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Malayalam, Malayalam Film & Malayalam Songs - An Overview

Malayalam 

Malayalam is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Mahe. It is spoken by 35.9 million people. Malayalam is also spoken in the Nilgiris district, Kanyakumari district and Coimbatore of Tamil Nadu, Dakshina Kannada, Bangalore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. Overseas it is also used by a large population of Indian expatriates living around the globe in the Middle East, North America, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Europe.

Malayalam most likely originated from ancient Tamil in the 6th century, of which Modern Tamil was also derived. An alternative theory proposes a split in even more ancient times. In either case, Malayalam was heavily Sanskritised through the ages and today over eighty percent of the words of modern Malayalam are from pure Sanskrit. Before Malayalam came into being, Old Tamil was used in literature and courts of a region called Tamilakam, a famous example being Silappatikaram. While Dravidian Tamil used to be the ruling language of the Chera Dynasty Ai and Pandyan kingdoms. Sanskrit/Prakrit derived Buddhist Pali Language and the Jain Kalpasutra were known to Keralites from 500 BC. The Grantha Bhasha or Sanskrit mixed Tamil which was written in Grantha Script (Arya Ezhuthu) was used by Brahmins residing in Tamil areas. The Dravidian component of Malayalam-Tamil has words similar to ancient Sangam Literature.

During the Later Chera dynasty the inscriptions included some lines from Grantha Bhasha in Grantha Script along with Malayalam-Tamil written in Vattezhuttu. A form of Grantha Bhasha, a Sanskrit mixed Tamil closely resembling the later Malayalam was used to write books by Brahmins from Tulunadu residing in Kerala in the second Millennium. The oldest literature works in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated certainly to the 11th century, perhaps to the 9th century. For cultural purposes Malayalam and Sanskrit formed a language known as Manipravalam, where both languages were used in an alternating style. Malayalam is the only among the major Dravidian languages without diglossia. This means, that the Malayalam which is spoken doesn't differ from the written variant, while the Kannada and Tamil languages use a classical type for the latter.


Malayalam Film Industry (Mollywood)

Cinema of Kerala or Malayalam cinema or Mollywood refers to the film industry in the state of Kerala, in India, which makes films in the Malayalam language. Malayalam movies typically portray social or family issues and are considered more realistic and highbrow than Bollywood movies. In spite of the movies' relatively low budgets, Malayalam cinema has pioneered various technical, thematic and production techniques among films in India. The first 3-D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam. The first CinemaScope film produced in South India was Thacholi Ambu (1978).

The first film to be made in Malayalam was Vigathakumaran, which was released in 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel. The first talkie in Malayalam was Balan, released in 1938.

The first film (silent movie, 1928)

The first film to be made in Malayalam was Vigathakumaran, which was released in 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, and for this work he is credited as the father of Malayalam cinema. The shooting of the first Malayalam film, the silent movie Vigathakumaran, was started in 1928; the film was released in Trivandrum Capital Theatre on November 7, 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, a businessman with no prior film experience. Daniel founded the first film studio, 'The Travancore National Pictures Limited' in Kerala.

The second film, Marthanda Varma, based on a novel by C. V. Raman Pillai, was produced by R. Sundar Raj in 1933. However, it became stranded in a legal battle over copyright issues and the court ordered the confiscation of the prints. As a result, the second movie's exhibition lasted only four days.

The first talkie (1938)

The first talkie in Malayalam was Balan, released in 1938. It was directed by S. Nottani with a screenplay and songs written by Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai. It was produced at Chennai (then Madras) in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Malayalam films continued to be made mainly by Tamil producers until 1947, when the first major film studio, Udaya, was established in Kerala, in Alleppey (Alappuzha) by Kunchacko, who earned fame as a film producer and director.

1950s

Malayalam cinema has always taken its themes from relevant social issues and has been interwoven with material from literature, drama, and politics since its inception. One such film, Jeevitha Nouka (1951), was a musical drama which spoke about the problems in a joint family. This movie became very popular and was probably the first "super hit" of Malayalam cinema. However, this movie's success was bittersweet. Although its success accelerated Malayalam movie-making, films that were produced after Jeevitha Nouka closely mimicked its structure, hoping to find some sort of "success formula", thus hampering creativity for a long time. Nevertheless, this time was hailed as "the period of giants" in Malayalam film industry, due to the work of film stars Sathyan and Prem Nazir.

