We own a CD called Ambalanadayil which is a collection of Hindu Devotional Songs from Malayalam movies from the HMV Revival Series. In the revival series, HMV gets musicians to perform the music of the song and overlays the original voice over it. While the songs may have been recorded in poor quality originally, the revival series makes them sound new, without affecting the original music.
Songs in this collection are some of our favorites, like Harivarasanam, Narayanaya Namah and Chethi Mandaram Thulasi. During those times, when Madhu was a slim young man and Nazir’s hair was black, devotional music was traditional and they had the bhakti element to it.
Then at some point, music directors realized that, devotional songs could be made very trendy, peppy and shockingly disco like. In such songs traditional instruments were replaced with the synthesizer, guitar and the drum machine. One music director who kept on at it as if he did not get it right the first time was Vidyasagar. He started with Krishna Krishna (Millennium Stars), Confusion Theerkaname (Summer in Bethlehem), Pamba Ganapathi (Pattalam) and ended up with Harahara Shankara (Rasikan).
While various actors were invoking the blessings of Krishna, Shiva and Ganapathi, Mohanlal took it as a mission to make Lord Muruka appear before him. We still wonder why Muruka has not appeared before him after listening to Velmuruka Remix (Naran), Pazhani Mala Murukanu (Narasimham), and Thakilu Pukilu (Ravana Prabhu).
While such songs remain popular for a while and their shelf lives are short. We listen to such songs a few times, but then lose interest in it. Compared to that devotional songs composed the traditional way are perennial favorites and we are not talking about the songs from the Ambalanadayil era. Devotional songs from Sargam, and Kudumbasametham are in the most played list in our iPod. Even songs from new movies like Vadakkumnathan (Kalabham Tharaam), Sasneham Sumitra (Enthe Nee Kanna), Deenadayalu Rama (Arayannangalude Veedu) and Nandanam (Mauliyil Mayilpeeli) will be heard for a long time compared to their disco counterparts.