Anilkumar PU was a young student at the Kakatiya University in Warangal when he accepted asceticism from an aghori (ascetic). Later, he wandered in the exalted ecstasy of Zen Buddhism for some time before returning home and building an ashram in his plot. Swami Satyananda Saraswati who is the head of the ashram in Chenkottukonam told the youngster, “You will, one day, set fire to this.” The sage’s prediction became true when Anil himself set his ashram on fire and bid adieu to his ascetic life. By that time, Anil was consumed by the passionate fire of poetry and expressed himself in verses. Anil couldn’t help but turn to poetry in life as he had always been inspired by the iconic spiritual leader Sree Narayana Guru who was also a great poet.
From where it all began
Anil Panachooran’s father Udayabanu’s ancestral home is at Panachoor near Puthupally in Kayamkulam. Sree Narayana Guru had lived here to learn Sanskrit from Kammapally Ramanpillai Asan. Anil who was born here grew up in Bombay where his father worked. After completing class two, Anil came back to Kerala to continue his studies here. He stayed at his mother’s ancestral home for some time before moving back to Kayamakulam.
He completed his pre degree from a parallel college. During then, Anil went to North India to join his father. It was these journeys, experiences and extensive reading that had shaped the talented poet in Anil. He wanted to enroll for BA Malayalam course after pre degree. However, his father didn’t allow. Udayabanu then enrolled his son for BCom at Nangyakulangara TKMM College. Anil soon became an active member of SFI at college. His poems were filled with the spirit of revolution.
The turning point
The song ‘Chora Veena Mannil Ninnuyarnnu Vanna Poomaram’ that had become extremely popular in Kerala is a fine example of Anil’s penchant for celebrating revolution through beautiful verses.
Poems like Valayil Veena Kilikal, Surabi and Pranayakalam written by Anil Panachooran became the anthems of the campuses in Kerala. Anil entered the Malayalam cinema industry when one of his poems was included by noted director Jayaraj in his acclaimed movie Makalkku. It was Anil’s close friend screenwriter M Sindhuraj who introduced the former to film maker Lal Jose.
Anil thrilled the music lovers by penning ‘Chora Veena Mannil Ninnum Uyarnnuvanna Poomaram’ in the super hit movie Arabikkatha. It was for the first time that a revolutionary song had become a rage in Kerala after the iconic songs of KPAC.
Why Anil refrained from reciting Chora Veena Mannil
‘Chora Veena Mannil’ was the ring tone in the mobile phones of most left leaders when Arabikkatah was released. However, after some time, Anil declared that he would never recite this poem as a protest against the politically motivated murders that happened in Kannur. “This poem has the potential to influence people. I decided not to recite it in public anymore to not make people misunderstand that I am motivating to shed blood for the sake of revolution,” he explained his decision in an interview.
Anil who wrote romantic poems and verses that had great depth, however, wrote simple yet beautiful lines for the movies that could melt the hearts. Keralites loved his meaningful lines that felt like honey to the ears. The song ‘Thirike Njan Varumenna Vartha Kelkanayi’ from Arabikkatha had a magical feeling of nostalgia and longing.
Taking the romance route
‘Vyathasthanam Oru Barbaram Balane’ from Katha Parayumbo became instant hit, catapulting Anil into popularity. Meanwhile, the romantic songs Arikathayaro from Body Guard and Neeyam Thanalinu Thazhe from Cocktail earned him countless fans. But, what broke all records was the quirky fast number ‘Jimikki Kammal’ from Lal Jose’s Velipadinte Pusthakam. This song became popular all over the world and was played on loop in television and radio channels even in foreign countries. ‘Annarakanna Va’, ‘Kuzhaloothum Poonthennale’ (Bramaram), ‘Cheruthinkal Thoni’ (Swa.Le), ‘Othorumichoru Gaanam Padan’ (Makante Achan), ‘Entadukke Vannadukkum’, ‘ Panchara Chiri Kondu’ and ‘Kunjade Kurmbanade’ (Marykundoru Kunjadu), ‘Chembarathi Kammalittu’ (Manikyakallu), ‘Chenthamara Theno’ (916) and ‘Oru Kodi Tharanagale’ (Vikramadityan) are some of Anil Panachooran’s super hit film songs.
The poet with social responsibility
Anil who had penned the lines for more than 150 songs had also acted in some of them.
Anil Panachooran who had called himself a true communist and a believer in God had always emphasized that a poet has social responsibility. Even as he walks away from countless unwritten verses, Anil had gifted a spring of poems and songs that would flourish in the hearts of Malayali music and poetry lovers.