In 1954, the film Neelakuyil captured national interest by winning the President's silver medal. Scripted by the well-known Malayalam novelist Uroob, and directed by P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat, it is often considered the first authentic Malayali film. Another notable production was Newspaper Boy (1955), which contained elements of Italian neorealism. This film is notable as the product of a group of amateur college filmmakers. It told the story of a printing press employee and his family being stricken with extreme poverty.

1970s

The 70s saw the emergence of a new wave of cinema in Malayalam. The growth of film society movement in Kerala introduced the works of the French and Italian New Wave directors to the discerning Malayali film enthusiasts. Adoor Gopalakrishnan's first film, Swayamvaram (1972), brought Malayalam cinema to the international film arena. In 1973 M. T. Vasudevan Nair who was by then recognized as an important author in Malayalam, directed his first film Nirmalyam, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. G. Aravindan followed Adoor's lead with his Uttarayanam in 1974. K. P. Kumaran's Adhithi (1974) was another film which was acclaimed by the critics. John Abraham, K. R. Mohanan, K. G. George, and G. S. Panikkar were products of the Pune Film Institute who made significant contributions.

During the late 1970s, some young artists started seeing Malayalam cinema as a medium of expression and thought of it as a tool to revitalize society. A noted director, Aravindan was famous in Kerala as a cartoonist before he started making films. His important movies include Kanchana Seeta (1977), Thampu (1978), Kummatty (1979), Chidambaram (1985), Oridathu (1986), and Vasthuhara (1990).

1980s

Adoor Gopalakrishnan made Elippathayam in 1981. This movie was widely acclaimed and won the British Film Institute award. His other movies include Mukhamukham (1984), Anantharam (1987) Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1994), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkuthu (2003), I.V. Sasi the path breaker who has directed more than 131 odd films over a span of 34 years made "Kanamarayathu" (1984), Padmarajan made his early works in this period including the movie Koodevide? (1983).

P. A. Backer and Bharathan are other names worth mentioning.

Most critics and audiences[6] consider this period the golden age of Malayalam cinema. The Malayalam cinema of this period was characterised by detailed screenplays dealing with everyday life with a lucid narration of plot intermingling with humour and melancholy. This was aided by brilliant cinematography and lighting as in motion pictures like Perumthachan (1990), directed by Ajayan with Santosh Sivan as the cinematographer. These films are also remembered for their warm background music by composers like Johnson, as in the motion picture Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986) by Padmarajan. The golden age saw big actors like Mammootty, Mohanlal, etc.

Many of the movies released during this time narrowed the gap between art cinema and commercial cinema in the Malayalam film industry, as in Mrigaya starring Mammootty (1989, directed by I.V. Sasi and written by Lohithadas), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989), starring Mammootty,Kireedam (1989, directed by Sibi Malayil, starring Mohanlal and written by Lohithadas), Mathilukal starring Mammootty (1989, directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan), Amaram starring Mammootty (1991, directed by Bharathan), Kakkothikkavile Appooppan Thaadikal (1988, directed by Kamal) and Sargam (1992, directed by Hariharan).

The period had an abundance of movies rich in creative humour from directors like Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikkad and Kamal. The era also saw well-crafted comedy by the Duo Siddique-Lal's, Ramji Rao Speaking (1989) and In Harihar Nagar (1990). The internationally acclaimed Piravi (1989) by Shaji N. Karun was the first Malayalam film to win the Caméra d'Or-Mention at the Cannes Film Festival. Other notable contributions of this period include His Highness Abdullah (1990) directed by Sibi Malayil, Abhayam (1991) directed by Santosh Sivan, and the motion picture Daisy (1988) an expressive depiction of separation and longing set in a boarding school, directed by Prathap K. Pothan.

1990s

Some examples are Mathilukal (1990) directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Bharatham (1991) by Sibi Malayil, Ulladakkam (1991) directed by Kamal, Kilukkam (1991) directed by Priyadarshan, Kamaladalam (1992) by Sibi Malayil, Vidheyan (1993) by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Devaasuram (1993) by I. V. Sasi, Manichithrathazhu (1993) by Fazil, Ponthan Mada (1993) by T. V. Chandran, and Desadanam (1997) by Jayaraaj. Swaham (1994), directed by Shaji N. Karun, was the second Malayalam film entry in the Cannes International Film Festival, where it was a nominee for the Palme d'Or. Murali Nair's Marana Simhasanam later won the Caméra d'Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Guru (1997) directed by Rajiv Anchal was chosen as India's official entry to the Oscars to be considered for nomination in the Best Foreign Film category for that year, making it the first and last film in Malayalam, so far, to be chosen for Oscar nomination.

