Vayalar Ramavarma (March 25, 1928 – October 27, 1975), also known as Vayalar,[1] was an Indian poet and lyricist of Malayalam language. He was known for his poems which include Sargasangeetham, Mulankaadu, Padamudrakal, Aayisha and Oru Judas janikkunnu and for around 1300 songs he penned for 256 Malayalam films. He received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics in 1972 and was the winner of the Kerala State Film Award for Best Lyricist in its year of inception which he received three more times. He was also a recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1962. [2][3][4] His collaborations with G. Devarajan produced the golden era of Malayalam film music and many songs written and composed by these duo remain the ever green classics in Malayalam. Ramavarma is regarded as one of the most successful and critically acclaimed lyricist in the history of Malayalam cinema.[5][6]

Vayalar Ramavarma
Native name
വയലാർ രാമവർമ്മ
Born(1928-03-25)March 25, 1928
Vayalar, Alleppey, Travancore, India
DiedOctober 27, 1975(1975-10-27) (aged 47)
Government Medical College, Trivandrum
OccupationLyricist, poet
GenrePoetry, lyrics
Years active1956–1975
Notable works
  • Paadamudrakal
  • Enikku Maranamilla
  • Oru Judas Janikkunnu
  • Ente Maattolikkavithakal
Notable awards
  • Chandramathi Thamburatti
    (m. 1951⁠–⁠1956)
  • Bharathi Thamburatti
    (m. 1957)
Children4, including Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma
  • Kerala Varma
  • Ambalika Thamburatti

Biography edit

The memorial at poet's home Raghavaparambu, in Vayalar
Bust of Vayalar Ramavarma in Manaveeyam Veedhi, Thiruvananthapuram.
Vayalar handwriting

Ramavarma was born on March 25, 1928, at Vayalar, a small village in Alappuzha district of the south Indian state of Kerala[7] to Vellarappilli Kerala Varma and Raghavaparambil Ambalika Thamburatti.[8] He lost his father at an early age and his education in the traditional gurukula way, was supervised by his uncle, which was followed by formal education at the Sanskrit School as well as Cherthala English School.[9] He started writing poetry while in school, publishing the first poem in "Swarat" magazine, which he continued after discontinuing education after 9th standard and published poems in periodicals such as "Arunodayam" and "Chakravalam". He started a weekly in 1951, under the name, Janadhipathyam, but the weekly, which published articles promoting communist ideals, did not last long. Subsequently, he served as the editor of a publication from Madras.[9]

Ramavarma married Puthekovilakathu Chandramathi Thamburatti in 1951 but the couple were issueless.[9] Subsequently, he married Bharathi Thamburatti, the younger sister of Chandramathi Thamburatti, and the couple had a son, Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma, a noted poet and lyricist,[10] and three daughters, Indulekha, Yamuna and Sindhu.[11] His death came on October 27, 1975, at the age of 47, following a surgery at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram where he had been admitted for the treatment of Cirrhosis. Later revelations by poet, Ezhacherry Ramachandran, that the actual cause of death was medical negligence, created a controversy,[12] but Ramachandran later refused to stand by his earlier statement.[13] The memoirs of his wife, Bharathi Thamburatti, titled Indradanussinte Theerathu,[14] also became controversial due to certain remarks made in the book about K. J. Yesudas.[15]

Legacy edit

As a poet edit

Ramavarma's first poetry anthology was Padamudrakal, in 1948 which reflected his affinity towards Gandhian ideals in those days. Later he changed his thought towards communism and keep close contact with the communist party of India. There are notable literature works against cast and communal systems in Kerala even though he is from an upper caste family. But he had a good affinity towards Indian culture which is reflected in the poem Sargga Sangeetham.[9] Between 1950 and 1961, he published a number of anthologies including Konthayum Poonoolum (1950), Naadinte Nadam, Enikku Maramamilla, Mulankadu (1955), Oru Judas Janikkunnu (1955), Ente Mattolikavithakal (1957), and Sargasangeetham (1961), a khandakavyam titled Ayisha, two short story anthologies, Raktham Kalarnna Mannu and Vettum Thiruthum as well as a travelogue by name, Purushantharangaliloode,[16] which detailed his experiences during his first trip to Delhi in 1956 to participate in the Asian Writers' Conference. With the popularity of his poems, he was known to have brought poetry to the common man's domain.[17]

