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BABURAJ THE GENIUS
DEVARAJAN THE MONARCH
DAKSHINAMOORTHY THE PATRIARCH
RAGHAVAN THE FOLK MASTER
ARJUNAN THE MELODY KING
AT UMMER THE PIOUS
MS VISWANATHAN THE WINNER
SALIL CHOWDHARY THE WONDER
SYAM THE PROFESSIONAL
KJ JOY THE REVOLUTIONARY
MB SREENIVASAN THE POETIC COMPOSER
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A.T. UMMER THE PIOUS

 

A. T. Ummer from Kannur, was a pious man. He belonged to the second generation and his career went parallel to that of Arjunan. He also specialized in melody and composed several traditional-style songs. Later he integrated modern music instruments also. He may not be as intense as Arjunan, but there was much variety in his songs, unlike Arjunan. Like Arjunan, he debuted in the late 1960s (1967), flourised in 1970s and survived even after that with a lot of irrelevant songs. Unlike Arjunan, he had some main songs in 1980s and he continuously got opportunities even upto mid-90s.

Votes : 6350 (4.41 %)
The number of songs : 137 (4.33 %)
The number of songs with votes > 5 : 42 (4.12 %)
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Born in 1933, AT Ummer shared North Kerala, football and music with K. Raghavan and settled on film music through his connections in the field. After some initial ineffective releases, it was the director A. Vincent who found out Ummer’s abilities. In the film ‘Almaram’ in 1969, he composed the soft ‘pinneyum inakkuyil’ and the pleasant ‘noothnaganathil’. Two years later, Vincent made the musical hit ‘Abhijathyam’ which established A.T. Ummer in the field. The melodies ‘vrishchikarathrithan’, ‘chembakapoonkavanathile’, ‘kalyanakkuruvikku’ and ‘mazhamukilolivarnan’, along with the comedy song ‘thallu thallu’, became hit. In 1972 came Vincent’s another musical hit ‘Theerthayathra’. Ummer responded with the highly emotional romantic ‘anuvadikkoo devi’, a grand devotional ‘ambike jagadambike’, a sad devotional ‘kolloorilum’ and a joyful ‘marivillu panthalitta’. All these serious films (Madhu in the lead) had P. Bhaskaran as the lyricist. But A. T. Ummer didn’t form any team. He worked with a lot of lyricists.

 

He worked for the hitmaker Sasikumar also starting with the song ‘priyamullavale’. In ‘Aranyakandam’, P. Bhaskaran recycled his lyrics of an old song (the hero reminiscences the childhood days when he and his girlfriend stood together saving themselves from the rain by making the dress of his girlfriend an umbrella) and it became ‘ee vazhiyum ee marathanalum’. It had the sad devotional ‘yadunandana’. Sasikumar’s ‘Abhimanam’ is immortalized by the song ‘pottikkaranjukondomane’ written by Sreekumaran Thampi and sung with all the sorrow by Yesudas.

 

The stylish ‘oru madhurikkum vedanayo’ was also composed by him.

 

In ‘Ulsavam’, he composed the very pleasant ‘swayamvarathinu’ and the soft and erotic ‘adyasamagamalajja’, both sung by Yesudas and Janaki.

 

After 1975, A. T. Ummer got more opportunities and he responded with good songs also. ‘Alinganam’ was another hit in which he composed the happy ‘hemantham thozhuthu’, the modern and stylish ‘nimishadalangal’ and the very soft ‘thusharabindukkale’. Several nice songs followed like the sad ‘marubhoomiyil vanna’, the devotional ‘vrindavanam swargamakiya’, the sweet ‘kunkumappottiloorum’, the classical ‘rathidevathasilpame’, the all-time hit ‘oru nimisham tharoo’, the soft ‘karpoorathulasipanthal’, the very soft Janaki/Yesudas song ‘neelajalasayathil’, the poetic ‘varnavum neeye’, another all-time great ‘devi nin chiriyil’, the devotional ‘viswam chamachum’ etc.

