“Kanmani Nee En Karam”- Kuppivala (1965) – 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.

The earworm “Kanmani Nee En Karam” from the 1965 Malayalam feature film “Kuppivala”  (lit.trans. Glass Bangles] starring Prem Nazir, Sukumari, Ambika and Bahadoor in lead roles, wound its way into the psyche of Hoi Polloi with the puissance of its melody.  Penned by Poet Pulloottupadathu Bhaskaran (P Bhaskaran – Author, Director & Producer) and scored by M S Baburaj in Hindusthani Raga “Yaman Kalyan” (Carnatic- Yamuna Kalyani), this ditty rendered by P Susheela & A M Raja (playback vocalists for Prem Nazir & Ambika) summarizes the eternal plaint of vernal endearment & yearning.

Beginning with his anthology of poems released bearing the title Villali, P. Bhaskaran (known for his unembellished  use of vernacular)  authored more than 3000 songs for about 250 films. He was credited for directing 44 Malayalam feature films (notable being Neelakuyil, Adhyakiranangal, Iruttinte Athmavu, Thurakkatha Vathil), 3 documentaries (Vallathol) and production of 6 full length features. For his overall contributions to Malayalam cinema, he was awarded J. C. Daniel Award by the Government of Kerala.  Incidentally, P. Bhaskaran’s debut as a lyricist (the Malayalam lines for the song “Laddu Laddu Mittai Venuma”) was for a 1949 Tamil feature film Gemini’s  “Aboorva Sahodararrgal” (starring M K Radha & P Bhaumathi).  The first Malayalam debut film song was “Madhumadhuri” for the film “Chandrika” (1950). An accomplished harmonium player  & street singer in his formative years, composer M S Baburaj (aka Babukka) collaborated with P Bhaskaran & the legendary Poet Vayalar Rama Varma  and created perennial, time-honored melodies based on Hindusthani ragas.  His debut film was “Minnaminungu” (1957), directed by Ramu Kariat. The M S Baburaj-P Bhaskaran-K J Yesudas combination went on to produce many of the most memorable Malayalam tunes of the 1960s and 1970s. Some of Baburaj’s notable filmo graphy includes Kuppivala, Udhyogastha, Virunnukari, Agniputhri, Anarkali, Bhargavinilayam, Kattuthulasi, Streedhanam & Yagaaswam.

Lyrics: Poet P Bhaskaran
ഖദീജാ … ഉം….
കണ്മണി നീയെൻ കരം പിടിച്ചാൽ
കണ്ണുകളെന്തിനു വേറെ
എനിക്കു കണ്ണുകളെന്തിനു വേറെ
കാണാനുള്ളത് കരളിൽ പകരാൻ ഞാനുണ്ടല്ലോ ചാരെ
കണ്ണായ് ഞാനുണ്ടല്ലോ ചാരെ
കുപ്പിത്തരിവള കിലുക്കി ഞാനീ‍
ഖൽബിൽ മുട്ടി വിളിച്ചാലോ വാർമഴവില്ലിൻ
വളകളണിഞ്ഞൊരു വസന്തമെന്തെന്നറിയും
ഞാൻ തൂ വസന്തമെന്തെന്നറിയും ഞാൻ
കിളിയൊച്ചയുമായ് നിന്നുടെ
കാതിൽ കളിചിരി നാദം കേൾപ്പിച്ചാൽ
സുന്ദരരാവിൽ നൃത്തം ചെയ്യും
ചന്ദ്രികയെന്തെന്നറിയും ഞാൻ വെൺ
ചന്ദ്രികയെന്തെന്നറിയും ഞാൻ..
khadeeja . . .
kanmani neeyen karam pidichal (Khadeeja . . )
kanmani neeyen karan pidichal
kannukalenthinu vere
enikku kannukalenthinu vere
kanmani . . (repeat)
kaananullathu karalil pakaran (2)
njan undallo chaare
kannai . . njanundallo chaare
kanmani . . (repeat)
kuppitharivala kilukki njan ee (2)
qalbil mutti vilichaalo
vaarmazhavillin valakalaninjoru
vasanthamenthennariyum njan
thoo vasanthamenthennariyum njan
kiliyochayumai ninnude kaathil (2)
kalichiri naadam kelpichal
sundara ravil nirtham cheyyum
chandrika enthennariyum njan
ven chandrika enthennariyum njan
kanmani neeyen karam pidichal
kannukalenthinu vere
enikku kannukalenthinu vere

For this astral anthem in unusually slow tempo (madhyama shruthi), composer Baburaj perfectly grafted and adopted the soothing strains from the Hindusthani Raga “Yaman Kalyan” to create the romantic mood with his potent use of plucked string instrument Sitar (prelude arrangement). The Carnatic raga Yamuna Kalyani had its roots in the old melakartha of Venkatamakhi called as Kalyana or Shudha Kalyan. A M Raja’s superbly controlled romantic vocal is perfectly complemented by P Susheela’s uplifting numinous robust tone, with her “kaananullathu karalil pakaran njan undallo chaare” – the result is a old-fashioned classic!

Baburaj’s hypnotic rhythm and layering swooping strings over their vocal harmonies makes it one of the most milestone song in her repertoire. The slightly tremulous quality to A M Raja’s delivery in “vaarmazhavillin valakalaninjoru vasanthamenthennariyum njan”  prettifies and anchors the narration. A M Raja’s and Susheela’s voices are well-matched in richness and the song breezes along with vitreous purity – a conscious liberation of sorts.  The couplet by Susheela “kiliyochayumai ninnude kaathil kalichiri naadam kelpichal” is  a definitive feminist catchphrase of celebration – totally infectious.

This soundtrack duet has all the hallmarks of a masterpiece – reflections of a relationship, unabashedly romantic & reassuringly warm.

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