Pulloottupadathu Bhaskaran (21 April 1924 – 25 February 2007), better known as P. Bhaskaran, was a Malayalam poet and lyricist of Malayalam film songs. He penned more than 3000 songs for about 250 films. He also directed 44 Malayalam feature films and 3 documentaries, produced 6 feature films and acted in several movies. For his overall contributions to Malayalam cinema, he was awarded J.C.Daniel Lifetime Achievement Award by the Government of Kerala.
He was also a journalist and an All India Radio employee before becoming active in the film industry. He was well known for simple use of the language in his songs and poems.
P. Bhaskaran was born on 21 April 1924 in Kodungallur, Thrissur district. His father, Nandyelathu Padmanabha Menon was a poet, lawyer, journalist and Indian independence activist. His mother was Pulloottupadathu Ammalu Amma. His father died when he was studying in fifth standard. He started to write poems when he was studying in 7th standard. He studyied in Maharajas College, Eranakulam. He used to write poems in a local magazine. For taking part in the August Struggle, he was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. After getting released, he went to Kozhikode and joined Deshabhimani Weekly.
P. Bhaskaran started to write songs for communist stage performers. His songs were banned in the (then) State of Travancore. His first collection of poems was released in the title Villali. During the Communist Rebellion in Punnapra-Vayalar, he wrote a song titled Vayalar Garjikkunnu (Vayalar Roars) under the pen name Ravi. The song, starting with the lines Uyarum Njan Nadake… rose to legendary stature in the days to come, during which the song was banned and he was expatriated from the (then) State of Travancore as per the orders of Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. Then he went to Chennai (then Madras) to join the editorial board of the Jayakeralam. He used to write songs for Akashavani and that helped him to secure a job in Kozhikode Akashavani. In 1950’s, he got associated with the film industry. He quit his job in Akashavani and went to Chennai to start full-time film career. The lyrics for the theme song of Malayalam channel Asianet, starting Shyama Sundara was also written by him.
P. Bhaskaran’s debut as a lyricist was for a Tamil film. He wrote the Malayalam lines for a multi-linguistic song in film Apurva Sahodarangal (1949). The first Malayalam film song for which he wrote lyrics was “Madhumadhuri…” for the film Chandrika (1950). He worked with director P. Venu in his films Viruthan Shanku (1968), Virunnukari (1969), and Ariyapedatha Rahasiyam (1981) and produced some evergreen songs.
In 1954, Bhaskaran along with Ramu Kariat directed the film Neelakkuyil. The movie is regardedas ushering in social realism in Malayalam cinema. It got the President’s Silver Medal, first ever national recognition for a Malayalam film. He was also a film director. His films Adyakiranangal (1964), Iruttinte Athmavu (1969), and Thurakkatha Vathil (1971) went on to win National Film Awards for various categories. He also acted in several films including Neelakkuyil. Happeared in the film Manoradham (1978), as a strict family head who has deep faith in astrology. He also directed several documentaries including the award winning Vallathol.
P. Bhaskaran suffered from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of his life, and could not recognize anyone who worked with him. Two notable experiences were those from music director M. K. Arjunan, whose first film songs were written by him, and singer S. Janaki, who sang most of the songs written by him (Along with K. J. Yesudas). The last film for which he wrote lyrics was ‘Soudamini’, released in 2003. He died on 25 February 2007 at Thiruvananthapuram aged 83. He was cremated with full state honours at Thycaud Santhikavadam crematorium. He is survived by his wife,Indiraand four children.