Malayalam film songs of 2011 – My picks

2011 may not have been an exciting year for Malayalam box office, but it certainly was a turning point in the history of Malayalam film music industry. The industry had opened up to the rock music genre last year and a new trend of movie inspired OSTs had been introduced. As a result, we had a song from India’s leading  and Kochi’s own rock band Motherjane for the film Anwar in 2010. The trend continued this year with the Malayalam rock band Avial played the end title song, Aanakkallan, for the film Salt N Pepper. It seems to be continuing as the audio of the end title song from the upcoming film Asuravithu, sung by the new rock sensation, X-Factor fame Piyush Kapur, is out on YouTube.

It shows that the new age film directors who target the young audience are ready to go beyond the regular track to try out something new. And the stage is set right. There has been no better time than now for the independent music scene in India and the youth in Kerala are also reaching out to different genres of music.

2011 was also the year of Shreya Ghoshal in Malayalam film music. She has probably sung more songs than Chitra in Malayalam this year. Unlike other singers from the north and south of India, she has given much effort in terms of pronunciation and that is evident from her renditions. But are the music directors trying to use her pan-Indian image for the publicity of their albums is a question. If that is the case, some of the equally talented young singers from Kerala – Gayatri, Manjari and Swetha – are missing out in the competition.

So here comes my list of top 12 Malayalam songs of 2011. You can view/hear the songs on YouTube, if you click on the song names.


Song: Naattu vazhiyorathe
Movie: Gaddhama
Singer: K S Chitra
Music: Bennet-Veetrag
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Chimmi Chimmi
Movie: Urumi
Singer: Manjari
Music: Deepak Dev
Lyrics: Kaithapram

Song: Chembarathi Kammalittu
Movie: Manikyakallu
Singer: Shreya Ghoshal, Ravishankar
Music: M Jayachandran
Lyrics: Anil Panchooran

Song: Ithile Varoo
Movie: The Train
Singer: Sujatha
Music: Srinivas
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Kannoram Chingaaram
Movie: Rathinirvedham
Singer: Shreya Ghoshal
Music: M Jayachandran
Lyrics: Murugan Kattakkada

Song: Himakanam
Movie: Violin
Singer: Gayatri, Ganesh Sundaram
Music: Bijibal
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Chembaavul
Movie: Salt N Pepper
Singer: Pushpavathy
Music: Bijibal
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Premikkumpol
Movie: Salt N Pepper
Singer: P Jayachandran, Neha Nair
Music: Bijibal
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Pranaya Nilaa
Movie: Teja Bhai and Family
Singer: Shaan Rahman
Music: Deepak Dev
Lyrics: Kaithapram

Song: Manjil Melle
Movie: Makaramanju
Singer: Yesudas
Music: Ramesh Narayanan
Lyrics: Chandran Nair

Song: Amruthamaay
Movie: Snehaveedu
Singer: Hariharan
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Lyrics: Rafeeque Ahammed

Song: Mazhaneer Thullikal
Movie: Beautiful
Singer: Unni Menon
Music: Ratheesh Vega
Lyrics: Anoop Menon


Honorable mentions:

To Reshmi Satheesh for the songs Appa Nammade and Chalanam Chalanam from the movie Urumi. The highlight of both these songs is Reshmi’s powerful voice.

To Rex Vijayan for the background score of Chaappa Kurish. Rex has given a totally different approach compared to the traditional way our musicians have been scoring music for films.


Related posts:

Malayalam songs of 2009 – My picks
Malayalam songs of 2008 – My picks


R.I.P., M G Radhakrishnan

M G Radhakrishnan

It comes as a big shock to hear that the prominent music director Sri. M G Radhakrishnan sir has now gone to join the heavens. He left this world at around 1:45 PM today. He was 69 years old and was in the hospital. Needless to say, a big loss for those who love music.

I was fortunate to have been blessed by him, to spend some time with him and to sing for him once. It was all started when I posted my cover version of his song, Nilaavinte Neelabhasma, in my music blog. And when I saw the below comment in the name of MGR to that blog post, I thought it was some friends playing prank. The comment was:

I heard your song “Nilavinte Neelabhasma”. My daughter sent me this link. You have a nice voice and a good rendering. Bless you, my son.

