By Oshin Anand
Graphics by Anshumaan Sathe
Malayalam is one of the sexiest languages in the world. To me, it is sexier than French because there quirk is etched into the tone of this language. It makes your tongue touch places of your mouth sometimes gently and other times ruthlessly. While it has elegant words like Kaamukan (lover) and Mizhikal (eyes), it can casually be very sarcastic like in this proverb “No matter how lovingly you take care of a leech, it goes back to the garbage”.
A majority of Indian films portray women through and for the eyes of a man and that makes the women distant from what they feel; they only feel what the men want them to. Women in love are crazy. Truly. The things these women say are exceedingly cheesy but also beautiful. Here are some Malayalam songs that talk about women of different eras, their pleasures and their quirky ideas of romance.
DINGIRI DINGALE – KURUP (2021)
I like to think of ‘Dingiri Dingale’ as the tune of the hip sways that a woman makes when she walks. This version of the Sri Lankan Tamil song takes me back to the 70s or 80s when women were breaking out of society’s custom-made cocoons. This song will make you want to wear a flower behind your right ear and sway in your floral skirt. Everyone should love this song more because it was effortlessly sung by Dulquer Salman in his whipped cream voice. Rosamma, to whom this song is addressed, is the woman of our dreams. Rosamma is a heartthrob, a queen. We all want to be Rosammas, and to an extent, we already are Rosammas in our worlds. The name itself sounds sexy and she is someone who personifies a rose flower – stands alone, is beautiful but cannot be caressed easily. She is the woman who flips her hair, and finds pleasure in making men wait in bus stops only to indifferently walk past them wearing her bell-bottoms with high-heels. Rosamma is the kind of woman who everyone wants, but no one can have. She doesn’t care who loves her, because, standing high on her heels, she has no time to look down. When her lover comes back for her, she makes him sardine curry. The gesture seems big to him, but honestly, it is something Rosamma would do for anyone else. I imagine Rosamma swing her hip to the tunes of the guitar in the song and secretly enjoy the attention of these men who can never get her.
ENTE KHALBILE – CLASSMATES (2006)
This is a piece of poetry written by a secret admirer behind a Niqab, to her singer crush. She writes all her desires as a poem and keeps it as a secret too. All the little wishes of hers are bigger than they actually seem. This woman addresses the man she admires as ‘the moon of
her heart”. If you are saying “Calm down, lady”, then please get out! She desires to be the guitar in his arms. That is the way she wants to be treated – strummed and touched. “Why haven’t you touched me despite being in close proximity?” she wonders. Accepting the vulnerability of being in love with someone frees you in a weird way. This feeling of a woman is generally not shown in Indian films because either playing hard to get or losing one’s dignity for love is over- romanticized. There is no in-between. This is one of those songs that makes women like me feel powerful for being in love. It is a feeling of having control over our lives and decisions. Now, what would happen if this secret poem reaches the man’s hands?
AYALA PORICHATHUNDU – VENALIL ORU MAZHA (1979)
This is a love song (more like a letter) written essentially to food and to some extent to a person, by a foodie. I listened to this song for the first time in my twelfth grade when V performed it during our school culturals. I remember some boys making fun of this song and I thank god that I am not dating any of them now, because their idea of romance was very lame. This song is sung by a newly-wed woman who is attracted to her husband and also deeply in love with food. Her love language is to cook for her beau. Her definition of intimacy is sharing a plate of fried mackerel or some good shrimp curry alongside white rice which she compares to freshly picked
Thumba flowers. She attempts to woo her man by listing out the food she would like to eat with him and inviting him for a meal throughout the song. You know she has fallen for the man when she specifically promises to serve him water with dried ginger and lay a grass mat for him to rest after the hearty meal. If love in the form of food is not appreciated, according to this woman, you have not experienced love at all!
ELLARUM CHOLLANU – NEELAKUYIL (1954)
Neeli decides that the right time to tell her love interest about her feelings is while he is picking guavas. The guava, in this song, is a character itself. She bites into the lime-sized guava and breaks into a song. This is a ballad brimming with metaphors. She tosses the bitten guava around playfully and continues singing. In the song, she slyly points out how the man has put on a mask of a cold-hearted person and everyone thinks he has a heart made of stone, but she knows that he is as sweet as a chunk of sugarcane. She knows so well what she wants but hides it in her palms, under her feet and behind her skin. When she gets to the part where she must openly confess her love for him, she chooses not to talk to him eye-to-eye, but to have a little chat with the moon. She then bashfully expresses her desire to get married. The specificity with which she explains her ideal wedding tells us it is her long-running dream. She does not stop there and that’s why I love her even more. She goes on to sing about the tiny pleasure of reddening her lips by chewing betel leaves and ties it to a more intimate pleasure. I feel like Neeli is a star.
Oshin Anand is not great friends with writing. By day, she feels like the main character of Tamil films and by night she is seen angrily crying because of her inability to write. Somewhere in between, she studies Journalism.