Bichu Thirumala – Popular lyricist of Malayalam cinema since 1970s

Bichu Thirumala (1941 – 2021) was a popular lyricist & poet who wrote in Malayalam. He was also a singer, screenwriter & writer. One of the popular lyricists since late 1970s, he along with ONV Kurup is credited to creating the style of arranging beautiful words in Malayalam film songs, and also one among the leading lyricists who wrote lyrics for already made tunes. Winner of 2 Kerala state film awards for best lyricist, he constantly kept on updating himself, thus penning several popular songs appealing youth listeners. He wrote over 3000 film songs, and published a collection of poems titled – Kaalathinte Kanakku Pusthakam.

Bichu Thirumala’s debut film Bhaja Govindam (1972) was never released

Born as B. Sivasankaran Nair in 1941 in Thirumala of Thiruvananthapuram district into a family of musicians, he graduated from University College of capital city. He had three siblings of whom, one brother died at younger age. His sister Susheela Devi is a singer and brother Darshan Raman is a music director. He was married to Prasanna, and their son Suman Bichu is a Music Director.

Bichu Thirumala used to write poetry since childhood. Yet joined film industry in 1970 as an assistant director, to pursue his filmmaking dreams. However, one of his published poems in a magazine opened him doors to penning lyrics. His first break was with the film, Bhaja Govindam (1972), a movie which was never released. Yet one of its songs, “Brahma Muhoorthathil” became popular as light music.

Neelakaashavum Meghangalum from Akkaldama (1975) composed by Shyam and sung by KP Brahmanandan was his first released song. Within a few years, he established as a successful lyricist, and his association with music director Shyam was a landmark. The duo gifted several memorable songs in the 1980s. Initially he wrote songs for music director A. T. Ummer. He gave some of his finest songs in Illayaraja’s Malayalam compositions too, apart from songs composed by Bollywood music composer Ravindra Jain.

Known for simple writing style, he was proficient in songs of all genres

Lullabies, romantic songs, fun songs, songs of separation and griefs – Bichu Thirumala excelled in all types of songs. His lyrics are so simple too. He won state film awards for best lyricist twice – Mainakam of Trishna & Ottakambi Naadam of Thenum Vayambum (1981), and Manassil Ninnum Manassilekkoru of Kadinjool Kalyanam (1991).

Most active for three decades since 1970s, during one of his peak years, he wrote songs for 35 movies in a year. He penned lyrics for over 400 films. He wrote story, script and dialogues of two movies named Shakti and Ishtapraneshwari. He passed away on 26 November 2021 aged 80, following heart attack.

Bichu Thirumala – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. While studying in class 10, he wrote a poem for his sister, Chandamezhunnoru Poove, which began his writing career.

2. He dreamt to become a film director. But when his songs got noticed and he turned busy, he turned a full-time writer. In fact in 1970, he worked as an assistant to M. Krishnan Nair.

3. He wrote maximum songs for music composer Shyam.

4. His first song – “Brahma Muhoorthathil” belonging to unreleased film, Bhaja Govindam used to be aired on Ceylon radio in the 1970s and was popular.

5. He is credited to penning all songs of movie, Yoddha (1992), the only work of A. R. Rahman in Malayalam up-to-date. (A. R. Rahman’s second Malayalam work, Aadujeevitham is yet to release).

6. Apart from film songs, he penned numerous songs for light music, devotional and Onam songs. Mamankam Palakuri is one such popular Onam song.

7. He composed music for some devotional albums too.

8. He was interested in penning lyrics for all songs for an album, and known for completing his work within the speculated time.

9. He owns the credit of forming successful combo with all leading music composers between mid-1970s and mid-1990s.

10. The title of the famous movie, Manichitrathazhu was coined from the song, Pazhamthamizhpaatt, he penned for the album.

