Director Fazil reveals how he found names for his movies from Bichu’s songs

Film maker Fazil was surprised when he received a phone call from the Brothers Hotel in Alappuzha, years ago. It was lyricist Bichu Thirumala on the other end. Bichu had been in Alappuzha for a few days to write the songs for Fazil's Pappayude Swantham Appoos. However, Fazil wasn’t satisfied with the lines that Bichu, who is known for his incredible skill of writing songs quickly, had written for the tunes that were composed by Ilayaraja. The director rushed to the hotel as soon as he received Bichu’s phone call.

Bichu picked up the paper on which he had written the lines and sang the song that would later become one of the best songs in Malayalam that perfectly expresses motherly love. The song was ‘Olathumbathirunnu Oonjal Aadum Chella Painkili, Ente Baalagopalane Enaa Theppikumbo Paadedi...’. Fazil's face gleamed with happiness as he was impressed by the fabulous imagery in the song. Reading Fazil excitement from his face, Bichu explained how he had come up with these lines.

Bichu had woken up at dawn and sat still for a few minutes wondering whether he should take a bath before staring to write. That is when an image came into his mind. Bichu had a younger brother, Balagopalan, who had died years ago, when he was a little kid. The image of Bichu’s mother lovingly rubbing oil on Balagopalan’s body and bathing him had inspired the poet to pen one of the most amazing lines that have great visual quality. Those lines perfectly matched the beautiful tune composed by Ilayaraja. Fazil is still excited when he recalls this incident that happened at the Brothers Hotel in Alappuzha.

Here is how this movie got its name

Fazil had begun preparing to direct his debut movie. Newcomer Jerry Amaldev had been roped in to compose the music for this film. Everyone knew that Jerry likes to compose tunes first, rather than composing music that matches the lines. Bichu Thirumala was the only person who could swiftly write beautiful lines that matches tunes. It was the time when the song 'Paavada Venam Melada Venam' written by Bichu for the movie Angadi had become super hit.

Rooms were rented at the Alappuzha Guest for Bichu and Jerry to compose the songs. One day when the director visited the duo at the rest house, Bichu had already written the main song in the film. Bichu sang ‘Mizhiyoram Nananjozhukum’ for Fazil . However, the director couldn’t help but ask Bichu to stop at the line ‘Manjil Virinja Pooeve.. Parayu Nee.. Ilam Poove’. Fazil wondered whether there was a flower that blooms during the winter. Usually, all the flowers would shed in the winter to make way for the spring. Bichu then narrated an incident that had happened that morning.

The lyricist had gone out in the early morning for a walk on the canal sides when he saw a lovely sight that had deeply touched him. Droplets of mist were dangling from the grass blades and the trees, shining like little diamonds. Bichu was so impressed by those amazing sights. He thought that the scene would look incredibly divine had a few flowers bloomed on that misty morning. It was from those musings that he got the idea of Manjil Virinja Poovu or the flower that blooms in the mist.

This incident had excited the imagination of the director too. In the movie, even though the hero and the heroine love each other, they do not get a happy ending. Those star-crossed lovers fell before their love fully blooms. If a flower blooms in the mist, then it has to shed before the spring. The director felt that the phrase perfectly explains the core emotion of the film. Fazil didn’t have to think twice to name his debut movie Manjil Virinja Pookal which catapulted him to become one of the most bankable directors of Malayalam cinema.

Pazham tamizh paatizhayil

Fazil has no qualms giving credit to Bichu Thirumala for helping him name two of the greatest blockbusters in his career. The first one was Fazil's debut movie Manjil Virinja Pookaal and the other one was Manichitrathazhu which is considered a cult classic in Malayalam cinema.

“The songs of Manichitrathazhu were written by Bichu and composed by MG Radhakrishnan. The first song that they had prepared was the one that is heard when Nagavalli roams around the thekkini. Radhakrishnan composed the tune and Bichu wrote these lines that matched the tune, ‘Pazham Tamizh Pattozhayum Sruthiyil, Pazhayoru Thamburu Thengi..Manichitrathazhinullil Veruthe Nilavara Maina Mayangi,” recalls Fazil .

“I was mesmerised when Radhakrishnan sang that beautiful song. I thought that this fabulous song should be rendered in the majestic voice of Yesudas. So, I created another situation where I could include this song in Yesudas’ voice. Instead, we agreed to compose another song to be heard from the thekkini, in the same tune. That is how they composed Oru Murai Vanthu Paarthaya as the song that is heard from the thekkini,” says Fazil.

Fazil recalls that he was impressed by the word Manichitrathazhu that comes in the song 'Pazham Tamil Pattizhayum'. He says that the word ‘Mani’ is related to mind. Meanwhile, Chitram could also mean chitham, that is soul or mind. “The word Manichtrathazhu brought the image of a mind that is locked up into my mind,” says the film maker.

The master of new words

Bichu Thirumala possessed impeccable vocabulary and linguistic skills that allowed him to dabble with new and vivid words and phrases that rhymed. Fazil who was curious about Bichu’s skill in writing songs on the spot had asked him about it. Bichu had lived away from Thiruvananthapuram for some time, before he entered the Malayalam music industry. He got plenty of time to read and got acquainted with extensive vocabulary. Bichu confessed that he enjoyed finding out new words and exploring more about it. He would open this treasure chest of words, vocabulary and phrases whenever he sat down to write. Bichu Thirumala’s name would always be written in Gold as the creator of countless unforgettable songs in Malayalam.

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