KOCHI: 'Devadaroo poothu, en manassin thaazhvaryil.' This mellifluous track won the hearts of many in the 1980s and still features in the list of Malayalis' evergreen love songs. The light and simple, but poetic, lyrics are one of the major reasons for the longevity of the song. He was one of the few lyricists who ruled the music world of popular cinema by associating with some of the gifted composers of the golden era of Malayalam cinema.
Though Chunakkara, as he was fondly known, has penned lyrics for many films, his association with music director Shyam is rated as one of the most successful lyricist-composer combos of Mollywood.
Other than 'Devadaroo Poothu,' the duo has presented some of the memorable songs of the 1980s including 'Sarathkala sandhya kulir choodi' (Engane Nee Marakkum), 'Devi nin roopam' (Oru Thira Pinneyum Thira - 1982), 'Sindoora thilakavumayi' (Kuyiline Thedi - 1983), 'Poovaya poo' and 'Oru malarthoppithile' (Love Story - 1986), 'Aalippazham innonnaayi en' (Nale Njangalude Vivaham - 1986), 'Nishagandhi poothu chirichu' (Nanni Veendum Varika - 1986), Chembaneer (Ennu Nadhante Nimmi), 'Ambarapooo veedhiyilu' (Irupatham Noottandu - 1987) 'Shyama meghame nee' (Adhipan - 1989), 'Hridavaniyile gaayikayo' and 'Ee neelaravil snehardranayi njan' (Kottayam Kunjachan - 1990) and 'Oru shilpa gopurathil' (Souhrudam - 1991).
"The last time when I called Raman, we talked for some time. Most of his talks were about the pandemic and its effects on the lives of millions. Before hanging up, I asked him to hum 'Devadaroo poothu', and he did.
He was a good singer too. Moreover, he was a good human being and a good friend. Whenever I used to go to Thiruvananthapuram, I always had tried to find time to visit Raman, Bichu (Thirumala) and Poovachal (Khader). We all were like a team," veteran composer Shyam told The New Indian Express.
The ace music director said he is cherishing all the songs that he had composed along with Chunakkara in the list of his personal favourites.
"For almost all of our songs, he had penned the lyrics to my tunes. In that way, he was a composer's writer. Song composition during our time was a process in which camaraderie plays the keynote. We were good friends and it is a personal loss to me," he said.
Chunakkara always loved to pen lyrics as per the situation in the movie plot. He always preferred to use words that can be easily imbibed by the common man.
The best examples are the songs like 'Chinnukutty, urangiyille' from 'Oru Nokku Kanan' (1985) which begins in the format of a telephone call between Chinnuktty and Unni Mol (Both portrayed by Baby Salini) and the track 'Neeyarinjo mele manathu' (Kandu Kandarinju - 1985) sung by actors Mohanlal and late Mala Aravindan, which is like a casual talk between two people who are drunk.
Chunakkara, who was a member of Karyattu family, was a former employee of the State Industries Department.
He entered the artistic arena through drama, which was a popular medium in Kerala during the 1960s.
After penning songs for nearly 100 popular dramas, his major break was the lyrics that he wrote for light music aired through Akashavani.
He entered Mollywood as a lyricist through 'Ashrama' (1978). He was the winner of the Gurushreshta Award instituted by Sangeetha Nataka Akadami in 2015.
His wife Thankamma had died earlier. He is survived by daughters Radhika, Renuka and Ragini.