M. M. Keeravani’s Birthday: Celebrating A Pan-India Virtuoso

On M. M. Keeravani’s birthday, we’re looking at compositions that demonstrate his prowess in creating evocative melodies that resonate with audiences across the country
M. M. Keeravani’s Birthday: Celebrating A Pan-India Virtuoso
M. M. Keeravani’s Birthday: Celebrating A Pan-India Virtuoso

Music maestro Koduri Marakathamani Keeravani began his career as an assistant music director in 1987. Since then, he has composed numerous chart-topping songs and mesmerized audiences with his exceptional musical talent. His contributions to Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam films have left an indelible mark on the music scene. With his exceptional compositions and collaborations with talented artists, his melodies continue to resonate with audiences even years after their release. M. M. Keeravani has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including an Academy Award this year!

M. M. Keeravani's exceptional talent, diverse body of work, and numerous accolades make him a prominent figure in pan-Indian film music. He continues to captivate audiences with his melodious compositions and remains an influential force in the industry. Here are 13 notable compositions by M. M. Keeravani on his birthday:

Sangeetha Swarangal - Azhagan (1991)

In his Tamil alter-ego as Maragathamani, he scored a jackpot first film with none other than K Balachander himself. The legendary director, having worked on a series of great albums with THE Illaiyaraaja, took a chance with this new Telugu composer and he delivered big time, winning the Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Music Director in 1991. The best in the album is arguably, Sangeetha Swarangal, which plays over Mammootty and Bhanupriya, as they pull an all-nighter talking to each other over their cordless phones.

Thelusa Manasa and Tu Mile Dil Khile - Criminal (1994)

‘Thelusa Manasa' and its Hindi version ‘Tu Mile Dil Khile’ might just be Keeravani's most sensual composition. Once again penned by Sirivennela Sitaramasastri, the lyrics express how badly the newlyweds, played by Nagarjuna and Manisha Koirala, are drawn towards each other, both physically and emotionally, with with the vocals of KS Chithra and SP Balasubrahmanyam (Telugu) and Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik (Hindi) bringing a dream-like quality to the song. M. M. Kreem's music creates a mesmerizing ambiance, seamlessly blending with the romantic narrative of the film.

Celebrating A Pan-India Virtuoso
Celebrating A Pan-India Virtuoso

Shishirakala - Devaragam (1996)

It’s very difficult to pick just one great song from M. M. Keeravani’s Devaragam, a complete album in every sense. Directed by Bharathan, the 1996 film is assumed to be M. M. Keeravani’s first (and only) film in Malayalam, although he had already worked on Mammootty’s Neelagiri and Suryamanasam before that. For many, ‘Sasikala Chartiya’ is the first song that comes to mind when one thinks of Devaragam, a song that won KS Chitra the State Award for the year. Just as good is ‘Ya Ya Ya Yadava’, which Chitra sang along with P. Unnnikrishnan. But a personal favourite remains the sensuous title track ‘Shishirakala Megha Midhuna…’ an elegant, timeless composition.

Gali Mein Aaj Chaand Nikla - Zakhm (1998)

‘Gali Mein Aaj Chaand Nikla’ is a beautiful song composed by M. M. Kreem for the acclaimed film Zakhm. This song delves into the complexities of love and relationships, evoking both joy and longing. Alka Yagnik's exceptional vocals add a touch of depth and melancholy to the composition. The heartfelt lyrics by Anand Bakshi perfectly capture the protagonist's emotions of pain and yearning. M. M. Kreem's composition shines with its haunting melody and impactful instrumentation. The song's simplicity and emotional resonance leave a lasting impact on the listeners, making it a standout piece.

Aa Bhi Jaa Aa Bhi Jaa - Sur (2002)

‘Aa Bhi Jaa Aa Bhi Jaa’ captures the essence of unrequited love. Sung by the versatile singer Lucky Ali, his soulful voice brings out the depth and intensity of the emotions portrayed in the song. The lyrics, penned by Nida Fazli, strike a chord with the listeners, expressing the yearning for the beloved to return. M. M. Kreem's composition is characterized by intricate melodies, skillful use of instruments, and evocative transitions. The orchestration, combined with the soul-stirring vocals, makes this composition an unforgettable piece of music.

