Malayalam cinema has given birth to numerous songs that have stood the test of times. Its history is replete with melodies that evoke every shade of emotion, especially love and longing. One such lyrical gem is 'Neelakurinjikal Pookkunna Veethiyil' from the movie Neelakadambu made in 1985.
Written by K. Jayakumar and composed by music director Raveendran, the 30 year old song from the unreleased movie is still a favorite ode to unrequited love.
There have been several hits from Raveendran Master and Jayakumar and Neelakadambu was their first musical collaboration. In the following years, the duo came up with hit songs in movies like Kizhakkunarum Pakshi,Mazha, and Butterflies.
Lyricist Jayakumar says, “I think Neelakadambu was only made to begin my career as a lyricist. The songs were released 30 years ago but Malayalis from around the world still remember me fondly when they hear the song. It’s a huge honor”.
The song composed in Hindustani raag Desh (a favorite of Raveendran Master) is written as an ode to the longing of a desolate lover. It is a plea for attention from a forlorn lover.
The contralto female voice exudes the pain of loneliness, insecurity, and hopeless wait of the lover. The hurt and anguish is apparent in the lyrics and the use of raag Desh takes it close to the soulful song, 'Shankhupushpam Kannezhuthumbol' (G. Devarajan’s lovely composition in the voice of K.J. Yesudas), from the 1965 movie Shakunthala.
The song 'Oru pushpam matramen', penned by legendary P. Bhaskaran and composed by musical genius Baburaj, from the movie Pareeksha (1967) is also made in the same raaga.
People born in the 1990s often wonder how a song from an unreleased movie became so popular and loved at a time when television or Doordarshan, the public broadcaster founded by Government of India, was not a staple in every household.
Old timers remember it was All India Radio or Akashvani, the national public radio broadcaster, which made the song popular through frequent airings.
Other songs of Neelakadambu were also popular. The song beginning ‘Kudajadriyil kudikollum maheshwari’, a devotional addressed to goddess Mukambika, was first recorded by Chitra’s. The story goes that K.J. Yesudas heard Chitra’s version and was so fascinated by it that he expressed his desire to record the song in his voice. The five songs were the chart toppers and the cassette became the best-seller of the year 1985.