Celebrating 80 years of melodic brilliance: The ever-shining full moon of music

Jayachandran. Photo: Manorama

We all have our cherished pursuits, and for legendary musician P Jayachandran, it's his soulful renditions. Even as he celebrates his 80th birthday, he continues to enchant music connoisseurs with his vocal delivery's grace and precision.

This graceful persona has defined his musical journey spanning 58 years. Perhaps the rare privilege of such a legacy has only been shared by Brahmanandan and G Venugopal. What's even more remarkable is that, in an era often marked by concerns about the diminishing quality of songs, Jayachandran consistently produces more compositions in this genre, keeping music enthusiasts connected with his timeless artistry.

A prodigious talent, Jayachandran indeed stunned audiences with his return to playback singing after a decades-long hiatus. Even better, he has continued the feat for over the next two decades till now.

The Vidyasagar intervention
In the film ‘Niram’, helmed by Kamal, Vidyasagar bestowed a fresh dimension to Jayachandran's voice. The song ‘Prayam Nammil Moham Nalki...’ penned by Bichu Thirumala became a musical sensation, transcending Jayachandran's age, which was a mere 55 when he rendered the song. Remarkably, at 80, he continues to captivate us with the same enchanting voice.

Vidyasagar, instrumental in Jayachandran's comeback, paved the way for numerous future hits. Some of the most beautiful melodies brought to life through Vidyasagar include ‘Poove Poove Palapoove...’ (Devadoothan; written by Kaithapram), ‘Araarum Kanaathe’ (Chandrolsavam; written by Gireesh Puthencherry), ‘Kannil Kashithumbakal’ (Dreams; written by Gireesh Puthencherry), ‘Marannittumenthino...’ (Randaam Bhavam; written by Gireesh Puthencherry), ‘Enthe Onnum Mindeelaa...’ (Gramaphone; written by Gireesh Puthencherry), ‘Alilakkavila Thinkale Ninne Njan....’ (Pattalam; written by Gireesh Puthencherry), ‘Azhakkadalinte Angekarayilaay..’ (Chanthupottu; written by Vayalar Sarath Chanddra Varma), ‘Malarvakakombath..’ (Ennum Eppozhum; written by Rafeeq Ahmed), and more.

By the musical river’s banks
In the movie ‘Thilakkam’, it was the Kaithapram brothers who presented us with the mellifluous tones of Jayachandran through the song ‘Neeyoru Puzhayaay’. Kaithapram Vishwanathan's musical expression, complemented by the poetic verses of his elder brother Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothir, found a perfect heartbeat in Jayachandran's soothing voice.

In the contemporary era, a select collection of quality songs written by Kaithapram for Jayachandran has found resonance through a group of modern music composers. This compilation includes numerous enchanting melodies, such as ‘Nee Manimukilaadakal’ (Vellithira; composed by Alphons Joseph), ‘Aaru Paranju’ (Pulivaal Kalyanam; composed by Benny Ignatius), ‘Kallayikadavathe...’ (Perumazhakkalam; composed by M Jayachandran), ‘Vattayila Panthalitt...’, ‘Onnu Thodaanullil...’ (Yathrakkarude Shradhakku; composed by Johnson), ‘Swayamvara Chandrike...’ (Chronic Bachelor; composed by Deepak Dev), ‘Azhake Kanmaniye...’ (Kasthooriman; composed by Ouseppachan), and more.

During this period, Jayachandran, with his mellifluous voice, has also blessed us with renditions that are not just beautiful but also uniquely characteristic of the enchanting beauty of Kerala and its cultural ethos. One such notable song that continues to resonate with audiences is ‘Kera Nirakal Adum’ (Film: Jalolsavom), with lyrics penned by Beeyar Prasad and the composition of Alphonse Joseph. And when he sang ‘Njanoru Malayali’ (I am a Malayali), it evoked a sense of unity and belonging among Keralites. The stirring song from the film ‘Jilebi’, which celebrates the essence of being a Malayali, is written by East Coast Vijayan and composed by Bijibal.