M. M. Keeravani playing the synthesizer
M. M. Keeravani playing the synthesizer

Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai and Chalo Tumko Lekar - Jism (2003)

‘Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai’ and ‘Chalo Tumko Lekar’ from the film Jism display M. M. Kreem's talent in crafting music that stirs deep emotions and flawlessly enhances the film's storyline. These songs, with their captivating tunes, heartfelt vocals, and masterful arrangement, have achieved iconic status in Bollywood music and have had a profound impact on listeners, ensuring a lasting and joyful memory. ‘Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai’ is a sensuous and seductive song that exudes passion and desire, perfectly complementing the film's intense storyline. Sung by the talented Shreya Ghoshal, her captivating voice adds allure and mystique to the song. The lyrics by Neelesh Misra aptly portray the intoxicating effect of love. ‘Chalo Tumko Lekar’ creates a charming and captivating atmosphere. The melody of the composition is both sultry and captivating, beautifully enhancing the themes of love and lust. M. M. Kreem created a haunting background score that adds to the song's overall allure, making it an iconic composition in Bollywood.

O Sathiya - Saaya (2003)

‘O Sathiya’ is a poignant love ballad composed by Kreem for Saaya. This composition explores the depths of love and the pain of separation. Sung by the talented Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik, their emotive rendition brings out the emotional essence of the song. M. M. Kreem's composition is characterized by the evocative instrumentation used in this song. The lyrics, penned by Anand Bakshi, are timeless.

Maine Dil Se Kaha - Rog (2005)

In ‘Maine Dil Se Kaha’, M. M. Kreem uses KK’s soulful and haunting vocals to perfectly complement the introspective nature of the composition. The heartfelt lyrics by Neelesh Misra resonate with the listeners, expressing the protagonist's yearning for love and solace. The composition creates a sense of introspection and emotional depth, with its minimalistic yet impactful arrangement. The interplay of instruments adds a layer of serenity and melancholy to the composition, making it a memorable piece of music. This soul-stirring song garnered attention, particularly after the demise of actor Irrfan Khan, who featured in the movie.

M. M. Kreem in the studio
M. M. Kreem in the studio

Dheere Jalna and Khaali Hai Tere Bina - Paheli (2005)

‘Dheere Jalna’ and ‘Khaali Hai Tere Bina’ are two enchanting compositions by M. M. Kreem from Amol Palekar’s Paheli. These songs beautifully capture the essence of love, longing, and the mystique of a magical tale replete with the most charming ghost. ‘Dheere Jalna’ is sung beautifully by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal, while ‘Khaali Hai Tere Bina’ is rendered by the soulful vocals of Hariharan and Bela Shende. The lyrics, penned by Gulzar, perfectly complement the ethereal nature of the songs. M. M. Kreem's compositions transport listeners to a world of enchantment and romance. The melodies are characterized by their serene arrangements, and seamless fusion of traditional Indian and contemporary sounds. The entire Paheli album is highly recommended.

Evaraina Chusuntara - Anukokunda Oka Roju (2005)

'Evaraina Chusuntara' has a jolly-good, playful vibe that makes it an instant earworm. This dance number, penned by the great Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry, expresses child-like imagination, blurring the lines between what's possible and impossible and filling you with hope. Smita voices Charmi's energetic Sahasra as she sings and dances around with kids from her apartment. This song captures the amusement and buoyancy of the on-screen characters and effortlessly transfers the uplifting mood to the listener. 'Evaraina Chusuntara' sends you back to your childhood for a few minutes, a time when everything—from the stars to the moon—felt within your reach.

Rabbaru Gajulu - Yama Donga (2007)

When M. M. Keeravani works with Rajamouli, there's no stopping him. And if it's a massy dance number, the music composer makes sure theatres erupt. There have been many songs like 'Nuvvu Vijilesthey' from Simhadri, 'A Vachi B Pai Vale' from Chatrapathi, and 'Jorsey' from Magadheera on these lines but 'Rabbaru Gajulu' is just something else. The peppy song from Yama Donga, penned by Ananta Sriram, is an insanely addictive dance number that remains fresh and charming to date, 16 years after its original release. The fast beats and fun interludes designed to let Jr NTR flaunt his dancing skills make this song such a lively, 'massy' piece of composition.

M. M. Keeravani playing the violin
M. M. Keeravani playing the violin

Roolar - Dhammu (2012)

'Roolar' from Dhammu isn't as celebrated as his Bahubali tracks, and part of it is attributed to the fact that visuals fail to match up to the grandeur of the composition, but as a song, this one is epic in every sense. The outrageous heroism in the song can feel uncalled for, especially in the context of the story, but the music and orchestration are simply other-worldly, and you cannot help but get mesmerised by the energy and majesty of its sound.

Dandalayya - Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017)

When Amerendra Bahubali chooses the love of his life, Devasena, over a life of royalty, he is embraced by the commoners of Mahashmitha as one of their own. At this crucial juncture of the narrative, MM Keeravani's 'Dandalayya' brilliantly balances and juxtaposes the epicness of Amerendra Bahubali's aura with the simplicity of his life, accurately reflecting its utility in the story. It is a love letter to a king written by his people with utmost reverence, with the lyrics and grand orchestration reaffirming that a king is always a king.

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