As a lyricist edit

Ramavarma shifted his base to Madras to take up the editorship of a magazine and this move to the city helped him to get associated with Malayalam film industry which was based there during those days.[9] In 1956, he got the opportunity to write the lyrics for Koodappirappu, a J. D. Thottan film, for which 10 songs composed by K. Raghavan were written by him.[18] Overall, he wrote over 1300 songs[19] for 245 Malayalam movies, 135 songs for 29 music albums and for several plays,[20] of which 755 songs were composed by G. Devarajan.[21] One among the three major lyricists of his times, P. Bhaskaran and O. N. V. Kurup completing the trio, Rama Varma's lyrics were known to have brought the Malayalam film songs closer to poetry.[22]

Awards and honours edit

Ramavarma received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1962 for his poetry anthology, Sargasangeetham.[2] Kerala State Chalachitra Academy selected his songs for the films, Nadhi and Kadalpalam for the inaugural Kerala State Film Award for Best Lyricist in 1969; he would receive the award three more times, in 1972 for Chemparathy, in 1974 for Nellu and Athidhi and in 1975 for Chuvanna Sandhyakal and Swami Ayyappan.[23] In between, he received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics for the song, Manushyan mathangale srushtichu in the film, Achanum Bappayum in 1972.[8]

An annual literary award, Vayalar Award, has been instituted in his memory by Vayalar Rama Varma Memorial Trust.[24] The award is given on 27 October, the poet's death anniversary and the recipients include Lalithambika Antharjanam, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, Sugathakumari, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Ayyappa Paniker and K. Satchidanandan.[25] The trust has constructed a memorial for Ramavarma at his residence in Vayalar, which houses a literary museum, library, office, auditorium, martyr square and conference room.[26] Vayalar Ramavarma Samskarika Vedi, another Thiruvananthapuram-based eponymous organization, has instituted an annual award, Vayalar Ramavarma award, to recognize excellence in television programmes.[27] The organization has instituted two more awards, Vayalar Ramavarma Sangeetha Puraskaram and Vayalar Ramavarma Natya Ratna Puraskaram, music and dance awards respectively, in honour of the poet.[28] The Government of Kerala installed a bust of Rama Varma at Manaveeyam Veedhi, the road between Althara junction to the Museum-Vellayambalam road in Thiruvananthapuram, on Nov 24, 2005.[29]

Selected bibliography edit

Khandakavyam edit

  • Ramavarma, Vayalar (2008). Ayisha. Kottayam: Sahithya Pravarthaka Sahakarana Sangam.

Song collections edit

  • Ente Chalachitragaanangal in 6 parts

Poetry anthology edit

Short story anthology edit

Essay compilations edit

Collected works edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Vayalar Kavithakal". Malayalam Kavithakal.
  2. ^ a b "Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 6 April 2019. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award" Archived 26 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine (in Malayalam). Kerala Sahitya Akademi. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Literary Awards" Archived 2012-06-18 at the Wayback Machine. Government of Kerala. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Biopic to be made on legendary Malayalam writer Vayalar Rama Varma". The News Minute. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  6. ^ "ചുങ്കം ചായക്കടയിലെ രാഷ്‌ട്രീയ വാഗ്വാദവും 'കുട്ടനും'". Indian Express Malayalam (in Malayalam). 27 October 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Vayalar Ramavarma: eTimes". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Vayalar Ramavarma - Veethi profile". 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Biography on Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal". Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Walking in his father's footsteps". The Hindu. 25 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2019.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Vayalar - Malayala Chalachithram profile". 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  12. ^ "വയലാറിന്റെ മരണകാരണം: ഏഴാച്ചേരിയുടെ വെളിപ്പെടുത്തല്‍ വിവാദം ആവുന്നു". 26 March 2015. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Now, Ezhachery is not sure how Vayalar Ramavarma died". The Times of India. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Indradhanussin Theerathu". Nastik Nation. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Life Kochi : A tryst with controversy". The Hindu. 29 October 2004. Retrieved 2 May 2019.[dead link]
  16. ^ "List of works". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Remembering Vayalar". The Hindu. 3 November 2003. Retrieved 3 May 2019.[dead link]
  18. ^ "Koodappirappu (1956)". Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  19. ^ "List of Malayalam Songs by Lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma". 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Lists of lyricists in Malayalam movies". 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  21. ^ "List of Malayalam Songs by Musician G Devarajan, Lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma". 3 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Profile of Malayalam Lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma". 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Kerala State Film Awards". Government of Kerala. 3 May 2019. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Vayalar Award". Kerala Sahitya Akademi. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  25. ^ "Winners of Vayalar Award". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial". 4 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Annie wins Vayalar Ramavarma Award - Times of India". The Times of India. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Celebrating the poet Vayalar Ramavarma - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  29. ^ "It is a dream-come-true for Devarajan". The Hindu. 25 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2019.[dead link]

External links edit