The real artists behind 'Aavesham’s Ranga reel song

YouTube and Instagram are now flooded with videos of people swaying to the moving devotional track a la FaFaa.
A scene from Fahadh Faasil movie ' 'Aavesham'
A scene from Fahadh Faasil movie ' 'Aavesham'

KOCHI: “Karinkali alle Kodungalloor vazhana pennalu

Koduvaleduth chudu Darika chorayil neeradu

…Kali thulliya Kaali than kaalil thanka ponchilambu

Thudi kottiya Paanante paattil Amme nee adangu"

It’s unlikely any Malayali who uses social media has not come across these lines, all thanks to Fahadh Faasil’s ‘Ranga reel’ scene from the film Aavesham.

YouTube and Instagram are now flooded with videos of people swaying to the moving devotional track a la FaFaa.

Quick research shows that this once used to be a trend on TikTok. Curiosity eventually took us to Irinjalakuda, as we traced the real makers of the ‘Karinkali’ song.

Music director Shaiju Avaran and lyricist Kannan Mangalath, who brought out the song in 2022, have been churning out folk/devotional songs for a decade.

Notably, it’s the same team that created the ‘Ellolam thari ponnentina...” track, which was a huge hit in Kerala. This one, too, was a TikTok fave, and later used in the film Joe & Joe.

However, the ‘Karinkali’ track – an impassioned ode to Goddess Kali – is now well on its way to become a pan-India hit, with even non-Malayalis getting hooked to the Ranga reel. A couple of days ago, even the Mumbai Police used the track for one of their awareness videos on Instagram.

“The song has become one of biggest hits in the history of Malayalam devotional music due to the support of the audience and the blessings of the Goddess,” says Shaiju, who is also a painting artist.

“We started with just the pallavi (the opening lines), and would sing it at our group gatherings. Eventually, we got the production done, and the complete song was born," he adds.

Anoop
Anoop

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“My late father used to sing. Since childhood, I have been drawn to music and songs. In Irinjalakuda, we have a vibrant tradition of naadan paattu (folk songs) and devotional music. These influences shaped my musical journey,” says Shaiju, who is a hardcore fan of the late actor and singer Kalabhavan Mani. Mani chettan has been my biggest inspiration. He made a huge impact on the industry, and also gave wings to many aspiring folk artists.”

How did Aavesham happen?

“They contacted us about three months before the film was released, and got the rights. We were thrilled. We watched the film three times,” Shaiju gushes.

“The success of our song has brought us immense joy. We certainly believe devotional songs should be treated with reverence, especially when they invoke deities such as Kodungallur Amma. However, we are happy if our art reaches more people – be it through reels, YouTube, or any other medium. As long as there is no disrespect, we are fine,”Shaiju added.

He however adds that it has been a tad disheartening that not many people have bothered to trace the origin of our song or acknowledge the hard work behind it. “Most media outlets omit our names while discussing it."

Kannan echoes the same sentiment, but says personal fame does not matter as long as the song is reaching more people. “Shaiju sang the initial lines informally and posted on our Facebook page named Mask Media on the day of Kodungalloor Bharani some years ago,” he recalls.

“The positive response encouraged us to compose the entire song and share it on YouTube. Our first song, ‘Ellolam thari ponnenthina’, also went viral on TikTok before the ban, and later on Instagram. I am a cable worker with a channel. Music has been part of my life, like most of my friends. My late father’s influence as a Sasthampaatu artist is still there inside me. Shaiju and I used to release songs during the CD era. Now, social media has given our music a broader audience," Kannan added.

Kannan, too, says he is okay with the humorous twist being given to the ‘Karinkali’ track as long as there is no disrespect towards the Goddess. “After all, art is for the people,” he says. “We aim at women’s empowerment through our lyrics. If you examine the words closely, you will see that.”

As for future projects, the duo is set to release a song on Lord Krishna. “Also, some filmmakers have approached us after seeing the Karinkali song’s success. We are eagerly awaiting new opportunities. We are grateful to God for whatever that has come our way,” says Vineesh.

Anoop Puthiyedath and Vineesh Kallettumkara, who sang the Karinkali song, join the conversation. “I am an autorickshaw driver, and used to sing Mani chettan’s songs.Then, I met Shaiju, and we collaborated to create Karinkali. I never expected the song would become such a big hit, ” says Anoop.

Vineesh says the song’s success is a blessing for “commonfolk like us”. “I work as a tempo driver. All these things are beyond my expectations,” he says, adding that he is currently working on another devotional song.

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