Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alliyaambal Kadavil - Then and Now

It tugs at the heart strings.

But I guess one has to be a Malayalee and around five decades old to receive the full impact of Vijay Yesudas’s rendition of the classic of the sixties Alliyambal Kadavil in the just released Malayalam movie Loudspeaker.

I am curious to know how the generation which did not experience the enthralling entry of Yesudas into their young world reacts to this new version of this song. I am curious to know how the generation which was not the first to hear the original Alliyaambal by Yesudas responds to this song.

Alliyaambal 2009 cannot be the same for our youngsters as it is for those of my generation. It creates a wistful longing for those emotions evoked by the original song which the senior Yesudas, in the sixties, sang with such a mellifuous flow, as though 'he on honey dew was fed/ and drunk the milk of paradise’. The song swept us off our feet by its sheer melody the very first time we heard it. Then, the whole of Kerala was humming it, the young and the old, the middle aged and the very old.From the film Rosy, the song was an event which we can never forget. Composed by Job Master, it was as different as different can be from the other compositions, though all of them too seem to have been created exclusively for young Yesudas with his silken voice and incredibly melodious style of rendition.

The 2009 version of the song from Loudspeaker takes you back - back to a time some four decades back when we were the fortunate witnesses of a great and unique confluence in Kerala of a great rendition artist, great composers and great lyricists. It is this that adds a certain special dimension to the nostalgia that overcomes those of my generation when we listen to Alliyaambal of 2009.

In the movie Loudspeaker, the song itself is a very evocative picturisation of nostalgia - naalukettu, flooded nadumuttam, young adolescent love, paper boats, the swing, the kulam, the simple innocent joys of a life close to nature – all seen through the mind of an elderly man (Sashi Kumar).

The slow rendering of the classic of the sixties by the son, who for the first time sounds like the father, fills you with a longing for those days when the phenomenon called Yesudas burst into Kerala and held it spell bound; for those days in the sixties when the Malayalee suddenly discovered what ecstatic enjoyment film music can bring.

And its picturisation takes you back to a way of life that is not just of the past, but one that is vanishing forever.


  1. 'allyambal' is Taj, and Taj cannot be built again.

  2. That song was unnecessary for laud speaker and I think the picturisation was too lousy, in fact original picturisation is also lousy, why these people remake remix old hits and destroy them I dont understand. In fact Govt of Kerala should ban such attempts even rendering by Yesudas Jayachandran of their own songs should be banned. Classics should not be touched.

    Watching numerous singer programmes one should realise that Yesudas is god's gift to kerala. Nobody even his sons can imitate his rendering of songs.

    While these star singers sing and destroy each good song of previous era the musicians associated with those antique songs tabalists flute players viloinists all are turning in their graves with grief.

    Akasavani has a bulk collection of old songs, they should copy the master and make them available to public at reasonable prices and thus stop new generation and now retired original singers misusing the old songs.

    The long queue of mangoe chewing Sasikumar's relatves was a vomiting type picturisation in loud speaker. In fact the love track one loving his ilayamma's daughter was itself very unconvincing and bore

  3. @ arushi & anonymous

    I think both of you missed the point. i wasn't making a qualitative comparison of the 60s original and the 2009 version of the song.

    i was trying to talk about the quality of the nostalgis the 2009 evokes. Looks like i've done a poor job of it :-(

    And Arushi, we cannot freeze classics. freeze them and they die. that applies for literature, music , fine arts. it is interpreting them for the changing times that keeps them alive for eternity. the sanskrit and latin languages were frozen in time and are dead now.

    btw, i haven't seen the movie. only the picturisation of the song on TV

  4. Teacher,
    Like you mentioned,for me there is no nostalgia associated with the original version.
    I have known that the original is a classic from Yesudas.I have heard this many times on radio.Nothing beyond that for me.May be I have hummed it at some point of time.
    If this song is repeated in a movie after some decades,I will have no nostalgia associated with this one.I will remember hearing the original on radio.May be,I will remember that I commented here,that is all about the second version. :-)

  5. Each generation has its own memories.....When we were kids alliyambalkadavil was one among the many old songs we knew by heart and used to sing with a bit of sarcasm(old songs are so stupid). By the time teen and youth came up , we loved these songs of course.And now , at 27 the new version evoked nothing but nostalgia....nostalgia ....and more nostalgia.Since I never 'experienced' the original, I enjoyed Vijay's rendition wholeheartedly and spent those few minutes reminiscing all the good times we had in school, college...all those old crushes, all those anthaksharis..
    About remixes; some I like ,some I dont. To each his own.Even classical art forms evolved over centuries.They didnt remain the same from the word go. Why shouldnt film songs get the same treatment? After all the original dont disappear once the remix comes up.

