Five decades after ONV Kurup, a professor from the Maharaja’s College entered the world of films, writing songs, another professor from the college is following his footsteps. Madhu Vasudevan, an assistant professor from the Department of Hindi has penned three songs for director Kamal’s Nadan, that is running successfully in theatres.
“Nadan is a story about a drama maniac, and Kamal wanted songs in the mould of old KPAC classics,” says Madhu. Growing up listening to songs from plays and classical music, it was a familiar territory for the professor. “Still the challenge was to give the songs its own identity and not to make some parody of the old songs,” he says.
“I made sure the diction of the songs resembled the old style. It is the craft that makes the songs different. All three songs have a pervading feeling of nostalgia which people can easily relate to,” the professor explains.
Madhu, in fact, is no stranger to the world of drama. “My father had training in carnatic music and had worked for the plays of that period,” he says. Later his eldest brother also developed a deep passion for theatre and spent a lot of time and money for it. “He filled his house with articles from plays and he was a bit like the hero of the film played by Jayaram. And I wrote the song ‘Sargavedikale..’ for my brother,” says the lyricist.
‘Ottayku padunna poomkuyile.., another song of the film is inspired by the life of Vaikom Vijayalakshmi, the singer, and the song deals with themes like loneliness and blindness, he says. ‘Moolivarunna Mulamkattil..’, a song in Khawali style is on the hallucinations of the hero.
“I don’t want people to have a notion that the lines were penned by a new lyricist,” Madhu says. “I would like people to listen to them as songs by ONV or Vayalar, the masters of these kinds of songs. To me the songs were a re-creation rather than a creation,” he says.
Madhu developed his taste in music and literature from his home itself. “My father and brothers had the taste and it was natural for me to develop a passion for music and songs,” he says. But as a school boy he was more into painting rather than music. Making portraits were his pastime then. It was during his college days at the Alapuzha SD College he got interested in music, literature and poetry.
Passionate about classical music and occasionally trying out poetry, Madhu never dreamt of films as his destiny. “I had a collection of unpublished poems called Love in Metro which my friends in films saw, and they found my style of writing quite cinematic,” he says. And that led the professor to his first movie Thiruvambadi Thampan, directed by M Padmakumar.
“They wanted me to pen one song for the film. Eventually I wrote three.” he says. Composed by Ousepachan, the songs made a good impact. “One of the songs, ‘Aranu Njan..’ hit the top one spot on television,” he remembers. After Reporter and Karmayodha, Nadan is the fourth film of Madhu.
Now a confident lyricist, Madhu still says teaching is his first preference. “Also, I write quite fast” he says. “So I don’t have to spend days away from the college for a film,” he says. He remembered with a smile how swiftly he wrote ‘Sargavedikale..’ for Nadan. “Coming back to home, I asked my wife for a cup of tea and sat down at my table with a pen and paper. And by the time she came with the tea, the song was done.”
Madhu thinks film songs have a lot of scope for improvement. “Over the years the aesthetics of our films have changed, the technical aspects changed and even the music evolved. It is a pity that the lyricists are stuck to some old conventions,” he says. “Even the lyrics in the new generation films use words and styles that are decades old. And people are fed up with gimmicks. What the young generation needs is a simple, meaningful style that they can understand and relate to,” says a confident professor who daily spent hours with the youth.
Madhu Vasudevan is also a former student of Maharaja’s college who took his post graduation from there and later pursued his PhD from CUSAT. The DC books has published seven of his books of which Sangeetharthamu got the Sahitya Academy award for the best ‘Vaijananika Gradham’ in 2009.
The professor is all set to publish Love in Metro, a collection of poems next year and has a series of poetry being published in Kalakaumudi on city life.