Nivin Pauly-Shobana as lead actors in upcoming movie ‘Island Express’ by S Janaki’s biographer Abhilash Pudukad
Abhilash Pudukad is a well-known music columnist and poet from Kerala. Recently, his book on S Janaki, the famous South Indian singer, has created the record for being the biggest book ever written about an Indian musician. On this occasion Narada News talked to Abhilash who currently works in Securetech, Abu Dhabi as Planning & Estimation Engineer, on his love for music and S Janaki.
We are very happy to talk to you on this happy occasion when your book about S Janaki, Aalpanathile Thenum Vayambum, has entered into the Book of Records. Tell us about your journey on how you achieved this?
My parents were very interested in listening to Janakiyamma’s songs and during my childhood they used to tell me to recognise her voice and watch how Janakiyamma sings. After that, I started to collect Janakiyamma’s songs. Now I have more than 10000 songs of Janakiyamma in various languages. I was searching for more info about her songs. But I was not able to find enough information, and so I planned to do a reference book about her songs in Malayalam. The Project started in 2003 and took 10 years and 4 months to get completed. Every year during my vacation time, I visited each and every lyricist, music directors and managed to get the info directly from them. I talked to many maestros including Sreekumaran Thampi, M K Arjunan, V Dakshinamoorthy, Poovachal Khader, K S Chitra, Vanijayaram, P Jayachandran, Minmini, K J Joy, Mankomb Gopalakrishnan, P Susheela, Bichu Thirumala, Johnson, K Raghukumar, Shyam, and B Vasantha.
You have become a synonym for S Janaki, how did you first get associated with her. What inspired you to follow her musical path and become a diligent biographer of her?
While I was doing a research about Janakiyamma’s musical career, I met Dr.Sreekumar, a diehard fan of Janakiyamma. He was the one who introduced me to Janakiyamma. When amma (as myself and everyone close to her calls her) came to Sharjah for attending a musical program, I met her and I sought blessings from her. That was an unforgettable day in my life. Amma even sang a song for me.
Her hard work and dedication to music have inspired me. That attitude has taken her to great heights. I couldn’t find any mistake from her.
Amma has lots of followers because of her commitment to music. She could accomplish it even without having any formal education or training in music. Now, at this moment, I am very happy and proud that out of 18 languages in which Janakiyamma has sung, Malayalam has played a crucial role in her life and career.
Recently, S Janaki had decided to put an end to her musical career and it became a controversy in many different ways. What is your take on that and actual facts about it?
Last April Amma sang a lullaby for the movie ’10 Kalpanakal’ . On that very same day, Amma told me, “Today I could sing a good song. Now I am going to put a stop to my career.” Then amma sang a few lines of that song for me too. Actually, Janakiyamma decided to stop singing long back. She was in search of a final good song to sing with which she could take a retirement. It was at that point she was approached to sing a good Malayalam song and she accepted the offer. Amma said, “I have done my best”.
Now you have a big archive on S Janaki’s life and works? Are you planning to create a museum to honour her contributions?
Till now, I don’t have any such plan. I haven’t thought about it before. But what you have asked is exciting, and I may think about it in future.
Who do you get support from for your one-man effort on S Janakiyamma?
Of course, my parents and my brother support me a lot. Whenever my brother gets some news or information about Janakiyamma, he immediately passes it to me. I am very thankful to him for his support.
Any other thing that Abhilash wants to share with our readers?
Now I feel weightless specially after Amma’s retirement. There are some upcoming projects like Mazha Janal (Malayalam Novel), Ila Kozhinja Apple Marangal (A travelogue about my Kashmir trip), and Island Express (Novel). Island Express is almost finished. Most probably, I will launch it in January 2017. I also have a plan to make this novel to a movie with Shobana and Nivin Pauly in the lead roles. Marvin George Kalpakam will be the director.