  6. Teacher,
    Good music is good music.
    You are right, we (our generation) do not have any nostalgia associated with this song. But that does not take away from the fact that it is one of my most beloved songs. Whenever there is a get together or reunion, the song fits the mood remarkably.

    I still love Yesudas' version of the song (obviously). But the new one with its picturisation is very enjoyable too.

  7. @ Nikhil narayan,los, deepak

    thanks for the feedback.i find it very interesting.
    yes, good music is good music.and certain strains have that quality of evoking nostalgic mood even without a reference point.

  8. thanks a lot for the link to that song..i was never a old malayalam movie songs buff when i was college or school..but for the past couple of years i have started appreciated the meliflous melodies of mal oldies...this song is a fav of mine too..never knew that this was recreated for a new movie..i actually loved the new version of the song too...but then when you evoke comparison with the original..its a bit hard!:)

  9. sorry for spamming here..but couldnt resist sharing some oldies i love to hear again and again..

    kaattil ilam kaatil (
    unni aarariro (
    annu ninte nunukuzhi (
    mayajalaka (
    karimukil kattile (

    besides these..there was a song manakilli not able to get a youtube link though..:(

  10. By the way, what is the meaning of "Pareltank"

  11. i had not seen the picturisation of the original nor have I seen this one. But I alawys loved this song. And I cannot think of a better description than yours "as though he was 'fed on honey dew' and had ‘drunk the milk of paradise’" Exactly... and I loved the lyrics too :) for its simplicity...

  12. Try this link, Mathew.

    Since you were mentioning nostalgia, here are a couple of my favorites too!:
    Aayiram paadasarangal


    I'm not averse to remixes, only the ones that mangle totally out of proportion to the original.

  13. @ arushi .. Are you kidding?
    Can u really imagine a situation where Govt is putting ban on the freedom of an artist?

    If you say classics should never be touched we would never have great movies like "vadakkan veera gadha" and all.. I feel you are simply being stubborn and childish by blindly critisizing all remixes as a whole and counting Alliyaambal kadavil along with it..
    I think the artists have taken care to show perfect justice towards the original version while recreating it with new technologies and instruments. There is nothing ruined in the feel of the song. You must great piece of arts and artists. But that respect must not make u deaf and blind towards new talents. Try listening to the song again with an open heart and i am sure you will love it.

  14. @ mathew & Sujatha

    thanks for the links. looks like everybody's old favourites are the same!

    @ bombay dosti
    i have only a vague vague memory of the pictuirsation of the original. both old and new, it's the songs that fascinate me

    @ rineez

    true, our commitmnt to te notion of classics close our mind to change.

    @ sreekumar nair

    it's the name of a street in mumbai. i started blogging while residing there

  15. @Sujatha
    Thanks a lot for that has been quite some time since i heard that!:-)

  16. KPJ, the song is my favourite too and must have sung it several times alone or with my friends in several informal gatherings and tours and know the lyrics by heart..and I do not like my favourites being tampered with and so usually do not like remixes.But this re mix is done in a better way without loosing the mood of the original.
    Other old songs that come to my mind include tamasamenthe varuvan,prana sakhi njan verumoru,oru pushpam mathramen,maniykya veenayumayen, nee madhu pakaru, rakuyilin rajasadasill,parijatham thirumishi thuranu etc etc etc....from the 60s and 70s and also newer songs from the films of 80s that I watched as they were released like ende kadinjul pranayakadhyile, krishnathulasi kathirukal, chaithram chayam chalichu, o o o mridule etc etc etc. Akashavani's Ningal avashyapetta chalachitra ganangal was most sought after then. In my college hostel I had the prized possesion of a transistor radio which was the envy of many others.Many of the Film songs of the 60s and 70s were badly picturised and it was always better to hear them than see them. Those in the 80s were picturised well. One should also not forget Jayachandran's Harsha bhashpam tooki, ekanthapadikan njan, karimukil kattile,kattum ozhukum kishakottu, yadukula rathidevan evide, Ragam sree ragam, etc etc.

    Now with almost all the oldies in my collection you still miss the old time thrill of hearing your favourite song unexpectedly from the radio.

  17. Let us remember poor Job Maash of Palluruthy who composed the song's music. Also PJ Anthony who acted in the movie. If I remember right, he wrote the movie too.

  18. I cannot agree more! That is totally an intense nostalgic song!

  19. A beautiful song, but there is that major element of 'luck' in the way Yesudas landed this song. In an intw Job Ma'sh has said, the song was to be rendered by one of the senior male voices of the time, but that person had some inconvenience and the recording would have to be cancelled. That's when Job got Yesudas who was outside the studio like any newcomer trying to get a toehold in the industry. And the rest as they say is history. The film is 'Rosy' by PN Menon


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