Early Mid 2000s

Slapstick comedy was the predominant theme in the films of this era. C.I.D. Moosa (2003) by Johny Antony, Meesa Madhavan (2002) by Lal Jose and Kunjikoonan (2002) directed by Sasi Shanker are examples. Sequels to a number of successful films were made. These include blockbuster hit Raavanaprabhu (Devaasuram) and the sequels to the 80s hit movie Oru CBI Diarykurippu, named Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005), which were well received. Many movies during the early 2000s were of low quality. Adding to this crisis, a parallel culture of adult-content movies named "Shakeela films" emerged to be the best grossers for more than a year. Malayalam cinema saw a rare dearth of talent. At the same time, Tamil movies saw a surge of new talent in scriptwriters, directors and actors. This resulted in increased popularity of Tamil and Hindi movies in Kerala. Several film theatres were closed in rural Kerala and were converted to marriage halls. But by the last of year 2003, it was a happy season for the industry.

Late 2000s

Malayalam movies saw a comeback in 2005. New directors such as Lal Jose, Roshan Andrews, Blessy and Anwar Rasheed brought back original scripts to Malayalam movies. Notable movies of this era are Kaazhcha, Udayananu Tharam, Notebook, Classmates, Keerthi Chakra, Vinodayathra, Rajamanikyam, Arabikkatha, and Kadha Parayumbol. About half of Malayalam movies are remade into other languages. This era has seen new promising actors like Dileep, Kunchako Boban, Prithviraj, Jayasurya, and Indrajith, along with stalwarts Mammooty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Jayaram.


Malayalam cinema has pioneered various technical, thematic and production techniques among films in India and South India. Such films include:

    * Marthanda Varma (1933): The first Indian historical drama film. The film was based on the life of Marthanda Varma, the Maharajah of the Indian princely state of Travancore in the mid 18th century. Marthanda Varma was film adaptation of a novel in the same name by C. V. Raman Pillai, making it one of the first Indian film adaptations from literature other than the puranas.
    * Newspaper Boy (1955): India's first neorealistic film. The film drew its inspiration from Italian neorealism and was released a few months before Satyajit Ray's debut film Pather Panchali, another neo-realistic film.[8]
    * Thacholi Ambu (1978): South India's first CinemaScope film.
    * Padayottam (1982): India's first indigenously produced 70 mm film.
    * My Dear Kuttichathan (1984): India's first 3-D film.
    * Amma Ariyan (1986): The first film made in India with money collected from the public. The film was produced by Odessa Collective, founded by the director of the film John Abraham and friends. The fund was raised by collecting donations and screening Charlie Chaplin's film The Kid.
    * O'Faby (1993): India's first live-action/animation hybrid film.
    * Moonnamathoral (2006): First Indian film to be shot and distributed in digital format.


Malayalam Music

Film music, which refers to playback singing in the context of Indian music, forms the most important canon of popular music in India. Film music of Kerala in particular is the most popular form of music in the state. Before Malayalam cinema and Malayalam film music developed, the Keralites eagerly followed Tamil and Hindi film songs and that habit has stayed with them till now. The history of Malayalam film songs begin with the 1948 film Nirmala. The film's music director was P.S. Divakar and the songs were sung by P. Leela, T. K. Govinda Rao, Vasudeva Kurup, C. K. Raghavan, Sarojini Menon and Vimala B. Varma, who is credited as the first playback singer of Malayalam cinema.

The main trend in the early years was to use the tune of hit Hindi or Tamil songs in Malayalam songs. This trend was changed in the early 1950s by the arrival of a number of poets and musicians to the Malayalam music scene. People who stormed into the Malayalam film music industry in the 1950s include musicians like V. Dakshinamurthy (1950), K. Raghavan (1954), G. Devarajan (1955) and M.S. Babu Raj (1957) and lyricists like P. Bhaskaran (1950), O.N.V. Kurup (1955) and Vayalar Rama Varma (1956). They are attributed with shaping Malayalam film music stream and giving it its own identity.

