Raveendran - The Composer Legend
As a follower of malayalam/tamil film music, its shame on me to tell that I didnt know about Raveendran till late 90s!!! (though i had heard many of his songs). But thats a strange fact! Then, When did i start noticing him?
'Ayal kathayezhuthukayanu' was my first encounter with Raveendran Master's music. The musical depth of the song 'Etho Nidra than' touched me very much. From there i started noticing the name 'Raveendran' and to my delight, many of the songs of te 80s, which had a strong impact one me, to quote a few - Thenum vayambum, Ithirippoove Chuvanna Poove, Sukhamo Devi, His Highness Abdulla, turned out to be Raveendran's.
To be fair, Raveendran master is much more than what we, average listeners including myself, think of. 'Pramadavanam' and 'Harimuraleeravam' are only just two instances of that creativity. If we sail back to the 80s, you may dig out many gems of this very much underrated composer. There was definitly a freshness in 'Thenum Vayambum'. But the depth of Cranatic Music as well as malayalam folk music in many of his songs such as 'Pon Pularoli Poo Vithariya', 'Raavil raaganilavil', 'Chiriyil Njan Kettu', Ezhu Swarangalum' etc etc will make you wonder about his exemplorary control over the two music forms.
Its not a mere classical stuff that Raveendran threw out - you will never feel the over-dosage of ragams in his songs. But if you can blend a ragam like 'Hamsadhwani' in 3 different ways (Manathaaril ennum, Raavil Raganilaavil, Ragangale Mohangale), along with providing all the beauty, dercorations of a film song, that means he is simply great!!!
Though he was focused on maintaining the purity of carntaic music in his songs, he gave out some trendy songs as well, still holding his stampage over them. 'Rajeevam Vidarum nin mizhikal', 'Ithiri nanam' were songs that i fell in love with, without knowing that it was Raveendran. His 'Aye Auto' was a sensation of the time.
In a career spanning nearly 25 years, Raveendran was one of the very few MDs, who showed little creative wear out. His recent releases like Nandanam, Mizhi Randilum, Ammkkilikkoodu were simply the best songs that we came to hear during the past couple of years.
Some of his songs can be considered as benchmarks for certain carnatic ragams. The highly unnoticed, unrecognized, but yet of high class, 'Parayoo Njan engane parayendoo' (movie:Chaithanyam) will introduce all the hidden beauties of the ragam 'Saramathi'. Similarly 'Pon Pularoli', 'Gopangane Athmavile' (Natta), 'Idayaraga', 'Aathmavin Pusthakathaalil' (Darbari Kanada), 'Leelathilakam Charthi', 'Gopikavasantham' (Shanmukhapriya), 'Kudajadriyil', 'Sreelathikakal' (Revathi), 'Aalilamanjalil' (abhogi).. The list is endless..
Its to be remembered that Raveendran songs were one main factor behind the commercial success of Malayalam Cassette Market. It all started with 'His Highness Abdulla'. 'Pramadavanam' was a great hit, and 'Bharatham' and 'Kamaladalam' followed. Evan 'Nandanam' was a hot seller.
There are a lot of movies, which has not seen the theaters, or became a commercial disaster, which are rememberd today for Raveendran's songs. eg: Mahassar ('Etho Kilinaadamen Karalil'), Neelakkadambu ('Kudajaadriyil), Telephonil Thodaruthu etc etc..
There released an album 'Vasanthageethangal' by Tharangini, in the first half of 80s, and it was a trend setter. The album was packed with high quality, folk-oriented as well as classical based songs. Yesudas sung all the songs in this album, tuned by Raveendran. Among them 'Maamankam Palakuri Kondaadi' became a smash hit. The orchestration, lyrics and tunes reflected sheer Kerala nativity. A lot of albums followed, and Raveendran himself came out with many 'Onam' songs very frequently. 'Arayanname Aaromale' (Vasanthageethangal), 'Paathiramayakkathil' (Ponnona Tharangini) were glimpses of high-class creativity. You hear 'Paathiramayakkathil' and will instantly catch hold of 'Saaramathi' (again!!). Hear this song in the night, in light moon-lit to get the feel of it..(Remember 'Puzhayorazhakulla Pennu').
I was a bit too late when i came to know the long forgotten songs of Raveendran Master, and my respect for him grew to a level of worship. Luckily, i got an oppurtunity to meet him just 2 weeks before his untimely death, at Kochi. Was that i was too afraid, or Raveendarn master looked too tired (reason why, we came to know when he died), i couldnt speak anything on my obsessions towards his songs. I could hardly introduce myself.
It was a real shock after two weeks, when i came to know that he has left this world.. What, and from whom, are we to expect now?