 

He was not considered for Muslim songs as he had a soft and serious style, but in 1978, he got an opportunity in ‘Agni’ and he celebrated with the native Muslim tunes in ‘kattu paranje’, ‘sulthante kottarathil’ and ‘kannan pokkaru’.

 

In the same year, the ‘Adavukal pathinettu’ and ‘Avalude ravukal’ were released. The three songs in the former were in different styles – an intoxicating ‘anupamasoundaryame’ sung by Yesudas, a joyful and teasing ‘sooryanamskaram’ sung inimitably by Janaki and the happy ‘thamarapoo’ also sung by Janaki. ‘Avalude ravukal’ directed by IV Sasi was a huge commercial hit and its songs were equally hits – An emotional sad song ‘rakendukiranangal’, a very soft and modern ‘antharindriyadahangal’ sung by Yesudas and a high pitch wishful lullaby ‘unni arariro’ sung by Janaki. Both films had good lyrics by Bichu Thirumala.

 

‘Rakendukiranangal’ is perhaps his most famous song. But it was also a black mark on the career of Ummer. It was copied from a Hindi song. He expressed helplessness as the producers’ wish had to be executed in the industry. Then the credit goes to the producer who pinpointed on this unimportant Hindi song to make it such a great song in Malayalam. The expressive Janaki made it one of her best songs. The original track of the Hindi song was used in it and it was done by RK Sekhar. AT Ummer had nothing to do in it except the song 'antharindriya'. Anyway, with this, the pious AT Ummer became controversial and famous.

 

But Ummer’s career takes a downward journey from here (just like Arjunan). He was prolific, but the percentage of good songs was very low. But he didn’t become irrelevant. ‘Vellappalunkotha’ was based on a Hindi tune ('dil ke jharoko me') though nobody realized it. The film also had the sad and soft ‘ekanthathayil’. ‘Dheerasameere’, the high pleasantness of the dawn in the Janaki song ‘prabhatham poomarakkombil’, sweet devotional ‘oru mayilpeeliyay’, river song ‘ozhukiyozhuki’ etc. followed.

 

Colour was added to the Jayan films ‘Karimbana’ and ‘Thadavara’ by A. T. Ummer by the mixture of modern and native tunes in the songs ‘kombil kilukkam ketti’, ‘karimbarakalkkullilum’, ‘andandaragamezhuthiya’ and ‘kattum ee kadinte kulirum’.

 

The pious man was behind the hilarious comedy songs ‘palisakkaran pathrose’ sung by Yesudas as intoxicated, ‘thothe thothe’ sung by Janaki in the voice of an urchin etc.

 

After 1980, he scored many songs that were irrelevant, but occasionally showed his ability as in the IV Sasi film ‘Ahimsa’ in 1982. The duet ‘kattu tharattum’ sung by Yesudas and Janaki was very romantic and sweet. ‘Jalasankhupushpam’ was a nice song. But another IV Sasi film ‘Ina’ was a shock. The songs ‘aralippoonkadukal’, ‘kinavinte varambathu’ and ‘vellichillum vithari’ were copied from various languages (Hindi, English and Tamil). But these songs too became famous. He copied another Hindi song in ‘Maniyara’ ('viphalam viphalam' from 'chalthe chalthe'), but this time too, he enjoyed composing other songs using native mappila tunes and these were famous – ‘penne manavattipenne’, ‘mizhiyina njan’ and ‘kwaja shakin’.

 

In 1984, he composed the dance song ‘kalindi theeram thannil’, the erotic ‘moodalmanjumay yamini’, the wild ‘madhumazhapozhiyum’ and the enchanting ‘thalangal’.

 

‘Mazhayo mazha’ in 85, ‘veliparuthipoove’ and ‘innalekal’ in 86, ‘manithoovalchirakulla’ in 88 were his last recognizable songs.

 

Interestingly, he got so many films all these years though he was not making good songs.

 

He died in 2001.

 

Essentially, he was a music director of 1970s. His strength was his old songs. But he was open to the new trends and adapted. Having so much talents, he could have avoided those unnecessary copying.

 


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