KANNUR: At 96, artist Nampoothiri has wielded the brush once more to depict a scene from Hindu mythology, this time from the Ramayana. Portraying Rama, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman on the canvas, he nodded in appreciation as a song praising Rama played in a low-tone from a mobile phone placed nearby.The song ‘Adhyathma Ramayana Dasaka’ -- penned by Adwaitha Dasar, composed by Edappally Ajith Kumar and rendered by vocalist and music director Sreevalsan J Menon -- was released on YouTube on Monday, the last day of the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam.“I have been composing songs written by Adwaitha Dasar for some time now,” said Ajith, one of the leading violinists in the state.Adwaitha Dasar is the pseudonym of Binu Panicker from Alappuzha, a Michigan-based engineer.
“When Binu gave me some portions of the song some time back, we never thought of this project. But I suggested to him that if he were able to pen a song in its entirety, it will be apt for Karkkidakam as it is the Ramayana month,” Ajith said.
Initially, they were not sure about bringing in artist Nampoothiri as he is in his nineties and has been leading a quiet life. “Since Sreevalsan is pretty close to the legendary artist, he was able to cajole Nampoothiri to join us. Everything happened so quickly we had barely a week to complete the project before the end of Karkkidakam,” he said.
Sreevalsan said he decided, after reading the lyrics, to stick to traditional Carnatic ragas and the aesthetic use of the phrases without compromising on their classical elements.“That’s why I chose ragas like Devagandhari, Varali, Kedaragoula and Sankarabharanam. Both Ajith and I have been working together for more than a decade now and his music is challenging as well as appealing to singers and aficionados,” he said. The two were also full of praise for Binu.
“The Adhyathma Ramayana Dasaka Ragamalika is the first of its kind in Carnatic music. Though there is Ramayanam Ragamalika — Bhavayami Raghuramam of Swathi Thirunal — it is in Sanskrit whereas Adhyathma Ramayana Dasaka Ragamalika is written in chaste Malayalam. The fact that Nampoothiri was pleased to come on board, when we approached him, was really heartwarming,” said Sreevalsan.Though they had initially planned a painting series based on the Ramayana, they finally decided to do only one -- Pattabhishekam, the coronation of Lord Rama. The video of the song includes footage of artist Nampoothiri sketching the Pattabhishekam.“We take this opportunity to dedicate this album to one of the great legends of our time,” Ajith said.