Gone are the days of cacophony, meaningless lyrics, rap, and slapdash music in Malayalam cinema. The year 2015 proved that melodies and soulful lyrics were irreplaceable. It was a year in which youngsters like Shabareesh Varma and Gopi Sunder held their own against veterans like M Jayachandran and Vidyasagar. The music they created transcended the much-debated generation gap. While Premam‘s album dominated the industry in the first half of the year, Ennu Ninte Moideen stole the show in the latter half. ENM, one of the top albums of the year, had songs composed by three different musicians – M Jayachandran, Gopi Sunder and Ramesh Narayan.
There weren’t enough takers for groove numbers. Cousins (M Jayachandran), Laila O Laila (Gopi Sunder) and Amar Akbar Anthony (Nadirshah) had fast-paced numbers with sub-standard lyrics, and unsurprisingly, failed to strike a chord with the listeners. The songs that became immensely popular were the mellow tracks in Premam, ENM and others.
This song is likely to stay around for a long time. Composed by Shabareesh Varma and sung by Vijay Yesudas, this romantic track is from Premam, the movie that made waves across south India. The video features Nivin Pauly and Sai Pallavi, and the nuances of their romantic interaction. The hook factor of the song is, by far, its simple, poetic lyrics, and the gentle touch of the melody.
2. Mukkathe Penne
This soulful track was Gopi Sunder’s sole composition Ennu Ninte Moideen. Gopi had been roped in to compose the background score for the film. However, while working, he urgently needed a replacement song in one part. “The tune just popped into my head and it just so happened that Mohammed (Mohammed Maqbool Mansoor, who has sung the song as well) was in the studio at the time. I didn’t even know he could write when I turned to him and asked him to give me some lyrics off the cuff. It was done before we knew it”, said Gopi Sunder, as quoted by The Hindu. The song, thanks to its deep lyrics and Sufi-style music, went straight into the heart of listeners, and became a huge hit.
3. Aluva Puzhayude Theerath
Another track from Premam. This cheerful, youthful track was the first song from the movie to be released online. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s peppy rendition, with Shabareesh Varma’s composition, was highly praised. Adding to the song’s charm were visuals featuring a boyish Nivin Pauly. The song was an instant hit among the youngsters.
4. Ee Mizhakalil
This song from the film Lukka Chuppi, a Malayalam movie directed by Bash Mohammed, has a soothing romantic melody. Sung by Vivekanandan, this song is composed by Bijibaal. The video features a host of actors like Murali Gopi, Jayasurya, Ramya Nambeesan, and Muthu Mani. Bijibaal has used minimal instruments in this song, making it a perfect listening experience for those who love slow, soft melodies.
5. Kathirunnu Kathirunnu
In the past few years, the Malayalam industry hasn’t seen a year go by without a Shreya Ghoshal hit song. Last year, it was La Lee La Lee from Kalimannu. This year, Shreya delivered a memorable performance with this gloomy number from Ennu Ninte Moideen, immortalising Kanchana Mala’s endless wait for her love, Moideen. Composed by M Jayachandran, this song is enriched by Jomon T John’s brilliant visuals. And the performances of actors like Pritviraj, Parvathy, and Tovino.
6. Maarivillin Peeli
This melody from Ashique Abu’s Rani Padmini accomplishes a rare feat – It makes a perfect sketch of a childhood. Sung by Devdutt and composed by his father, Bijibaal, the song portrays the experience of growing up as a girl. It has poetic lyrics written by Rafeeq Ahammed. The movie used a line from the song (‘Come, let’s fly) as its tagline. The song shows the childhood of its two protagonists – Rani (Rima Kallingal) and Padmini (Manju Warrier) who grew up in different circumstances. The song contains the essence of the film, which tells a tale of how the two women break free from their routine life and embark on a trip to the Himalayas.
7. Nila Kudame
Sung by P Jayachandran, the veteran playback singer, and yesteryear’s star singer Minmini, this melodious song is from the film Chirakodinja Kinavukal, a spoof-comedy. Composed by Deepak Dev, the video has Kunchakko Boban and Rima Kallingal taking a dig at the popular romantic song videos in Malayalam. The lyrics, in old-fashioned pure Malayalam, compare the beauty of a woman to that of a full-moon night.
8. Kaikkottum Kandittilla
In 2015, Nivin Pauly took the Kerala box-office by storm with two blockbusters – Oru Vadakkan Selfie and Premam. This upbeat song from Oru Vadakkan Selfie, a movie about two aimless youngsters, stood out for its humourous lyrics. Vaikkom Vijayalakshmi’s unpolished, earthy voice further added to the song’s charm. The video shows Umesh (Pauly)’s college life, as a reckless engineering student, and the lyrics aptly describe his character.
9. Malarvaaka Kombathe
Mohanlal and Manju Warrier starred in this song from Ennum Eppozhum (Forever, Always), a lighthearted romantic drama. Sung by P Jayachandran, the song was composed by Vidyasagar. The video subtly draws out the blooming love between the two leads. Thanks to Jayachandran’s soulful rendition, and the performance of the actors, ‘Malarvaaka Kombathe’ is a treat to eyes and ears.
10. Salsa Song
Sung by the members of the band ‘Masala Coffee’, this is a witty, yet melodious number from Kunji Ramayanam. The lyrics are genuinely comic, and the visuals are quirky and funny. Featuring actors like Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Dhyan Sreenivasan and Deepak, this song shows villagers mourning the sudden departure of the village’s favourite country-liquor brewer.