Quirky songs catch the ear

Songs are usually not written to be funny, they are written according to situations, and their quirkiness appeal to people, say composers and singers

Yesudas, with a thin beard and a long hat, had once stood in front of a camera and sung Oru pallu poya kelavi, kannil thellu suruma ezhuthi, madhura youvanam nedi, oru maarane veendum nedi. Which roughly translates to “an old toothless woman lined her eyes with kohl, got back her youth and won a man”.

Yesudas, the serious singer as we know him, takes his hands to his eyes and plays it out as an action song. The old black-and-white song from Kayamkulam Kochunni is still popular. So is the song Keladi Nee Enne Kettunna Kalathu from Doctor.

What is common to both these songs is the comic element in them. Quirky songs have always come out in Malayalam cinema, through the music, the lyrics, through the visualisations.

These days, there seems to be a lot more of it. Enne Thallendamma Njan Nannavoola from Oru Vadakkan Selfie came a little before Scene Contra from Premam.

Then came the Salsa song in Kunjiramayanam, the Vasoottan song in Jamna Pyari, the quirky songs in Double Barrel and a parippuvada song by actor Baburaj.

Not that it is a trend, musicians and singers tell you, it is just that situations in films may demand a funny song.

“Songs are not made with the intention of making them funny. I wouldn’t call it funny, I would call it quirky. Perhaps the song catches on because of this quirkiness,” says musician Prashant Pillai, who composed the songs of Double Barrel.

He was making the song Bum Attam with K.S. Krishnan alias Kichu — the actor who played Koya in Premam. They were jamming around, Kichu singing the song Prashant composed. “It was not made for the film (Double Barrel). But then Lijo — the director — dropped in and said he wanted it for the film.”

The situation in the film was of a vehicle breaking down in the middle of the road. The situation for the Salsa song in Kunjiramayanam had been of Salsa, a local brand of alcohol that could not be brought to one town, which the people believe is because of a curse.

“The song worked possibly because people can relate to it more, and since it is an easy tune, everyone could sing along,” says Sooraj Santhosh, one of the Masala Coffee singers who sang it. Simple tunes that can be sung along are easily accepted, feels Franco, who sang Vasoottan — a song in Thrissur slang — for Jamna Pyari.

It begins with Enthoonda kdave, enthootathu. It came easily to Franco, a Thrissurkaran who spoke most of those Thrissur words 30 times a day. “I believe we can notate the words in Thrissur slang. The way you say Enthootanithu can be made into musical notes.”

Gopi Sunder, who composed the song, is also half-Thrissur. “The song should be like the boy-next-door singing it. Franco the singer should go out of it.”

And funny songs work, because everyone loves to laugh, says Gopi. “Many from the older generation may not like the new songs. But the new generation enjoys both old and new songs.”

Which is why the Adoor Bhasi songs of the 60s and the Jagathy songs of the 90s are all still so popular. The melodies stand out, undoubtedly, but along with them, the quirky songs continue to reach out to people because people not only listen to enjoy but also to sing along.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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