He had also left his full address and phone number. So I thought I would call and see which friend was behind this. But to my surprise, MGR’s driver took the phone and later I could talk to Pappechi, his wife, and then to MGR himself. Later on, after I joined Envestnet, I went to meet MGR at his house in Trivandrum. He made me sing Nilaavinte Neelabhasma again, pointed out a couple of mistakes and said my voice would need more polishing to become a professional singer. He mentioned it doesn’t matter if you sing Varnams or Krithis or if you have learned music for x years. He said if you can sing the 7 swarams properly, that is more important and the daily practise of basic swarams is essential. He blessed me, said there were many great people who started with his blessings and later became famous in the field of music. He jokingly said that I would forget the whole meeting incident when I become famous.

I met him again after a couple of months in East Coast studios in Sasthamangalam. He had invited me to sing a track song for one of his music albums. I sang one track for G Venugopal, who was also present there to sing for the movie Pakal, which was composed by M G Radhakrishnan. There were some great people in the room then – poet Sugathakumari’s daughter Lakshmi, singer G Venugopal and lyricist late Gireesh Puthenchery. MGR introduced me to Gireesh Puthenchery and said, “my wife is his biggest fan“, which I consider as the greatest compliment I have ever received. I stood there spellbound, being in the presence of some great souls. MGR made me sing the song again in the presence of Gireesh Puthenchery. Puthenchery also shared some of the old memories, from the days he met M G Radhakrishnan first.

Believe it or not, I was thinking just yesterday that I should visit him and Pappechi because it has been a long time since I met them last time. And then comes this news…

My heart goes out to his family. Especially his wife Padmaja Radhakrishnan, whom we fondly call Pappechi and his daughter Karthika (who introduced my song to him). May God give them the strength to survive these difficult moments.

My cover versions of MGR songs:

Nilaavinte Neelabhasma (unplugged) – On which MGR commented
Nilaavinte Neelabhasma (with track)
Thira Nurayum

Poomukha vaathilkkal

My favorite songs from M G Radhakrishnan:

Palavattam Pookkaalam / Varuvaanillaarum (Manichithrathaazhu)
Oru murai vanthu paarthaayaa (Manichithrathaazhu)
Nilaavinte Neelabhasma (Agnidevan)
Oru Poovithalin (Agnidevan)
Ambalappuzhe (Advaitham)
Surya Kireedam (Devaasuram)
Thira Nurayum (Ananthabhadram)
Njaattuvela kiliye (Midhunam)
Ethra pookkaalamini (Raakkuyilin Raaga sadassil)
Poomukha vaathilkkal (Raakkuyilin Raaga sadassil)
Oru dalam maathram (Jaalakam)
Naadhaa nee varum
Mouname Nirayum Mouname

(Image courtesy:

The story never ends…

Version 1: A father whose wife left him has to raise his kid by himself
Version 2: A mother whose husband was killed has to raise her kid by herself

Version 1: The father and son live in a rented apartment
Version 2: The mother and daughter live in a rented house

Version 1:
Father is broke, without money and a job
Version 2: Mother is broke, without money and a job

Version 1: The dad skips paying rent each month and tries to escape the landlord
Version 2: Mom does the same.

Version 1: On returning one day, they find that their house has a new door-lock put by the landlord
Version 2: Same as above

Version 1: With the small luggage they have, the dad and son spend a day in the park and the night in a railway station.
Version 2: The mom and daughter do the same.

Version 1: When they try to spend a night in the railway station toilet, people knock on the door outside and the dad struggles to not let his son  know what is happening.
Version 2: When they try to take a bathe in the railway station toilet, people knock on the door outside and the mom struggles to not let the daughter know what is happening.

Version 1: The dad tries the best to make it seem like they are playing a game.
Version 2: Mom does the same.

