മറുവാക്ക് കേള്ക്കാന് കാത്തുനില്ക്കാതെ….
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Early life and family
Johnson was born in a musically affluent Christian family in Nellikkunnu, Thrissur
, Kerala, on 26 March 1953. His father was a Bank employee. Johnson was a singer in the choir of Nellikkunnu St. Sebastain's Church. He obtained training in guitar
from his colleagues during this early periods itself. He used to sing in youth festivals and musical shows and joined the orchestra team of some local troupes and played harmonium in many concerts. He also used to sing in the female voice in ganamelas(a stage show where film songs are sung by local or proffessional artists). Johnson once in an interview recalled that his remuneration was just Rs. 10 per show during this time.
In 1968, Johnson and his friends formed a club named Voice of Thrissur. Johnson was the main instrumentalist in the club where he played wide varieties of instruments – guitar, harmonium, flute
. Within a few years, the club became one of the most sought after musical troups in Kerala, and had more than fifty members. This club used to give accompaniment music to playback singers Jayachandran
in their musical shows. It was Jayachandran who introduced Johnson to G. Devarajan
, one of the most prolific composers of South Indian cinema then. Devarajan literally adopted Johnson and brought him to Chennai
in 1974. Johnson bought an accordion
, during this period, from R. K. Shekhar
(A. R. Rahman
's father), and began assisting Devarajan in filmscoring and composing. The "Johnson effect" can be easily noted in Devarajan's songs and film scores of this period.
Johnson is married to Rani and has two children, Shan and Renn.
Film scoring and soundtracks
Johnson began his independent career by composing the film scores of Bharathan
(1980) and Chamaram
(1980). He composed his first soundtracks for the film Inaye Thedi
, debut film of director turned still photographer Antony Eastman and actress Silk Smitha
. It was Devarajan himself, who suggested Johnson to the director. Then cameBharathan
and Balachandra Menon
was a notable success with four of its songs – "Swapnam Verumoru Swapnam", "Nee Nirayoo Jeevanil", "Muthum Mudipponnum" and "Kalakalamozhi" attaining cult status.
He came to prominence through his collaboration with Malayalam author and director Padmarajan
was their first venture, which had one of the most famous songs of Johnson "Aadivaa Kaatte", a pathbreaking song in Malayalam music history. It was one of the first songs in Malayalam to have a grant orchestral score and the song was born out of Padmarajan's need for a western song for his innovative film. Song composition took place in Woodland's Hotel, Chennai
. Another notable feature of this song was the lyrics by O. N. V. Kurup
, who for the first time wrote lyrics for a pre-composed song. Johnson worked for 17 films with Padmarajan, including his last film Njan Gandharvan
. This productive collaboration saw the detailed screenplay and cinematography of Padmarajan become a fertile ground for expressive musical narration and thematic scores for Johnson. This is seen in some of the greatest motion pictures of Malayalam cinema, like Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal
(1986), Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam
(1990). Another notable collaboration of Johnson was with director Sathyan Anthikkad
, with whom he associated in almost 25 films. He was able to provide some of his most popular songs with Anthikkad and this combo is widely accepted to be one of the greatest director-composer collaborations in Malayalam cinema. Acclaimed Malayalam directorBharathan
also collabrated with him in multiple films including Parvathy, Palangal, Ormakkayi, Kattathe Kilikkoodu, Ente Upasana, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Ozhivukalam,Malootty, Chamayam
. His major other collaborations with directors include Mohan (Oru Katha Oru Nunakkatha, Sakshyam, Pakshe
and Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu
), Sibi Malayil
(Kireedam, Chenkol, Dasaratham
and Nee Varuvolam
and Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala
(Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal, Shubhayathra, Ee Puzhayum Kadannu
and Paavam Paavam Rajakumaran
), and Balachandra Menon
(Shesham Kazhchayil, Premageethangal, Kilukilukkam
and Kelkatha Shabdam
He is also noted for his collaboration with the Malayalam lyricist Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri
. Their association began in 1989 with Sathyan Anthikkad
's social satire Varavelpu
. Most of Jonhnson's notable works came in late eighties and early nineties. In 1991, he scored a record number of 31 films, including 29 with Kaithapram. Johnson won National awards for two consecutive years. He won his first National Award in 1994 for the motion picture Ponthan Mada
(1993). The next year he got his second award for Sukrutham
. Both the awards were for the background score in films.
After an extremely successful career of more than a decade, Johnson took a sabattical from film scoring by the end of nineties. The quality and quantity of his works began perishing during this time. By the beginning of 2000s, he didn't sign any new projects that even his most noted collaborator Sathyan Anthikkad had to find a new composer. In 2004, he sang the song "Theekuruvi" from Kangalal Kaidhu Sei
, which was composed by A. R. Rahman
. Perhaps it is the only song recorded by him for any composer. He returned strongly to the field withPhotographer
in 2006, which fetched him numerous awards.
Currently, Johnson is working on five films simultaneously.
Johnson has released four non-film albums. His first album Sneha Deepika
was released in 1989 on Tharangini audios. It had nine Christian devotional songs – "Aathma Swaroopa", "Unni Yesu Pirannu", "Manninum Poovinum", "Thumbapoo Polulla", "Bhoomikku Pulakam", "Manassakumengil", "Kulir Choodum", "Arthungal Innoru" and "Vidarnna Punchiri". The featured artists were K. J. Yesudas
, K. S. Chithra
His second album Onathappan
, a collaboration with M. G. Radhakrishnan
, consisted of nine festival songs. The track "Mundon Paadam" was composed by Johnson, sung by M. G. Sreekumar
and had lyrics penned by Bichu Thirumala
His third album Nannipoorvam Johnson
, consisted of twelve tracks – "Chandanakkavilinnu", "Panineeru Peyyum", "Vasundhare", "Virunnu Vanna", "Prapanjam Sundaram", "Enthe Nee Varathe", "Nilasandhyayil", "Veruthe Onnu", "Ponnazhikkuttu", "Pranayappirave", "Kalindhi", and an introductory speech by Sreenivasan
. In 2009, he released his second Christian devotional album entitled Parishudhan
. It had eleven tracks – "Vazhiyum Sathyavum Nee Thanne (Vijay Yesudas
), "Mullukal Kuthi" (Chithra
), "Ariyathe Polum" (G. Venugopal
), "Neethimanayavane" (Sujatha
), "Traditional song" (Louis), "Mazhayum Veyilum" (Rimi Tomy
), "Oru Viral Sparshathal (Sudheep), "Loka Palaka" (Chithra), Neethanthamam (Vijay Yesudas), and "Kannukalil Theliyum" (Manjari
Music style and impact
His skilful integration of textual rhythm of the lyrics together with rich tonal arrangement, redefined songwriting in Malayalam cinema, since the late 1980s. In his film scores, Johnson combines native South Indian melodic patterns with the harmonic structure of European classical music and this has attained an expressive form of narration through film score.
He composed for about 300 films. Though he has obtained no formal training in classical music, he was able to incorporate the beauty of Carnatic ragas
in his songs. Most of his songs were composed on Kalyani raga
. He changed the old music concept to the new version. He created a lot of hits based on his back ground music because those were emotionally touching.
Johnson's favourite male singer is K. J. Yesudas
, who has recorded many songs for him, while S. Janaki
and K. S. Chithra
are his favourite female singers. Chithra had some of her most noted songs with Johnson.
Johnson is fondly called Johnson Master (Johnson Mashu) by Malayalee audiences. He is affectionately described as the "John Williams of Malayalam cinema", after the Hollywood composer John Williams
Johnson won the National Film Award for Best Background Score
for the films Ponthan Mada
(1994) and Sukrutham
Johnson is the only composer to receive this rarely given award twice. He was the first Malayalee music composer to receive an award in music category and is also the only Malayalee music director who received two national awards in music category. He has received three Kerala State Film Award for Best Music Director
, for the films Ormakkayi
and Mazhavil Kavadi
(1989), and Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu
(1999). He was awarded the Kerala State Film Award for Best Background Music
for the films Sadayam
(1992) and Sallapam
(1996). He has thus received five Kerala State Film Awards in music category, an achievement he shares with Devarajan. He has received the Kerala Film Critics Awards four times, the most recent in 2008 for Gulmohar
. In 2007, he won the Mathruboomi Award for Best Music Director for Photographer
He won the Mullasserry Raju Music Award for the song "Enthe Kannanu Karuppu Niram", also from the same film. In addition, he has received numerous other awards and nominations including Devarajan Master Memorial Award and Raveendran Master Memorial Award.
In addition, he has received numerous other awards and nominations including Devarajan Master Memorial Award and Raveendran Master Memorial Award.
Original scores and soundtracks
The following lists out the films in which Johnson composed the background score but not songs.
- Parishudhan (2009)
- Nannipoorvam Johnson
- Sneha Deepika (1989)
In an interview with Malayala Manorama
, Johnson listed the following 13 songs as his favourite songs.
Johnson passed away on 18th August 2011 at 8.30 PM IST due to heart attack.