Similarly, with his heartfelt rendition of ‘Poorangalude Pooramulloru’ in the film ‘Punyalan Agarbattis’, Jayachandran brings to life the vibrant spirit of the Thrissur Pooram and the city’s glorious cultural tradition. The rendering, rich in bhava, captures the hearts of listeners and instills a sense of pride and admiration for the cultural legacy of the city. This song too was composed by Bijibal, while the lyrics were written by Santosh Varma.

Another song sung by him ‘Mannappom Chuttukalikkana Kalam’ (lyrics by B K Harinarayanan and music by Ratheesh Vega) nostalgically reflects on the innocence and joy of childhood.

Songs serve as a timeless ode to love
Despite the ever-evolving musical landscape of the 21st century, Jayachandran, with his timeless voice and emotive renditions, continues to captivate listeners with romantic melodies that evoke deep feelings of love and passion. For instance, the song ‘Premikumbol Neeyum Njanum’, penned by Rafeeq Ahmed and composed by Bijibal in the film ‘Salt N’ Pepper’, has a timeless appeal and makes it linger in the memory long after it’s heard. And the list of songs, thanks to their emotive depth and evocative melody, that serve as a timeless testament to the power of love to enrich and inspire our lives, is endless…’Ariyathee, Ariyathee…(Ravanaprabhu; Girish Puthenchery, Suresh Peters), ‘Viral total viriyunna.. (Phantom; Girish Puthenchery, Deva), ‘Kannil kannil minnum… (Gourisankaram; Girish Puthenchery, M Jayachandran), Enthinennariyilla…(My Boss; East Coast Vijayan, M Jayachandran), Olajnalikuruvi…(1983; B K Harinarayanan, Gopi Sundar) and the like.

Jayachandran-Raveendran Master combo
Jayachandran’s close friendship with Raveendran Master dates back to the period before his entry into the film field. However, for unknown reasons, this combo came together only for a handful of songs. However, their combined talent produced some of the most cherished songs in the industry– ‘Alilataliyumaay…(Mizhirandilum; lyrics – Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma) , ‘Aarum aarum kanathe chundathe … (Nandanam; lyrics – Girish Puthenchery), that top Jayachandran’s vast and rich repository of songs.

The new age of ‘bhavas
In the pallavi of the song ‘Enthinennariyilla’ from the film 'My Boss', the same word is repeated twice. After the first ‘Enthinennariyilla’ Jayachandran keeps an unusual lip control on the second occasion, which is eternally delectable.

It is from this perfecter of melody that we hear the curious number ‘Podimeesha Mulakkana Kalam...' (film: Pa Va.; written by Santhosh Varma, music by Anand Madhusoodanan). We keep enjoying ‘Idanenjiloru Bandadi Melam’ along with that song. This verve of music can be experienced with the songs ‘Arodum aararodum’ (Film 'Bhaiyya Bhaiyya', written by Murugan Kattakada), and 'Alilakkavile...' both crafted by Vidyasagar.

 The song ‘Peythalinja Nimisham’ (Captain’ B K Harinarayanan, Gopi Sundar) also leaves the audience spellbound. Jayachandran himself has rated the song ‘Pattupetteelannu Nammal' (Nidheesh Nateri, Vishwajith) in the same movie, as one of the rarest songs in his career.

Jayachandran has rendered the total beauty of the song 'Ponnushassenum Neeraaduvan Varumi...,' written by ONV and composed by Ramesh Narayanan in the movie 'Meghamalhar', in a single word 'Soundaryatheertha Kadavil'.

Even if he had not sung a single song after crossing the 55-year age mark, Jayachandran, with his mesmerizing voice and unforgettable melodies, would have held a special place in the hearts of music lovers. However, the new age and the latest songs that he rendered continue to bless him as a voice that generations will cherish, irrespective of the times.

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