Onam, the ten-day harvest festival of Kerala is being celebrated from August 22 to 31 this year. As per folklore, the festival is also the annual homecoming of the benevolent King Mahabali, who is considered to be visiting his people (praja) every year, to ensure that they are happy and content. Onam is synonymous to Pookkalam (flower carpet), Pulikali (tiger dance), Tug of War, Thiruvathira Kali (traditional dance by women), Vallam Kali (boat race) and Onathallu (martial arts), etc.
Unfortunately, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a rocketing increase in positive cases in the state, the government has imposed certain restrictions on Onam celebrations at schools, colleges, offices and other institutions. Well, to keep up the true spirit of the festival, Malayalees have decided to go low-key this year, and to celebrate the joy of festival and togetherness with their special and loved ones at their respective homes.
It won't be wrong to say that Onam without songs (Onapattugal) is as incomplete as sadya without payasam. Interestingly, there are hundreds of songs in the Malayalam film industry which has a strong connect to the exuberant festival of Kerala. Well, on that note, we have picked the top 5 Malayalam songs to cheer you up on this special occasion if you are badly missing the celebrations this year.
1. Thiruvona Pularithan
'Thiruvona Pularithan' is undoubtedly one of the many Onam songs that bring clear nostalgia from the past celebrations, wherein the whole family comes together at their Tharavadus for merrymaking. Featuring Prem Nazir and Sharadha from the 1975 film Thiruvonam, the song has been crooned by Vani Jairam and penned by Sreekumaran Thampi. Interestingly, the film also featured Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan in a pivotal role.
The Onam celebration song from the 2016 film Jacobinte Swargarajyam has truly captured all the essence of the festival including thiruvathira, maveli thamburan, chenda mellam, sadya and tug of war. Featuring Nivin Pauly, Renji Panicker, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, Sreenath Bhasi, Aima Sebastian and Stacen Varghese, 'Thiruvaavaniraavu' has been crooned by Unni Menon and Sithara. Interestingly, the song from the Vineeth Sreenivasan directorial is one of the highlighting factors of the film, which received much appreciation from the audiences.
3. Jimikki Kammal
Though the original version of the song from the 2017 film Velipadinte Pushthakam had nothing to do with Onam, 'Jimikki Kammal' became one of the must-include tracks during Onam celebrations at schools and colleges. The song soon became a trending one across the world and to acknowledge the same, the makers of the film surprised the fans with another version of the popular track, that included the lead actor of the movie Mohanlal. The Mass entry and the dance prowess of the complete actor garnered huge appreciation on social media, and clocked a whopping 17 million views on YouTube. With music composed by Shaan Rahman, the viral song has been sung by Vineeth Sreenivasan and Renjith Unni.
4. Uthrada Poonilave
'Uthrada Poonilave' is a song about the eve of Onam. Written by Sreekumaran Thambi for the album Ulsava Ganangal the track has been crooned by KJ Yesudas. The music for one of the most celebrated songs has been composed by Raveendran and is backed by Tharangini.
5. Parvanendu Mukhi
Pick any thiruvathira kali group from a school or college celebration and you will definitely find at least one among them performing to the song 'Parvanendu Mukhi'. Well, that is the power of the song from the 1994 film Parinayam that features Mohini, Thilakan, Manoj K Jayan and Vineeth in lead roles. The track crooned by KS Chitra has music composed by Ravi and lyrics penned by Yusuf Ali Kechery.