Version 1: The dad’s last hope for money, a medical device, is being stolen.
Version 2: Mom’s last bills of money that she gets after selling the gold ornaments, is being stolen.

Version 1: Dad donates blood in a hospital for money.
Version 2: Mom does the same.

Version 1: The dad takes a cab drive, but has no money to pay, so asks the driver to drive even more, finally when the cab stops the parent runs away as he has no money to pay.
Version 2: Mom does the same, except that here it is an auto rickshaw, not a cab.

Version 1: The dad applies for an internship at a big-wig stock broking company and finally gets it which puts the end to their financial mysery.
Version 2: The mom completes her MBBS and gets a job in Kuwait which will put an end to their financial mysery.

By now, you all would have guessed it right that with version 1, I was referring to the 2006 movie “Pursuit of Happyness” which has an amazing performance by Will Smith that brought him an academy award nomination for the best performance in a lead role. Version 2 is a Malayalam movie that runs in packed houses across Kerala now. The movie name is “Kadha Thudarunnu” and is directed by the much celebrated director Sathyan Anthikkad.

Sathyan is talking to the media, in the TV etc, as if he’s just re-invented the Malayalam cinema whereas it seems to be just a copy of a beautiful Hollywood movie. He even lifted some of the story events scene-by-scene from the original movie, added a bit of his usual “social message” thingy, some Kerala touch here and there and made his movie. I think the writers of the Hollywood movie should sue Sathyan for millions of dollars so that it will teach a lesson to the copy-cats in our movie industry.

This is not a first time that pioneers (?) like Sreenivasan and Sathyan Anthikkad have been accused of plagiarism. But we have always ignored it, thinking how it is possible that the people of their stature and ‘calibre’ can do such a shameful thing. Only when the director combo Siddique Lal became massively popular and accused Sathyan Anthikkad for not giving them credits for the storyline of the movie “Naadodikkaattu” that we seriously gave it a thought. When numerous other people came out in open against Sathyan and Sreenivasan we did not give it a damn as those people were not known names. Siddique Lal was lucky that their talent got the deserving recognition so their words became credible to the public. What about the other unlucky souls?

When a good friend of mine emailed me about the parallel story line of both the movies, I brushed it away. I thought it is a generic response and kind of a popular trend these days to ‘investigate’ the original versions of a movie. But then I watched Kadha Thudarunnu on last Sunday and I was totally stunned. I don’t know what Sathyan was thinking. In the old days, this trick would have worked because very few people watched or had access to Hollywood movies but to do it in these days Sathyam Anthikkad must have had some guts. Or he is seriously insulting the Malayalees as a society that it doesn’t have exposure to cinema outside India. Whichever way it is, it is a crime and I wonder why nobody in the media is talking about it except for one or two TV channels.

PS: Another movie which is “written” by actor-writer Sreenivasan, has Mohan Lal in the lead and marks the entry of singer M G Sreekumar as a music director, has been ordered to stay its release by a court order. The movie was scheduled to release in the second week of May.

The stay was given, following a complaint from K Vijayan from Mukkam, accusing senior actor and scriptwriter Sreenivasan to have lifted his story and used the same for ‘Oru Naal Varum’. Vijayan says that he has met Sreeni once with this story who dismissed it as a naive one with no big comedies. Later Vijayan published the same in the title ‘Ee Kaliveedil Ninnu’ in a popular magazine. Sreenivasan was not available to respond of this new accusation. [via]

As usual, the tactic of both Sathyan Anthikkad and Sreenivasan to face these allegations is to say that “this doesn’t deserve a response” or “these people do it just for fame“(?). So much to our great, ‘creative‘ souls.

Malayalam movies, English titles

2009 is perhaps an year in which we have seen more Malayalam movies with English titles. Early 2010 movie titles also are not much different. Look at some of these titles below. Going by this, it will be too difficult to figure out the language of a movie by its name. 🙂

Senior Mandrake
Happy Husbands
Decent Parties
My Big Father
Kerala Cafe
Angel John
Robin Hood
Loud Speaker
Daddy Cool
Dr Patient
Moss N Cat
Sagar Alias Jacky
Love in Singapore

RIP Murali

The Indian Cinema, particularly the Malayalam cinema, has lost yet another talent today as actor Murali from Kerala passed away leaving his legacy behind. Malayalam cine actor Murali, who is also familiar to other South Indian audience, has died today (August 6, Thursday) in Thiruvananthapuram due to a massive heart attack.

