Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup, popularly known as ONV Kurup or simply and endearingly ONV. He is one among the leading poets of Malayalam literature who has won the “Jnanpith Award” in the year 2007 for his overall contributions to Malayalam literature. He was a well-known professor and prose writer. Also, the most popular lyricist of Malayalam cinema since 80’s who has given unparalleled contributions to the music world in the form of ‘golden words’. ONV Kurup played a leading role in the evolution of modern Malayalam Poetry and was a part of the progressive movement in Kerala and penned some of the most remembered poems and film lyrics.
He has been awarded with several awards as a poet like Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, Kendra Sahitya Academy Award, Vayalar Award, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Pushkin Prize etc. As a lyricist, he has been awarded the national film award for best lyricist in 1989 for the film Vaishali and won the Kerala state film awards for best lyricist 13 times. Also, he has been awarded with civilian awards – Padma Shri and Padmavibhushan.
ONV is more likely to be remembered for his lyrics than his poems. Many of his songs would qualify as standalone romantic or lyrical poems. His collaborations with music directors, Devarajan, Dakshinamoorthy, Salil Choudhary,Bomby Ravi and most importantly, M B Sreenivasan, resulted in the creation of some of Kerala’s finest popular music.
“Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory”, wrote Shelley. The music in ONV’s works will live long. He once wrote: “In the quest for something, without the search/gaining something, missing others/in the vision of something, blind to the rest/singing a few tunes, silent otherwise/I enjoy this journey”. It was a journey that enriched Kerala’s public life. The fireflies shall inspire “the glorious moment of resurrection” of the free human spirit.