11. He introduced many words that are not commonly used in the mainstream film lyric vocabulary.

Popular film songs penned by Bichu Thirumala

s. janaki malayalam hits

Title track of Thenum Vayambum sung by Janaki

  1. Vaakapoo Maram Choodum from Anubhavam
  2. Ottakambi Naadam from Thenum Vayambum
  3. Title track of Thenum Vayambum
  4. Mainakam from Trishna
  5. Shruthiyil Ninnunarum from Trishna
  6. Aalipazham from My Dear Kuttichathan
  7. Minnaaminungum from My Dear Kuttichathan
  8. Rakendu Kiranangal from Avalude Raavukal
  9. Unni Aarariro from Avalude Raavukal
  10. Padakali from Yodha
  11. Kunukune from Yodha
  12. Mizhiyariyaathe from Niram
  13. Prayam Nammil from Niram
  14. Kannaam Thumpee from Kakkothikkavile Appooppan Thaadikal
  15. Manassil Ninnum from Kadinjool Kalyanam
  16. Ezhuswarangalum from Chiriyo Chiri
  17. Kokkaamandi from Chiriyo Chiri
  18. Samaya Radhangalil from Chiriyo Chiri
  19. Oru Mayilpeeliyaay from Aniyaatha Valakal
  20. Poonkaattinodum from Poomukhapadiyil Ninneyum Kaathu
  21. Konche Karayalle from Poomukhapadiyil Ninneyum Kaathu
  22. Snehathin Poonchola from Pappayude Swantham Appoos
  23. Enn Poove Pon Poove from Pappayude Swantham Appoos
  24. Olathumpathu from Pappayude Swantham Appoos
  25. Paalnilaavinum from Kabooliwala
  26. Puthen Puthukaalam from Kabooliwala
  27. Pirannoree Mannum from Kabooliwala
  28. Kaboolivala Naadoodi from Kabooliwala
  29. Pranayasarovara Theeram from Innale Innu
  30. Hridayam Devalayam from Teruvu Geetham
  31. En Swaram Poovidum from Anupallavi
  32. Neela Jalasayathil from Angeekaram
  33. Naladamayanthi Kadhayile from Rowdy Ramu
  34. Mizhiyoram from Manjil Virinja Pookkal (2 versions)
  35. Manjadi Kunnil from Manjil Virinja Pookkal
  36. Manjani Kombil/ Manjani Kunnil from Manjil Virinja Pookkal
  37. Pazham Tamizh from Manichitrathazhu
  38. Oru Murai Vanthu from Manichitrathazhu (along with Vaali)
  39. Kaattu Thaarattum from Ahimsa
  40. Paavada Venam from Angadi
  41. Kannum Kannum Thammil from Angadi
  42. Kannippalunke Ponninkinaave from Angadi
  43. Pookkalam Vannu from Godfather
  44. Manthrikochamma Varunnundee from Godfather
  45. Pookkalam Vannu Pookkalam from Godfather
  46. Oru Madhura Kinavin from Kaanamarayathu
  47. Kasthuriman Kurunne from Kaanamarayathu
  48. Swarna Meeninte from Sarpam
  49. Penninte Chenchundil from Guruji Oru Vakku
  50. Venpakal Thirayo Nizhalaattamo from Guruji Oru Vakku
  51. Unnam Marannu from In Harihar Nagar
  52. Title track from Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam
  53. Punchiriyude Poovilikalil from Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam
  54. Vazhappoonkilikal from Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam
  55. Kilukil Pambaram/ Panineer Chandrike from Kilukkam
  56. Ootypattanam from Kilukkam
  57. Meena Venalil from Kilukkam
  58. Kannodu Kannoram Nee from Ente Mamattikuttiyammakku
  59. Mounangale Chaanchaduvan from Ente Mamattikuttiyammakku
  60. Aalorungi Arangorungi from Ente Mamattikuttiyammakku
  61. Thaimanikkunju Thennal from Ente Mamattikuttiyammakku
  62. Aayiram Kannumayi from Nokkethadoorath Kannum Nattu
  63. Laathiri Poothiri from Nokkethadoorath Kannum Nattu
  64. Kiliye Kiliye from Nokkethadoorath Kannum Nattu
  65. Nakshatra Deepangal from Nirakudam
  66. Kulambadi Thalam from Jackpot
  67. Thaazhvaram from Jackpot
  68. Pavanarachezhuthunna from Vietnam Colony
  69. Pathiraavaay Neram from Vietnam Colony
  70. Lallam Paadunna from Vietnam Colony
  71. Nananju Neriya Patturummal from Ente Mohangal Poovaninju
  72. Kaalindee Theeram Thannil from April 18
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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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