Chenthaar Nermukhi

(Translation on request for RA)
Kunjunni, a kathakali artist and Uma, a mohiniyattam dancer, connect because of their passion for their respective art forms and fall in love. Classical dance songs are the hardest to translate, I always wonder if I got it right.

To listen to the song, click play:

Chenthaar nermukhi*… sakhi**, chenthaar nermukhi
[Hey beautiful lotus… dear, beautiful lotus]
Njaan ee virahathin chentheeyil neerum kadha
priyathamanodu ura cheyyaan kaniyille?
[The story of how I am burning in this flame of loneliness
won’t you go tell that to my darling, kindly?]
Nee udaara alle?
[Aren’t you (a) generous (lotus)? ]

Chenthaar nermukhi… sakhi…
[Hey beautiful lotus… dear…]

Mathi nermukhi…
Mathi nermukhi ente priyathaman*** vannanayum madhura muhoorthavum kinaavu kandu?
[That is enough, beautiful…
[That is enough, beautiful, are you dreaming of the sweet moment my love will reach here?]
Maruvunna madanante hridayathin ashwaasam
pakarunna sakhiyallaathaareyullu? Sakhiyallaathaareyullu?
[The solace to the embracing lover’s heart
who else can give other than you, my dear? Who else other than you, my dear?]

Chenthaar nermukhi… sakhi…
[Hey beautiful lotus… dear…]

Yaamini mukham aeka thaarakathinaal deeptham
[The night’s face is aglow with a single star(‘s light)]
Kaamini*** mukham manjin mukhapadathaale
mukhapadathaale…manjin mukhapadathaale
[And my lover’s face with a veil of fog
with a veil… with a veil of fog]
[The beautiful]
Nalamezhum mazhavillin aezhu nirangal maathram
navarasamilitham en kaamini mukham
[In the beautiful rainbow, there are only seven colors
(but) All nine expressions blossom on my lover’s face]
Kaamini mukham… kaamini mukham
[on my lover’s face…on my lover’s face]

Kaathara nishaagandhi…Ahhh
[The timid nishaagandhi flower]
Kaathara nishaagandhi sourabham, pavithramaam
paathiraa poojaykkulla dhooma sugandham
[The timid nishaagandhi’s perfume, (becomes) the sacred
night worship’s fumes of fragrance]
dhooma sugandham
[fumes of fragrance]

Sakhi, chenthaar nermukhi
Sakhi, chenthaar nermukhi
[Dear, beautiful lotus
Dear, beautiful lotus]
Mathi nermukhi, mathi nermukhi
[That is enough, That is enough]
Sakhi, chenthaar nermukhi
[Dear, beautiful lotus]

*Nermukhi – literally means “straight face”.
**Sakhi is a close female friend. I would think addressing someone as sakhi in olden days is equivalent to saying “Hey girl!” between friends today.
***Priyathaman and Kaamini essentially have similar meaning – darling/lover/bae – for different gender though. Priyathaman is a male and Kaamini is a female.

2 thoughts on “Chenthaar Nermukhi

  1. The song which I loved and have always wanted to know. In fact, I have insatiable appetite for it! Now, I cannot enough thank to express my inner gratitude!You are SUPERB….:) Thank you from the bottom of my hridhayam! Waiting eagerly for Etho Ravil, one of my best tempo-rapid songs! I wil still try to remember the meaning, as if reading a malayalam translation song for the first time

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