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Malayalam Movies and Songs

KP Udayabhanu

Born6th June, 1936
Died5th January, 2014
Native PlacePalakkad
CareerSinging (63 songs from 40 Movies), Music (22 songs from 6 Movies), Cast (1)
First MovieNairu Pidicha Pulivaalu (1958)
Last MovieThaanthonni (2010)

KP Udayabhanu was born to NS Varma and Smt Ammu Nethyaramma at Tharur in Palakkad district of Kerala on June 6, 1936. Nephew of the renowned leader of freedom movement and founder chief editor of Mathrubhoomi K P Kesava Menon, Udayabhanu spent his childhood in Singapore where his father ran a business. Losing his mother at the tender age of seven, he returned to his homeland in 1944 along with his siblings. At Palakkad, the children grew up under the watchful eyes of their maternal uncle K P Appukkutta Menon.

Udayabhanu joined the Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidyalaya in Kalpathy, where he came under the tutelage of legends like Flute Krishna Iyer, Palakkad Mani Iyer and MD Ramanathan. Although fairly and deeply entrenched in the classical tradition, he chose light music and playback singing as his chief domains.

Udayabhanu began his career as an announcer at the Kozhikode station of All India Radio In 1955. The stint at AIR brought him closer to a galaxy of gifted writers and musicians like P Bhaskaran, K Raghavan, Thikkodian, Santha P Nair and K Padmanabhan Nair. This also paved way for his entry into film music. Udayabhanu went on to record many unforgettable melodies, besides proving his mettle as a gifted composer.
Udayabhanu made his bow as a playback singer in the film Nayaru Pidicha Pulivaalu (1958). He sang a solo, Enthinithra Panchasara, and a duet (with P Leela), Velutha Penne under the baton of composer K Raghavan. The songs were penned by P Bhaskaran, who also directed the movie.

For Udayabhanu, the journey had just begun. He went on to sing around 60 film songs were super hits. His repertoire of songs include timeless classics like Kaanana Chayayil (with P Leela in Ramanan), Anuraga Nadakathin (Ninamaninja Kalppadukal) and Thaamarathumbee Vaavaa (with Leela in Puthiya Aakasham Puthiya Bhoomi). Udayabhanu has also donned the role of a music director in a few films like Samasya and Mayilpeeli. Kili Chilachu (Samasya), penned by ONV and sung by KJ Yesudas, is one of his most memorable songs as a composer.

Udayabhanu was also a top-ranking music composer in Kerala, as notified by the Govt of India, in recognition of his 38-year-long stint with the AIR, where he had broadcast light music and light classical music, and composed musical features besides conducting choral groups.

In 1984, Udayabhanu launched the Old Is Gold ganamela troupe, for the revival of the golden era of Malayalam film music.

He was staying in Thiruvananthapuram, looking after the activities of Udayabhanu Foundation. He was also an integral part of all musical happenings happening in Trivandrum and elsewhere. His wife Vijayalakshmi, who was also a talented singer is no more. He has one son Rajeev who is running his own business.

Adapted from KP Udayabhanu Foundation website.

Prepared by: Sreedevi Pillai


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