The best songs of Poovachal Khader

The Hindu pays a musical tribute to departed lyricist

Poovachal Khader, who died at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, penned some of the most popular songs of all time in Malayalam cinema. The Hindu plays a list of his unforgettable hits.

Natha nee varum kalocha… (Chamaram)

 

Bharathan directed this 1980 movie, which became a rage for the college campus and beyond. Zarina Wahab, in her second Malayalam after making a smashing debut with Madanalosavam two years before, and Prathap Pothen essayed the roles of a college lecturer and a student whom she falls in love with.

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The song was tuned brilliantly by M.G. Radhakrishnan and rendered soulfully by S. Janaki. The lines were poetic and undoubtedly among the best by Poovachal.

It begins thus:

Nathaa nee varum kalocha kelkkuvan

Kathorthu njaanirunnu

Thavaka veethiyil en mizhi pakshikal

Thooval virichu ninnu

(Beloved, I waited, all ears

To hear the sound of your footsteps

In your path were my eyes,

Like birds, their wings spread)

And goes on…

Neriya manjin chumbanam

Kondoru poovin kavil thuduthu

(With the kiss of slight snow

The flower’s cheeks reddened)

Aadya samagama… (Ulsavam)

 

It is one of the most romantic songs you would ever come across in Malayalam. It was tuned beautifully by the underrated A.T. Ummer and sung superbly by K.J. Yesudas and S. Janaki.

The song gets off with a different, uncredited, voice, though. “If I remember correctly, that bit was sung by R.K. Sekhar (A.R. Rahman’s father),” Poovachal had once told me.

It was picturised on the gorgeous Sreevidya and Vincent, rather well by director I.V. Sasi.

Neeyente prarthana kettu… (Kattu Vithachavan)

 

It remains one of the most popular Christian devotional songs in Malayalam, nearly five decades after it was released. It was composed by Peter-Reuben and was rendered by Mary Shyla; it would be her only film song.

Anuragini itha… (Our Kudakkeezhil)

 

A masterly composition from the gifted Johnson. It is one of those several soothing melodies he tuned for Yesudas. And it is set in Johnson’s favourite Raga, Kalyani.

Ponveene ennullil.. (Thalavattam)

 

The refreshingly different composition by Raghu Kumar was an instant hit. It was sung rather well by M.G. Sreekumar and K.S. Chithra, whose careers were just taking off at the time. The film, starring Mohanlal, directed by Priyadarshan was a box office hit too.

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