Ormakkayi – Kozhikode Abdul Khader

Actually I was humming the Yesudas song ‘Pachapanam thatte’ and my mother in law who is visiting us said, can you add that to the CD you are making for me? At that time, I did not know this was originally a drama song done by Abdul Khader for Baburaj many decades ago nor did I know of the debate in Kerala over whether M Jayachandran should be taken to task for copying it in Nottam, a new movie!! M Jaychandran’s statement that it had nothing to do with Khader or Baburaj and their offspring’s furious involvement in the debate led to a furore in Kozhikode, a year back.

But, yes, I had heard his fabulous ‘Engine nee marakkum kuyile’ from Neelakuyil many a time, I had also heard many other Khader memorable’s in a cassette of his songs, sung by his late son Satyajit. My brother has been trying to locate the originals for ages and recently when I heard ‘Engine nee’ again, I was intrigued. I knew that Khader was around with Baburaj, when Baburaj was also doing music with Mehamood, but it was always mentioned in Calicut circles that music programs by Babukka and Abdul Khader were the most eagerly awaited ones…Khader was known in Calicut as the Malabar Saigal and Calicut was a place where people understood Hindustani classical, Ghazals and followed Hindi music always. Almost all the Hindi greats of yesteryears have sung in Calicut e.g. Mannadey, Kishore, Rafi…

Having said all that, I found this picture (Wikipedia) of Khader with Baburaj &Mukesh - pretty interesting. Mukesh if you recall was also a great fan of Saigal and sung in the Saigal style initially.

And I remembered a fellow blogger who once mentioned that he was not too happy about foreign singers in the Indian music scene(Abhijeet & Jagjit singh also commented so)…probably talking about Adnan Sami and other Paki singers like Faakhir, Atif Aslam, Rahet Fateh Ali Khan etc…Probably he should start looking at this situation in the 50’s. Baburaj was actually a Bengali, Abdul Khader was from Burma and Mehaboob sometimes spoke Urdu at home. They all worked in Malayalam movies and provided memorable hits, which we enjoy even today – So music really has no language or barriers (AR Rahman by the way, son of RK Shekar who directed music in Malayalam, disagrees, he finds Malayalam unwieldy for music compositions!)…

Kozhikode Abdul Khader (the hyperlink gives all the available bio) was an enigma – Born Leslie Andrews, a Christian, he converted while at Burma and renamed himself Abdul Khader. He later married a Hindu - Shanta Devi and they had two children one being Satyajit (also a singer in his own right). We all still see Shanta Devi as a mother in many movies, a fine artiste and a national award winner. She says “It was my husband Abdul Khader who encouraged me to take up a career in films; he was the inspiration for me in theatre too. He gave me the courage to act at a time when women hesitated to appear on stage.”

Abdul Khader used to work at the Kozhikode AIR and here is where he worked with Shanta P Nair another great singer of yesteryears in bringing ‘Lalitha sangeetham’ programs on AIR.

Sreekumaran Thampi the famous Malayalam lyricist says that it was ‘Engine nee marakkum’ by Abdul Khader that triggered his interest in writing songs!!!

Stayajit tried to follow his father’s footsteps in the film world, but was unsuccessful and depressed, finally taking his life in a hotel room in Perambavoor. I listened to his cassette today and agree; without doubt the boy had talent and could have been a good singer, if only he had persisted. But well, life is life….

My favorites – Padaan orthoru madhuritha gaanam & Padoo pullankuzale
Most popular – Engine nee marakkum kuyile..


Some Khader songs
Padaan Orthoru
Padu Pullankuzale
Engine nee marakkum
Thanga kinakkal
Sree narayana guru
Nee enthariyunnu
Tharakam irulil
Mayaruthe vanaradhe
Pacha panam thatte
Parithamamithe haa jeevithame


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