“Sharanembena Shashibushana” – Mallammana Pavaada (1969) – Kannada 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.

Mallammana Pavaada  is a 1969 Kannada celluloid directed by Puttanna Kanagal based on the novel authored by B. Puttaswamayya. The screenplay was by acclaimed Telugu director P. Pullaiah based on his 1955 Telugu feature film  with analogous story titled Ardhangi penned by Maddipatla Suri’s Telugu adaptation of Bengali novel Swayamsiddha written by Manilal Banerjee. The scenario is centered around the heroine Mallamma (Saroja Devi)  who rescues her dullard husband from the clutches of his Machiavellian stepmother.  The showcased reverential spiritual paean “Sharananembena Shashibhushana” is composed by Vijayabhaskar (woodwind and strings) in Raga Abhogi (Carnatic)/Raag Kalavathi (Hindustani).

Vijaya Bhaskar (ವಿಜಯಭಾಸ್ಕರ್; 1924–2002)  wrote musical score for several mainstream and experimental feature films in the Kannada film industry. Scoring music for over 600 feature films, Vijaya Bhaskar worked in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi (G V Iyer’s Vivekananda), Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu (Koti Chennaya) and Konkani language films as well.  He was also known for his collaboration with acclaimed directors Puttanna Kanagal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Influenced in his formative years by orchestral works of Bengali composer Raichand Boral (considered the Father of Indian Cinema Muisc) and Mukul Mehta, Vijaya Bhaskar developed his own technique panache and introduced the concept of theme music in Kannada film industry. In the 50’s B/W era, Vijaya Bhaskar  assisted music directors like Naushad Ali, Chitragupt and Madan Mohan.He is credited for motivating producers to embrace mainstream works of celebrated Kannada poets (such as D.R. Bendre) through his music. Some of Bhaskar’s most popular soundtracks include Rani Honnamma, Santha Thukaram, Gejje Pooje, Mana Mechida Madadi, Mallammana Paavada, Belli Moda, Naandi, Sharapanjara, Naagarahaavu, Shubhamangala, Neela and Malaya Marutha. He directed music for avant-garde movies like Grahana, Yellindalo Bandavaru and Naandi.  Acclaimed Malayalam movie-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan always handpicked Vijaya Bhaskar for his movies – Kathapurushan, Vidheyan and Mathilukal. In Hindi Bhaskar did G. V. Iyer’s Vivekananda. He was also a recipient of Karnataka State Film Award for Best Musical Score six times.

Sahitya/Lyrics: Kanagal Prabhkara Shastri
ಶರಣೆಂಬೆ ನಾ ಶಶಿಭೂಷಣ
ಗೌರಿಪ್ರಿಯಾ ಜಗನ್ಮೋಹನ
ಕೆಂಜೆಡೆ ಮುಡಿಯ ಕಾಪಾಲಿಕನೆ
ನಂಜು ನುಂಗಿದ ನಂಜುಂಡೇಷನ್
ಅಂಜಿದ ಬಾಲನ ಅಪ್ಪಿ ಮುದ್ದಾಡಿದ
ಮೃತ್ಯುಂಜಯ ನೀ ದಯಾಮಯ
ಬೇಡರ ಕಣ್ಣನ ಪೂಜೆಗೆ ನೀ ಒಲಿದೆ
ಅಲ್ಲಮಪ್ರಭುವಾಗಿ ಮಾಯೆಯ ಗೆಲಿದೆ
ಬಲ್ಲಿದ ಬಸವಂಗೆ ಕುಲದೈವ  ನಿನದೆ
ಮಹಾದೇವಿ ಅಕ್ಕನ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನ
sharanembe na shashibhushana
gauripriya jaganmohana
kenjede mudiya kapalikane
nanju nungida nanjundeshane..
anjida balana appi muddadida
mrutyunjaya ni dayamaya
bedara kannana pujege ni olide
allamaprabhuvagi mayeya gelide
ballida basavange kuladaiva ninade
mahadevi akkana cennamallikarjuna

Nightingale P Susheela’s  impeccable rendition captures the ebulliency and  alacrity of this pellucid raga – a song about hope and resilience!. Both Vijayabhaskar & Susheela conjure up a palpable air of delicious expectation – a triumphant celebration of the human spirit and the importance of not giving up, citing mythological excerpts – “bedara kannana pujege ni olide allamaprabhuvagi mayeya gelide”.

What more fitting song could there be for Susheela to emblazon her vocal contours, the rhythm and its continuum without rupturing the mystical undertone. Prabhakar Shastri’s libretto oozes with metaphysical vocables. The celluloid character seeks refuge in the omnipotent -“kuladaiva ninade mahadevi akkana chennamallikarjuna” – seeking divine guidance in the journey ahead and to bounce back reviving the sense of belief – a musical platform of sorts.

Susheela’s interpretation – “anjida balana appi muddadida mrutyunjaya ni dayamaya” – is puissant, empowering, aesthetic, unequivocal, divine, and filled with purpose – speaks to us such profound level, one could listen to it all day.  The religious imagery, the combination of intimate and spiritual love blends perfectly with the appeal – “sharanambena shasibhushana” . 

Truly mesmerizing & uplifting!

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