Wednesday, March 22, 2017


If we were to pick the greatest Malayalam film song of the last three decades, Arikil neeyundaayirunnenkil … may top the list for many. If you were to select our greatest love songs of all time, it would be there too.This timeless melody song has just turned 30. It was on March 20, 1987 that the film Neeyethra Dhanya was released. That film is still mainly remembered today for Arikil… It brought together three geniuses at their best – composer G. Devarajan, lyricist O.N.V. Kurup and singer Yesudas.
“To me it is the best film song of the last three decades,” says playback singer G. Venugopal. “No other song of the last 30 years has been as perfect when it comes to lyrics, music and singing. The only song I think that could come close to is not from films – Onnini sruthi thaazthi …”He recalls singing Arikil … himself at live shows three decades ago. “That was the time when I had just started my career as a singer,” he says. “From the first time I listened to the song, I was hooked.”
Those who heard the song in 1987, mostly from the audio cassette released by Tharangini Records, would agree with Venugopal. One cannot recall how many times one pressed on the rewind button of the tape recorder to listen to it over and over.And those who were in love at the time would often end their letters to their sweethearts with the opening lines of the songs that meant ‘For a brief second I wished/ You were beside me’. You cannot tell someone how much you missed them in a simpler or more poetic manner than that.Yesudas’s voice captured the complete romance of ONV’s exquisite poetry, while Devarajan ensured that his magical tune would give it immortality.

It was also one of the songs Devarajan worked the hardest in his long and illustrious career. It had taken him seven days just to tune the word Arikil , he once said.Devarajan and ONV were then collaborating on a song for the first time in eight years.They were not the best of friends at the time. But, director Jessey was determined to bring them together.His cousin, J.J. Kuttikkatt, a producer, recalls Jessey telling him Devarajan was a bit reluctant initially to work with ONV. “But, Jessey was adamant,” he says. “And Devarajan relented.”And Malayalam got a classic song for ages.
Prof. John Kurakar

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