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A writer, an artist and a singer

Anand Haridas


Songs of nostalgia and realisations that come late in life make vocalist Sreevalsan J. Menon’s music album ‘Vismaya’ a treat to music aficionados.


Photo: H. Vibhu

AWESOME TRIO: Sreevalsan J. Menon, flanked by M.T. Vasudevan Nair, writer, and artist Namboodiri, during the filming of his music video at Ramamangalam, near Kochi. —

KOCHI: The camera starts rolling. Carnatic vocalist Sreevalsan J. Menon walks down the mossy, his uneven steps leading to the ghat near Narasimha Temple at Ramamangalam. On either side are writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair and artist Namboodiri. They stop a couple of steps in front of the camera. Cut. Behind the camera, the Muvattupuzha river flows, gracefully, under an overcast sky. The scene being shot is for a song in a music album by Sreevalsan. He has to his credit innovative attempts such as interpreting ‘Vanaprastham,’ a much-acclaimed short story by MT, through music.

On Sunday, all three were in different roles. MT and Namboodiri were playing themselves in the video. The song in the album, titled ‘Vismaya,’ is about the nostalgia of an expatriate.

“The protagonist is trying to relive his past when he had a lover. While thinking about her, he recollects his attempts at becoming a writer and an artist. There he sees MT and Namboodiri as ideals in either wing of creativity,” says Sreevalsan. The album, says Binu Panicker, who is the producer and music composer, is an attempt to depict six stages of life. The song being visualised, Maalini Madhubhashini … , is a “nostalgic recollection of an American NRI.”

At another level, the song has dusk as its theme. “When people move towards the final phase of life, they look back and realise the good and bad things that happened in life,” says Binu.

Inside the Devaswom building there, the team shoots the protagonist, played by Sreevalsan, meeting his ideal writer and artist in his fantasy.

And the realisation about his failure as a writer and an artist settles on him. Like the night that follows the dusk. Heavy and silent.

The video has a ‘minukku vesham,’ a female part in Kathakali, as a symbolic representation of the protagonist’s lost love. The part is played by R.L.V. Radhakrishnan.

The dream sequence ends when the writer, the artist and the memories of his love all vanish from the view of the protagonist.

In front of him is a long evening down a deserted street in a city.

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