“Iniyathe Panchami Raavil” – Naadan Pennu (1967) – Malayalam Feature Film

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Faded Into Oblivion Series by Vicky Iyengar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

“To say that Vayalar Rama Varma was merely a political poet would be unjust to him. He was a poet, above everything” – Jnanpith Awardee & Poet O.N.V. Kurup

Vayalar Rama Varma who made balladry a dilettante’s domain, is arguably the most eminent, distinguished & celebrated lyricist Malayalam cinema has seen. From songs of the insurrection to passionate numbers and spiritual hymns, he has written lyrics for over 1,600 songs. Many of his lyrical stanzas, though banausic, pack a humane & unfathomable innate philosophy.

One such eloquent melody was “Iniyathe Panchami Raavil”, daintily rendered by songstress P Susheela from the 1967 Malayalam feature film, “Naadan Pennu” directed by the veteran K S Sethumadhavan and produced by M O Joseph. The film stars Prem Nazir, Sathyan, Sheela and Jayabharathi in lead roles. Maestro Devarajan’s schematized pristine musical score (his inventiveness in blending music & poetry) doesn’t disappoint either.  After  all he demystified Carnatic ragas for consumption by the common man.  As a connatural, Vayalar’s lyrics blended flawlessly with the tune.

ഇനിയത്തെ പഞ്ചമിനാളില്‍
ഇതള്‍ വിരിയും പൂനിലാവില്‍
ഇതിലേ ഞാനൊരു ദേവദൂതനെയെതിരേല്‍ക്കും ഞാന്‍
എതിരേല്‍ക്കും …ഓ…എതിരേല്‍ക്കും
ഒരുവിവാഹമാല്യം ഞാനാ
തിരുമാറില്‍ ചാര്‍ത്തിക്കും(2)
കാഴ്ചവയ്ക്കും മുന്‍പില്‍ കാഴ്ചവയ്ക്കും
ഓ… ആ….
ഒരുവികാരപുഷ്പം ചൂടി
ഉടലാകേ കുളിര്‍കോരും
മനസ്സിന്റെ മന്മഥസദനം അലങ്കരിക്കും
ഞങ്ങള്‍ അലങ്കരിക്കും
iniyathe panchamiraavil ithal viriyum poonilaavil
ithile njaanoru devadoothane ethirelkkum njaan
ethirelkkum oh..ethirelkkum
oru vivaahamaalyam njanaa
thirumaaril chaarthikkum (2)
kaazhcha vaykkum munpiil kaazhcha vaikkum
oru vikaara pushpam choodi
udalaake kulir korum
manassinte manmadha sadanam alankarikkum
njangal alankarikkum
 iniyathe panchamiraavil ithal viriyum poonilaavil
ithile njaanoru devadoothane ethirelkkum njaan
ethirelkkum oh..ethirelkkum

Pictured on actress Sheela, the less than four-minute composition (sympathetic sitar prelude) is a masterfully composed track – showcases his uncluttered, unique style of arrangements and mechanized precision. Vocalist Susheela’s high-pitched phrasings (the minutiae gaps in syllables) provide the guilt & yearning packed in Vayalar’s lyrics, as they orbit each other. Her hypnotizing and enthusiastic rendition (“oru vivaahamaalyam njanaa”), vast in sentiment does have the stature of haiku – as it preached transcendence through music – an ultimate finesse. As the on screen character’s voice, ruminating on what ecstasy might provide for someone seeking marital enlightenment emerges as the track progresses – an open-minded approach by the Maestro.

Revisiting old sounds or harmonic washes sometimes generates a mirage, that urge becomes irresistible and remains in your mental loop.  The song has many strengths—it’s catchy, aesthetic, vibrant, and neatly paced vocals. Listening to Susheela sing the first phrase  (“ithal viriyum poonilavil”), she draws those instruments in as the music and lyrics align in uplift – state of euphoria.

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