Bichu Thirumala: The writer of dreams

Veteran poet and lyricist Bichu Thirumala had enchanted the Malayalam film audience with his splendid lines and vibrant imagery. From the sweet pangs of love in Panineer Chandrika and Aaayiram Kannumayi and the serene love of the mother in Olathumbathu to the celebration of youth in Oru Madhurakinavin, Bichu Thirumala’s pen has given life to myriad emotions and expressions.

His lines have stood the test of times as these songs are enjoyed by people of all generations. These songs never lose its charm and have surely gained immortality in the hearts of the music lovers. Bichu wrote songs for many talented musicians of all generations and claimed an unchallenged position in the Golden era of Malayalam film music.

Bichu began his musical journey in 1972. He is one of the lyricists who holds the credit for writing the greatest number of hits. Many recall him as a unique genius who possessed a special talent in magnificently creating verbal imagery, catering to the needs of the director and the composer.

He firmly believed that a song is not merely a group of rhyming words that does not make any sense. Instead, it should touch hearts by staying true to the emotions and close to the situations in the movie. Most of his hits were written after the tunes were composed. However, he made sure that the soul of the song isn’t lost.

His love songs were filled with incredible grace while the emotional songs brimmed with pathos. Even the fast numbers or the quirky hits weren’t filled with random, meaningless words; but with exciting lines that impressed the listeners.

It was in the 1970s, when stalwarts like Vayalar, P Bhaskaran and Sreekumaran Thambi ruled the Malayalam film songs, that young Bichu Thirumala made his debut. He was so passionate about writing that he didn’t miss an opportunity to work. His magical lines perfectly suited the tunes that were composed by the musicians. Soon, he became one of the most sought-after lyrists in Malayalam cinema. That was the time when he used to write songs for at least two movies a day.

All it took was a few minutes for him to write super hit songs like Ezhuswarangalum and Poonkattinodum Kilikalodum.

Bichu Thirumala was cool even when legendary musician AR Rahman composed one of the most complex tunes for Padakali Chandi Chankari. Most people admire this song for being a super-fast number that is filled with rhyming words or tongue twisters. However, if you forget the tune and listen to just the lyrics, you would be surprised to know that it is an incredible devotional song that praises the Goddess using her multiple synonyms.

The legendary lyricist had a unique talent in imbibing the tune within a few seconds.

Bichu had written the lines for the songs in the movie Njan Ninne Premikkunnu that was released in 1975. These songs were composed by MS Baburaj. When Bichu handed over the lyrics of the song Dhoomam Dhoomananda Lahari, Baburaj had many doubts in his mind. The tune was composed hastily and the lines too were written pretty quickly. So, Baburaj didn’t get enough time to record the tune. Seeing his confusion, Bichu consoled Baburaj and effortlessly hummed the lines that perfectly matched the tune. A surprised Baburaj then asked Bichu to sing that song for the movie. That is how Bichu became a singer by singing the song that he had written along with Brahmanadan, Kamal Haasan and Ambili.

By the end of the 1970s Bichu Thirumala was an unavoidable part of the Malayalam cinema industry. He created super hits with all the music composers of that time. Filmmakers even believed that their movies would become blockbusters if Bichu wrote the songs. Meanwhile, Bichu continued to thrill the music lovers in the 1980s and 90s too. While the song Aalipazham Perukkam perfectly captured the innocence of the childhood, Nizhalayi Ozuki Varum from a horror movie succeeded in sending a chill down the spines of the listeners. Olathumbathu Irunnu Oonjaladum is still considered one of the best songs that amazingly expresses motherly love.

Bichu was constant learner who had tried to incorporate new and modern phrases in his songs. Ragendu Kiranangal, Mainagam and Pazham Tamil Pattizhayum captured the imagination of the listeners with its mesmerizing lines.

Meanwhile, Mamangam Palakuri Kondadi celebrates the rich heritage of the Kerala society. Besides, he wrote lines for hundreds of songs that were composed for the radio and devotional songs too. Bichu Thirumala will not be remembered as the lyrist who wrote the most number of songs in Malayalam but as the writer of the most beautiful and unforgettable ones.

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