Thiruvananthapuram: Eminent lyricist Bichu Thirumala, known for a handful of evergreen superhit songs in Malayalam cinema which still make music buffs nostalgic, passed away at a private hospital here following a cardiac arrest on Friday, family sources said.
He was 80 and was suffering from various health issues and had been under ventilator support for some days, they said. A prolific lyricist who penned various genres of songs from lullabies and romantic songs to fast numbers and devotional ones, Thirumala had over 3000 film songs and about 2000 devotional songs to his credit during his career spanning over three decades from 1970s.
Born on February 13, 1942 in Sasthamangalam in the capital city, he was originally named as B Sivasankaran Nair but he later adopted his pet name ‘Bichu’ while turning into a creative career as a lyricist.
After entering tinseltown as an assistant director of filmmaker M Krishnan Nair for the 1970 movie “Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha”, Bichu Thirumala later tried his luck as a lyricist for the movie “Bhajagovindam”, which however was not released.
“Akkaldama”, produced by eminent actor Madhu, was the first film to be released with songs written by Thirumala.
He worked with a handful of iconic music composers including the legendary A R Rahman and M S Baburaj during his stint as lyricist.
The lyrics of the evergreen popular song “Padakali”, composed by Rahman in the Mohanlal-starrer Yodha, was penned by Thirumala.
He won the state awards for the best lyricist in 1981 and 1991 for the movies “Thrishana”, “Thenum Vayambum” and “Kadinjoolkalyanam” respectively.
Thirumala also tried his hand in script writing in the movie “Istapraneswari” and dialogues in the film “Shakthi.”
He is survived by wife Prasanna and son Suman.
Condoling his death, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan tweeted, “Sad to know about the demise of Shri Bichu Thirumala, noted lyricist and poet whose melodies penned over three decades enthralled all sections of people alike.”
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remembered Thirumala’s contributions as lyricist and said he was a writer who had popularised the film songs and made them closer to the people.