants at home and the injustice meted out to them.  Prem Nazir, deviating from his stereotyped role of romantic hero, came up with a stunning performance in the role of Raghavan, a simpleton domestic servant. 

Thazhampoo Manamulla Thanuppulla Rathriyil - Adimakal (1969)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric - Vayalar, Singer: A.M. Rajah

Thazampoo Manamulla …. portrays Satyan’s not-so subtle proposal of love to Sheela and this song to-date remains as A.M. Rajah’s best number in Malayalam. 

Kasthuri Thailamittu Mudi Minukki – Kadal Palam (1969)

Music: Devarajan, Lyric: Vayalar, Singer: P. Madhuri

Playback singer Madhuri approached veteran composer the late G. Devarajan to give her a chance to sing a few of his compositions in Malayalam films. But the maestro went on to give her more than 500 songs, more than those sung by P. Susheela and s. Janaki, who rendered many of his finest melodies.

The very first song Devarajan gave her, ‘Kasthurithailamittu Mudi Minukki…' in the film ‘Kadalpalam' became a big hit and Madhuri, a Tamilian hailing from Trichy gained acceptance among Malayalis as a playback singer and never looked back again.

Kadalpalam is an adaptation of the very popular stage play written by the renowned dramatist K.T. Mohammed and the script and dialogues for the film were also written by K.T. Mohammed himself. Kadal Palam is best remembered for the performance by Sathyan, who received the first ever State Award for his performance. Kadalpalam is also the debut film in Malayalam for singer S.P. Balasubramaniyam.