Major playback singers of that time were Kamukara Purushothaman, K.P. Udayabhanu, A.M. Raja, P. Leela, Santha P. Nair, P. Susheela and S. Janaki. Many of these singers like A.M. Raja, P. Susheela and Janaki were not Malayalis and their pronunciation was not perfect. Despite that, these singers received high popularity throughout Kerala. In later years many non-Malayalis like Manna Dey, Talat Mehmood, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and S.P. Balasubramaniam sang for Malayalam films. This trend was also found among music directors to an extent, with outside musicians like Naushad, Usha Khanna, Salil Chaudhary, Bombay Ravi and Ilaya Raja.

K.J. Yesudas, who debuted in 1961, virtually revolutionised the Malayalam film music industry and became the most popular Malayalam singer ever. He became equally popular with classical music audience and people who patronised film music. He, along with P. Jayachandran, gave a major facelift to Malayalam playback singing in the 1960s and 1970s. Malayalam film music also received heavy contributions from musicians like Johnson, M. G. Radhakrishnan, Raveendran, S. P. Venkitesh and Ouseppachan, lyricists like Sreekumaran Thampy, Yusuf Ali Kechery, and Kaithaprom Damodaran Namboodiri, and singers like M. G. Sreekumar, G. Venugopal, K. S. Chithra and Sujatha Mohan. A notable aspect in the later years was the extensive of classical Carnatic music in many film songs of the later 1980s and early 1990s. Interestingly, that particular period is also considered the peak time of Malayalam cinema itself and is quite widely known as the Golden Age of Malayalam cinema, a period in which the difference between art films and popular films was least felt. Similarly, classical Carnatic music was heavily used in several popular film songs, most notably those in films like Chithram (1988), His Highness Abdullah (1990), Bharatham (1991), Sargam (1992) and Sopanam (1993).

At present, the major players in the scene are young talents like musicians M. Jayachandran, Deepak Dev, Alphonse, Jassie Gift, Biji Pal, Shyam Dharman and Shaan Rahman; lyricists late Gireesh Puthanchery, Vayalar Sarath and Anil Panachooran, and singers Madhu Balakrishnan, Afsal, Vidhu Pratap, Franco, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Manjari, Gayathri and Jyotsna, along with stalwarts in the field.

The national award winning music directors of Malayalam cinema are Johnson (1994, 1995) and Bombay Ravi (1995). The 1995 National Award that Johnson received for film score of Sukrutham (1994) was the only instance in the history of the award in which the awardee composed the film soundtrack rather than songs. He shared that award with Bombay Ravi who received the award for composing songs for the same film. The lyricists who have won the national award are Vayalar Ramavarma (1973), O. N. V. Kurup (1989) and Yusuf Ali Kechery (2001). The male singers who got national award are K. J. Yesudas (1973, 1974, 1988, 1992, 1994), P. Jayachandran (1986) and M. G. Sreekumar (1991, 2000). Yesudas has won two more national awards for singing in Hindi (1977) and Telugu (1983) films, which makes him the person who has won the largest number of National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer with 7 awards, closely trailed by S. P. Balasubramaniam with 6 awards. The female singers who have won the award are S. Janaki (1981) and K. S. Chithra (1987, 1989). Chitra had also won the award for Tamil (1986, 1997, 2005) and Hindi (1998) film songs, which makes her the person with the largest number of National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer wins with 6 awards, closely trailed by P. Susheela with 5 awards.

About This Site

Evergreen Malayalam Song will make available for free the hit songs of Malayalam Film Industry. Its a Malayalam Online listing of malayalam songs with informations and lyrics of the song. You can find Musicians, Lyricist, Movie name, Singers, Raga used and other relevant infoarmation related to each song. You can watch the malayalam film song also on this site.

The site also includes additional informations such as profiles (Biodata) of malayalam playback singers, more details about films released in malayalam. Malayalam online film, movie songs has a strong customer base who frequently visit as for listening and watching these famous malayalam songs. malayalam mp3 downloads for free is available for songs. We also try to update the site with latest movie news, and new songs as it get released.




Evergreen Malayalam Song will make available for free the hit songs of Malayalam Film Industry. Its a Malayalam Online listing of malayalam songs with informations and lyrics of the song. You can find Musicians, Lyricist, Movie name, Singers, Raga used and other relevant infoarmation related to each song. You can watch the malayalam film song also on this site.

The site also includes additional informations such as profiles (Biodata) of malayalam playback singers, more details about films released in malayalam. Malayalam online film, movie songs has a strong customer base who frequently visit as for listening and watching these famous malayalam songs. malayalam mp3 downloads for free is available for songs. We also try to update the site with latest movie news, and new songs as it get released.