When I watched his movie “Pulijanmam” a couple of months back, I was thinking of the great talent that this actor possessed. I was going to write a review because Murali was just amazing in this film as both Kaari Gurukkal and Prakashan. Pulijanmam remains as my most favorite film of Murali. He has won a national film award for the best actor for the film Neythukaaran and won state film awards for the films like Amaram, Neythukaaran and Aadhaaram.

Rest in peace, Sir…

Rajan P Dev passed away


Rajan P Dev, one of the versatile actors that Malayalam cinema ever had, has passed away yesterday. Regardless of the kind of roles he got – be it villainous (Indrajaalam), humorous (Aniyan Baava Chettan Baava) or character roles (Azhakiya Ravanan) – he handled them all with an artistic mastery. Coming from a strong theatrical background, he was most famous for his legendary portrayal of Kochu Vaava in Kaattu Kuthira (drama). He has also directed two movies. He will be missed…

(Image courtesy:

Lohitha Das passes away

Lohitha Das, one of the best scriptwriters that Malayalam cinema ever had, died today in Kochi.  He belonged to a class of writers who found their raw material from the lives of ordinary people. Some of the best musicals in Malayalam cinema were penned by him, like “His Highness Abdullah” and “Bharatham“. Both Mammootty and Mohan Lal had some of their best characters in their acting career from Lohitha Das. He gave movies like Thaniyaavarthanam and Boothakannaadi to Mammootty and Kireedam and Bharatham to Mohan Lal. He introduced some of the best actresses in Malayalam – Manju Warrier, Meera Jasmin and Bhaama. Even though he enjoyed great success as a script-writer, his career as a director was not so bright. His last two directorial ventures had flopped in the box office. But he will be remembered for the characters and stories he had penned down in his life time.

RIP, Lohitha Das…

(Image sourced from

Chaanthu Thottille – Banaras

Banaras - Malayalam movie

I was looking for the MP3 files for M Jayachandran’s latest, Orkkuka Vallappozhum and I was stumbled upon another recent work from him – Banaras. I was in a hurry to catch my train back to Thrissur and I downloaded a couple of songs from that film. I was happy to find an official karaoke track for one of the songs. That song caught my immediate attention as it was a Dhandiya song. The song name is Chaanthu Thottille and it is sung by my fav singer, Shreya Ghoshal. 🙂 This must be her second Malayalam song after Vida Parayukayaano from Big B. I listened to the song multiple times when I was lying down in the train. Then I thought, why not sing a male version of the song?

As soon as I got a breather in the late evening on Saturday, I learned the song and recorded it. I have changed the lyrics a bit to make it suitable for the male vocals part. Let me know how it sounds. 🙂

Song: Chaanthu Thottille
Movie: Banaras (Malayalam)
Music: M Jayachandran
Original singer: Shreya Ghoshal

Download MP3 file of this song

Banaras – Chaanthu Thottille | Upload Music

(Image courtesy: IndiaGlitz)

Looking Back to 2008: Mammootty & Mohan Lal

[Today’s is a guest post by K K Moidu].
A look at the career graph of Mammootty and Mohanlal and their dominance at the box office. At the end of 2008, front line Malayalam superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal had reason to be happy — they remained in the top slot. Their box office successes with super hit films and success guaranteed projects in their hands show their strong presence in the industry.


He started 2008 with the hit film Roudram by playing a cop for the 25th time in his career. His double role in Anwar Rasheed’s superhit Annan Thampi was one of the biggest superhits of the year. Other films of Mammootty like Parunthu and Maya Bazaar didn’t do well at the box office. But the actor, who started the year by playing a cop ended it by shining in a lawyer’s role in the magnum opus Twenty 20.

