Chunakkara Ramankutty, who died at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday night at the age of 84, was a prolific lyricist who penned some of the biggest hit songs of Malayalam cinema in the 1980s and 90s. He wrote more than 200 songs in a career that spanned over five decades.
His career flourished at a time when music still played a major part in Malayalam cinema, unlike today. Among his most popular songs are Devatharu poothu...(Engane Nee Marakkum), Hrudayavaniyile gaayikayo... (Kottayam Kunjachan), Shyamameghame yadukula... (Adhipan), Sindoora thilakavumaayi... (Kuyiline Thedi) and Chandanakkuriyumaayi vaa... (Oru Nokku Kanan).
Interestingly, all of those songs were composed by Shyam. There was a time when the Chunakkara-Shyam team came up with successive chart-topping songs.
The music for Chunakkara's debut film, Ashramam, though was provided by the legendary M.K. Arjunan, who died four months ago. That was in 1978.
The following year saw him pairing up with Shyam for the first time, for Koumaraprayam. Though the duo came up with a fine Yesudas song, Pravahame pravahame..., for the 1981 film Aa Divasam, it would take another couple of years for them to establish themselves as one of the most successful combinations of Malayalam film music.
Most of his biggest hits may have been tuned by Shyam together they created about a hundred songs but he also worked with composes like G. Devarajan, M.G. Radhakrishnan, S.P. Venkitesh, Kannur Rajan and Mohan Sithara.
Before entering the tinsel town which wasn't easy at all in his time he had written for plays and radio. He was fortunate that he could write songs at a time when melody was still very much alive in Malayalam cinema, though its golden age had ended.