Kottayam: There are quite a few Mollywood stars who have attempted the crossover from actor to musician, but what's more surprising is how many, albeit not known for their singing ability, have recorded songs for film soundtracks.
And more often than not, those actors who are less classically trained, but not exactly tone deaf, surprised moviegoers with an arresting musical performance.
With a little warble and falter here and there, their songs lacked polish, making it more appealing and emotionally honest. As Malayalam film industry moves further and further away from the days of over-dubbing and glorious, technicolor perfection, we are gifted with more and more of these intimate and vulnerable playback singers.
As we celebrate 'World Music Day', Onmanorama features a few actors who have carved a niche for themselves with their crooning skills.
We came to know of Mani's talent through his 'Nadanpattu' cassettes and cds. Mani turned a playback singer with the movie Sammanam, which was released in 1995. Since then, he has sung in numerous films, including Kottaram Veetil Appukuttan, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu, O Priya, Achanayanu Enikishtam, The Guard and Kanmashi. He also sung the hit song Kuttandan Kayalile Kettuvellam in the movie Kazhcha for Manoj K. Jayan.
Vineeth Srinivasan made his entry as a singer and later became an actor and a director. He made his debut as playback singer in the movie Kilichundan Mampazham in 2002 by rendering the song Kasavinte tattamittu. After that, Vineeth sang numerous hit songs in Udayananu Tharam, Classmates and Thuruppu Gulan. Vineeth will be making his debut in Tamil through the movie Mari, which will be released soon.
Perhaps, Mohanlal is the actor, who has sung the maximum film songs in Malayalam. We first heard him as a singer in the movie Kandu Kandarinju in which he co-starred with Mammootty. In that film, Lal sang Ni arnijo melemanathu along with Mala Aravindan. Later, in Onnanam Kunnil Oradikunnil, Lal sang the song Sindooramegam sringarakavyam along with M.G. Sreekumar. His first solo song was in the movie Padamudra.
This was followed by a string of hits in movies such as Aye Auto, Chitram, Butterflies, Gandharvam, Manichitrathazhu till the latest hit in Run Baby Run. Lal has sung in 50 films and once he sung for another actor in a movie in which he didn't act. In Kannuezhuthi Pottum Thottu, he sang a duet song.
Mammootty first sang for Raveendran in the movie Pallavoor Devanarayanan. Before that, he had sung in Mazhayethum Munpe for music director Anand. Actor Sreenivasan and Mammootty rendered their voice for the song in that movie. Mammootty later sang in Loud Speaker and Kutty Shrank.
Jayaram made his debut as playback singer for Rajasenan-movie Kathanayakan. Later, Jayaram sang in_ Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum, Mayilattom, Sevens_ and Salam Kashmir.
Another actor who endeared himself to film buffs with his singing was Prithviraj. He has sung in movies Thanthonni, Pokiriraja, Anwar, Urumi, Hero and Seventh Day.
Jayasurya turned a playback singer in the movie Immini Nallayal. But he became a popular singer by rendering the song Ashichavan akashathu in the movie Punyalan Agarbattis. Bijipal was the music director. Jayasurya also sang in the movie Happy Georgie.
There is no disputing the fact that Mamta Mohandas, who made her debut in Mayukham directed by Hariharan, is a good actress. However, Keralites came to know her talent in singing through Vijay's movie Villu. Mamta became popular as a singer through the Daddy Mummy song in Villu, which was a super hit in Tamil. Mamta who has learnt Hindustani and Carnatic music first sang in Telugu.
Mamta first sang for the Telugu movie Rakhi, directed by Devashri Prasad. After that, she has rendered so many songs in Telugu. For Malayalam, Mamta sang in Anwar, Mohabhat and Arike.
Nithya Menen shone as a actress in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies before making her mark as a singer. Nithya first sang for a Kannada movie in 2010. She sang in Telugu and Malayalam versions of the movie Angane Thudangi. She has sung for 15 movies in Tamil and Telugu. In Malayalam, Nithya has sung in the movies Poppins and Netholi oru cheriya meenalla.
Nazriya Nazim, who made her acting debut as child artiste in Palunku, proved her mettle in playback singing in movie Salala Mobiles. In Bangalore Days, she sang Ente Kannil Ninakayi.
Remya Nambeesan was someone who made her entry into the industry as an actor and later made her name as a good singer. She made her debut as playback singer in Meghamalar in 2011. She became a popular singer through the song Vijana Surabhi in Bachelor Party. She has sung for Malayalam and Tamil movies.
Rimi came into film industry as a singer and delivered so many hit songs before making her debut as an actress. She made a cameo appearance in 5 Sundarikal. In Thinkal Muthal Vellivare, Rimi made her debut in the tinsel world.
Apart from these actors, there are many in the Malayalam film industry who have tried their hand in playback singing. Balachandra Menon has not only sung but also has written and directed music in movies such as Kuruppinte Kanakku Pusthakam, Samatharangal and Krishna Gopalakrishna.
In the Rajasenan-directed movie Kathapurushan, the song Good Morning Good Morning, which was sung by actors set a record of sorts. The actors who appeared in the song sequence sang that hit song. Jayaram, Indrans, Kalabhavan Mani, Janardhanan and K.P.A.C. Lalitha were among those who sang that song.