Sunday, May 11, 2008

Malayalam Cinema: Manjil Virinja Pookkal and melody maker Jerry Amaldev

Remember the 1980 hit movie Manjil Virinja Pookkal (Flowers that bloomed in the snow)? It was on TV on Friday and I sat down with great anticipation to watch it once more.

Frankly, it was a disappointment. The dated dress and hairstyle seemed out of place. Then there was the hero Shankar going around polluting the pristine locale with dark emission from a diesel Jeep and littering the place with wrappers of toffees to which the character he portrayed seemed addicted for no particular reason. But to be fair, the standards were different three decades back. The redeeming features of the movie on the revisit were the impact of Poornima Jayaram and the enchanting melodies.

The producer, Navodaya Appachan took the bold and historic step of introducing four new faces in Manjil Virinja Pookkal – Shankar, Poornima Jayaram, Mohanlal as the villain and Jerry Amaldev as music director. Shankar fizzled out. Poornima Jayaram left the scene after her marriage. Mohanlal of course became a mega star.

But Jerry Amaldev was the first among them to take off. In his debut year he won the State Award for the best music director. That was followed by a series of movies in which almost every song was a hit. People loved them, looked forward eagerly for more.

Jerry had arrived on the cinema scene eminently qualified. He had a Bachelors in Music, and Masters in Composition from Cornell University. He taught music in Queens College, New York, Stella Maris College and American International School in Chennai. And he had done five years of work under the maestro Naushad.

The great creations of this music genius include Mizhiyoram, Manjani kompil, Ayiram kannumai, Alorungi arangorungi, Kannodu kannoram nee kani malar alle. There are many more. Even as his melodies were making the waves Jerry Amaldev suddenly fell from grace. The reason? I believe that an innocent comment by him about a great singer was misunderstood. It is all so sad.

Now Jerry is the music master at Choice School, Cochin. He also composes Christian devotional songs. He was once in a seminary studying for priesthood before realizing that music was his call.

Let us hope that Jerry would make a comeback to cinema music.


Also see:

Malayalam songs: Lyrics

Malayalam cinema: Random thoughts

A Malayalam cinema and its lyrics.


SUSAN said...

yes every hit movie looks out of place few years later....its fornthe current generation to see, what we saw in outr teens....i remember wondering how my parents sat through prem nazeer, ummer and the like....!!!

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you susan for the comment. You are right. Most movies become dated. But there are timeless ones too. In Malayalam, 'Chemmeen' for instance.