“Sravana Chandrika Poochudichu” – Oru Peninte Katha (1971) – 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.

 

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”Khalil Gibran

“Oru Penninte Katha” (1971), a woman-centric motion picture starring Satyan, K.P.Ummer, Muthiah, Govindankutty, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Jayabharathi is considered the wasserscheide in the history of Malayalam cinema. The diegesis is loosely based on the American flick “The Visit” (Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Quinn 1964 – Twentieth Century Fox) and Tamil feature film “Thyagabhoomi” (1939) directed by the legendary K Subramaniam. The box office film narrates the trials and tribulations of a woman who avenges the man liable for ruining her by morphing into his life simulacrum. Story writer E. Mosses’s experimentation with the societal characters was crowd -pleasing. K. S. Sethumadhavan’s passion for cinema (his master of craft & humanism) and music comes through in every film he directs. Govindan Devarajan’s musical score was the centerpiece with lyrical input from Poet Vayalar. The songs “Poonthenaruvi” & “Sravana Chandrika” by P Susheela became chart-busters.

Poet 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.

Devarajan scored music for 337 Malayalam films & 12 Tamil films was a major force to reckon with in Malayalam film music and laid the substratum for it. Journalist K Santosh aptly describes the man & his music – “He was perhaps the first composer whose oeuvre defined and exemplified light music in its truest sense, broadening the emotions of the medium and reflecting the aspirations, agonies, joys and hopes of Kerala society”. Many of his compositions (all original) have been simply termed “immortal” and have withstood the tides of time. He was credited for composing film songs in maximum number of Carnatic “ragas”. His breadth of knowledge in Carnatic, Hindusthani or Folk music was simply astounding. He would infuse western harmonies in compositions deviating from the classical orthodoxy without desecrating the lyrics, retaining their true value. Devarajan and Susheela collaborated up for over 300 songs, many of them became pièce de résistance, such as Rajashilpi (Panchavankaadu), Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal (Aswamedham), Enthinee Chilankakal (Karuna), Poonthenaruvee (Oru Penninte Katha), Priyathamaa (Shakunthala) and Maalakhamaar Vannu (Makane Ninakku Vendi).

“Shravana Chandrika” – G Devarajan’s romantic recherché tune in Carnatic Raga “Karaharapriya” (Hindustani Equivalent “Kafi That”) is simply exquisite and considered par excellence in the genre. Kharaharapriya has a perspicuous melody and brings out the Karuna rasam, invoking pathos in the listeners.

Lyrics: Poet Vayalar Rama Varma
shraavana chandrika poo choodichu
bhoomikanyaka punjirichu
avalude lajjayil vidarum chodikalil
anuraagakavitha virinju
aadyathe anuraaga kavitha virinjuu
neelaakasha thaamarayilayil nakshathralipiyil
pavizhakkainakhamunayaal prakrithiyaa
kurichu vechuu annathu njaan vaayichu
vannu kandu keezhadakkii
enne keli pushpamaakki
swargaarohanaveedhikkarikil swapnangalkkidayil
kamaneeyaangan priyanenmanassilaa
kavitha pakarthi vechuu njaan avane snehichu
vannuu kandu keezhadakki
enne keli pushpamaakki
ശ്രാവണചന്ദ്രിക പൂ ചൂടിച്ചു
ഭൂമികന്യക പുഞ്ചിരിച്ചു
അവളുടെ ലജ്ജയിവിടരും ചൊടികളി
അനുരാഗ കവിത വിരിഞ്ഞൂആദ്യത്തെ
അനുരാഗ കവിത വിരിഞ്ഞൂ (ശ്രാവണ…)
നീലാകാശ താമരയിലയിനക്ഷത്രലിപിയി
പവിഴ കൈനഖ മുനയാ
പ്രകൃതിയാ കവിത പകത്തി വെച്ചൂ
അന്നതു ഞാവായിച്ചൂ
വന്നൂ കണ്ടൂ കീഴടക്കീ
എന്നേ കേളീ പുഷ്പമാക്കി (ശ്രാവണ..)
സ്വഗ്ഗാരോഹണ വീഥിക്കരികി
സ്വപ്നങ്ങക്കിടയി
കമനീയാംഗപ്രിയനെമനസ്സിലാ
കവിത കുറിച്ചു വെച്ചൂ
ഞാനവനേ സ്നേഹിച്ചൂ
വന്നൂ കണ്ടൂ കീഴടക്കീ
എന്നേ കേളീ പുഷ്പമാക്കി (ശ്രാവണ..)

An unforgettable musical marker – an instaclassic love song, G Devarajan`s orchestral sweep (string sections and woodwind) and Susheela through her in-depth interpretations (which adds to its enduring appeal) for this lyrics makes it easy for the listener to caulk in their own emotions, hesitant to broadcast true feelings, unrequited infatuation – call it a dreamboat anthem! Its eternal for myriad of reasons, cardinal being the responsive lyrics, addictive soul riffs (vannuu kandu keezhadakki enne keli pushpamaakki), opulent vocals (neelaakasha thaamarayilayil nakshathralipiyil) and unapologetic dalliance.

The tenderness, the snowballing intensity and the complicated emotional larrup (pavizhakkainakhamunayaal prakrithiyaa kurichu vechuu annathu njaan vaayichu) is all displayed succinctly in Susheela’s vocals – drastic, candid & overwhelmingly truthful. The song showcases a longing heart, to reflect back on your feelings for someone else – the physical moments and a bridge to that human escapade. Here, soprano Susheela’s phantasmagoric ballad, is quite mindful of the heroine’s (Sheela) feelings (doesn’t know how to process the love) for her companion (K P Ummer) – personal & ephemeral – an idea of lifetime engagement – kamaneeyaangan priyanenmanassilaa kavitha pakarthi vechuu njaan avane snehichu”. It’s a song of pure sensual and devoted asseveration of joyous love for another person – so genuine it is completely magnetic.

Susheela’s rendition is something to carry with you and the feeling lasts forever, a sequential pursuit by the heroine of her amorcito, in one of her most heralded emotive vocals for the composer. Who couldn’t fall in love with that?


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