Saturday, August 15, 2009
The year 1980 saw one of the great events and a milestone in Malayalam film industry,viz.,the release of Navodaya Movieton's film 'MANJIL VIRINJA POOKKAL'. In an industry then obsessed with family oriented, sentimentally charged themes, Manjil Virinja Pookkal came as a whiff of fresh air with its simple but beautiful story differently told, picturesque locations, magnificent camera work, high technical values, and, above all, enchanting music. The film was a huge success and it made the audience wonder how a film could be made popular and entertaining without established names and without sacrificing artistic values. The fact that the film had several 'firsts' to its credit - the first released film of Mohanlal who became a superstar later, the first directorial venture of Fazil, the first Malayalam film of Poornima Jayaram, first Malayalam film of Shankar, first Malayalam film of music director Jerry Amaldev - all contributed to the film becoming a new refreshing experience for the film goers.
It was no wonder that the film got seven Kerala State Film Awards in the year 1980. The awards were for the best director (Fazil), best film(popular appeal ans aesthetic value), best actress(Poornima Jayaram), best background music(Guna Singh),best music(Jerry Amaldev), best playback singer male(Yesudas),best play back singer female(S.Janaki).
The biggest single factor for the success of the film was the music of Jerry Amaldev, a music director then settled in USA and brought down to India to score music for the film. And what a magical music score it was! Though his US background was highlighted in advertisements and promotional materials of the film, he was not new to Indian film music as he was a longtime associate of the great music director Naushad. The film had only three songs sung by Yesudas and Janaki to suit different moods.. The song 'Manjadi kunnil' is a duet by Yesudas and Vani Jayaram in two different styles.The melodious 'Mizhiyoram' was sung by Yesudas and Janaki separetely. The tunes of the songs, orchestration, rhythm, lyrical charm( lyrics by Bichu Thirumala), simplicity and the apparent easy 'singability' all gave a new and different feel to the listeners who readily accepted them and celebrated them. In the final analysis it was the freshness and the spontaneity of the music which appealed to the masses as well as the discerning music lovers.
The LP record of the film (It is in fact a 45 rpm record of the size of a normal LP record) is one of the rare records in my collection. I was, somehow, not able to buy it when it was released in 1980 even though I had the music cassette of the film. Strangely, the songs of the film were not heard frequently on the radio unlike many other lesser rated songs. It is also a fact that the songs are not easily available on cassettes and CDs. It was years later that I could collect the original LP record released by HMV in 1980! One side of its jacket shows one of the scenes of the film and the other side shows the picture of a young, smiling Jerry Amaldev. One could notice the word USA in brackets with the name Amaldev!!
Amaldev was a very busy music director in Malayalam films in the 80s with very successful music scores in films like Dhanya, Ente Mamattikuttiammakku, Nookkethatha Doorathu Kannum Ennennum Kannettante, Theeram Thedum Thira,etc. He slowly disappeared from the scene in the 90s to the loss of music lovers.