Compared to the seven releases in 2007, Mammootty had only five films last year including Twenty 20. In 2007 the actor had two offbeat films like Ore Kadal and Kaiyoppu, which has screened in various film festivals and won few awards. But this year the actor didn’t have an art film.

The biggest achievement of the actor last year is not the released films, but his completed projects like Pazhassi Raja and Kuttishranku. The epic movie Pazhassi Raja, made on a big budget, reunites the literary genius MT Vasudevan Nair and Mammootty. The film, directed by Hariharan, also stars senior Tamil hero Sarath Kumar and veteran Ilayaraja scores music. Like Pazhassi Raja, Mammootty is playing a rare role in Kuttishranku directed by National Award winning director Shaji N Karun. Both the movies have a chance of benefiting him by winning accolades at the national and international levels.

Mammootty has already completed the shooting of few commercial entertainers and the first release of 2009 will be Love in Bangkok directed by Rafi-Mecartin. Telugu heroine Navneet Kaur is making her Malayalam debut as his love interest. His bilingual film Vandemataram titled in Tamil as Aruvadai has only few scenes left for completion. Tamil action hero Arjun plays an important role in the film. Mammootty romances Sneha and their pairing in Thuruppugulan was a hit at the box office.

According to reports, three times national award winners Mammootty and Kamal Hassan are expected to team up in a forthcoming film in different South Indian languages. The film will be a remake of Bollywood offbeat hit A Wednesday. If Kamal succeeds in buying the rights of the Hindi movie, he himself will act in the role of Naseerudheen Shah and Mammootty will once again fit the cops cap as a police officer, which was enacted by Anupam Kher in the original.

Mammootty will play the lead in director Jayaraj’s forthcoming film scripted by Renjith. The ace director’s earlier movie Johny Walker with Mammootty in the lead, released one-and-a-half decades earlier, was also scripted by Renjith. In the forthcoming film Thaappana, which means an elephant used to train wild elephants, Mammootty plays the proud owner of a famous elephant. The film will be the next directorial venture of Akku Akbar, after his runaway hit Veruthe Oru Bharya. It will also feature the elephant owned by actor Jayaram featured earlier in Rappakal.

Continue reading Looking Back to 2008: Mammootty & Mohan Lal

Malayalam songs of 2008 – My picks

Choosing the top 10 Malayalam songs of 2008 was not at all a difficult job. It was pretty easy as most of the songs were run-off-the-mill junks. However, there were still some songs, not exceeding 8, from the year 2008.

The most notable music director of 2008 was Sreevalsan J Menon with his songs for the movie Laptop. Bijibal is also a promising young music director. The notable fresh new voice for the year 2008 was Amal Antony for the songs he sang for Laptop. Music directors Dakshina Moorthy and Sarath have made a comeback to Malayalam with the movies Mizhikal Sakshi and Thirakkatha. And the interesting thing to note is that Malayalam is hearing very less of Yesudas in the recent years.

So here is my Top 8 Malayalam songs list for 2008.

Song: Ilam neela neela
Movie: Laptop
Singer: Sreevalsan J Menon
Music: Sreevalsan J Menon
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Arikil Nee Illa
Movie: Thirakkatha
Singer: Madhu Balakrishnan
Music: Sarath
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Kaanin Vaathil
Movie: Mulla
Singer: Gayatri
Music: Vidya Sagar
Lyrics: Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma

Song: May Maasame
Movie: Laptop
Singer: Amal Antony
Music: Sreevalsan J Menon
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Mizhi thammil
Movie: Minnaaminni Koottam
Music: Bijibal
Lyrics: Anil Panachooran

Song: Paalapoo Eethalil
Movie: Thirakkatha
Singers: Nishad, Swetha
Music: Sarath
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Chethiyum
Movie: Mizhikal Sakshi
Singers: K S Chitra
Music: Dakshina Moorthy
Lyrics: ONV Kurup

8 )
Song: Kanalukal
Movie: Mulla
Singers: V. Sreekumar, Sujatha
Music: Vidya Sagar
Lyrics: Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma