Vayalar Rama Varma who is often called as just Vayalar was a prestigeous Malayalam poet and lyricist. He was born in the village of Vayalar, in Alappuzha district, Kerala. Though he belonged to an aristocratic family, inspired by revolutionary ideals, he became a poet. He was associated with the leftist political movement in Kerala during his day.
Vayalar has written over 2000 songs for 223 Malayalam movies and for several plays. His famous works include Sargasangeetham, Mulankaadu, Padamudrakal, Aayisha and Oru Judas janikkunnu. The “Vayalar-Devarajan” was a prolific lyricist-composer combination which lasted till the death of Vayalar. Devarajan was a noted Malayalam music composer who scored music for more than three hundred Malayalam films in his days. He won the President’s gold medal for best lyricist in 1974, not to mention four Kerala state film award for best lyricist and a National Film Awards for the same. In his memory, the Vayalar award for Malayalam literature is given on October 27 each year.
His poems contain romantic notions about “revolution” and about the triumph of science over religion. Even decades after his death, the movie songs he wrote are still popular among Malayalis. His most popular song is the one he wrote for theatre, the KPAC naatakagaanam, “Balikudeerangalae”. Recently, his wife Bharathy Thamburatty wrote a book about Vayalar, Indradhanussin theerathu, which became controversial.
He is considered a legend in the field of malayalam film song writing in Kerala. He has produced a number of hit songs with music directors like Devarajan, Salil chaudary, Dakshina murthy and singers like yesudas, Jayachandran and P Suseela. The only malayalam film song sung by Lata Mangeshkar (Kadali Chenkadali) from the movie Nellu in 1974 was penned by him. Malayalam film song critics say that Malayalam film songs lost its literary perfection after his death.