So much has been written about K.J.Yesudas that it becomes tough to glean the fluff from the truth,myth from reality.Yet. like his songs, Yesudas and his life continue to fascinate. Trying to unravel some lesser known facts about the singer is the theme of musicologist Ravi Menon’s latest book in Malayalam– “Athisayaragam”. “On Nov 14th Yesudas celebrates his 50th year of playback singing. This prompted me to think about writing this book. To write about him proved to be a challenge because he is such a familiar figure and his life is so transparent. The challenge then was to write from a different perspective. That was how I decided to focus on the people who contributed to the growth of this great singer.My search led me to some interesting people,most of them unsung.My attempt has beento bring to the forefront some of the people,” says Ravi.
The author’s attempt is tocreate aportrait of the singer, one that has been painted so may times. The book opens rather dramatically. The first time Yesudas’s voice was heard inside a recording studio was on Nov 14 1961.The author fondly remembers the men, especially the producer of the land mark movie”Kalpadukkal”who insisted that the young boy be fiven his first break.“sitting down to write, I had to pick and choose from so many incidents and anecdotes related to the life and career of Yesudas. Some of the most engrossingwere that of Karunakaran, the man who struggled to make a name for himself as a sound recordist. Yesudas and his wife Prabha said that they likes this piece the best. They said that despite being associated with Karunakaran, for so long,they did not know much about him.
Music director Allepey Ranganath who almost inspired Yesudas to direct a film, singer Hema whosang with Yesudas for his stage shows,lesser known lyricists and many others are brought back to life through these pages.There are occasions when the authir tends to digress from the main theme. That is because the story of Yesudas is also, in part,the history of Malayalam film music. Contraversies that dogged the singer’s career have been left out. Rare photographs add value to the book. This work is a tribute to Yesudas on the occasion of his golden jubilee in playback singing