Tuesday, January 27, 2015


N.N.Pillai (Narayana Pillai Narayana Pillai) was a highly acclaimed Theater  Actor, Director  and Playwright.He is referred to as the 'Natakacharyan' of Kerala which means he was a 'Guru' ,Master .or Preceptor for Malayalam Drama Field.He wrote, directed and acted in 28 plays and all of them attracted large crowds and were hits.
N.N.Pillai was born in 'Vaikom' to Parents  Narayana Pillai and Parukutty Amma.His father was a Village Officer.After Intermediate course he eloped to Malaysia and worked as an estate manager there.In 1950 he came back and settled at 'Olassa' of Kottayam District in Kerala.He formed a drama troupe 'Viswa Kerala Kala Samithi' in 1952  comprising  mostly of his family members.His wife Chinnammu acted in his earlier plays while his sister Omana and son Vijaya Raghavan acted in important roles of several plays.His son Vijayaraghavan later became a popular film actor.
N.N.Pillai selected social and or political themes mostly and his plays  were noted for the novelty of the themes and uncompromising satire.His powerful and sharp dialogues  used to hit his targets without fail.His plays and dialogues worked as a weapon against corruption,crime and evils prevailed in the society.He criticized politicians and even the judiciary when and where appropriate through his plays.He was dare enough to express the feelings of the masses by his dialogues and the audience cheered and applauded always and his plays were a sensation where ever staged.
He was not interested in costly stage settings and decoration but always inclined to  simplicity.His plays received wide recognition and appreciation.He proved that glamorous artists would be  not necessary for the success of plays but powerful theme and dialogues as well as excellent acting skill is the basic necessity to achieve good results.
N.N.Pillai's troupe  'Viswa Kerala Kala Samithi' was very  active for about four decades.
His popular plays includes 'Kapalika,Cross Belt,Porter Kunjali,Eeswaran Arrestil,Gorilla,Pretha Lokam,Njan Swargathil,Supreme Court' etc.
His plays 'Kapalika', 'Porter Kunjali', and 'Cross Belt' were made into movies which were also big hits.
N.N.Pillai was not interested to act in films but acted in a few films.He acted in films like 'Veluthampi Dalawa,Kapalika,Manushya Bandhangal,Nadodi,Godfather and a Telugu film 'Peddarikam'.
His protagonist role in the movie 'Godfather' received large scale admiration and appreciation for his powerful and excellent acting skill and that role would be enough to remember him for ever.
He wrote two books about the study of dramas and wrote autobiography also.
N.N.Pillai passed away in 1996.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


 On 6th January 2015 marked the 105th birth Anniversary of the great Carnatic Musician and Composer  G.N.Balasubramaniam.His contributions to Carnatic Classical music is looked upon with much amazement and respect by music lovers.
G.N.Balasubramaniam (Gudalur Narayanaswsamy Balasubramaniam) was born on 6th January 1910 in Gudalur near Tanjore,Madras Presidency to parents G.V.Narayanaswamy Iyer and Cisalam Ammal.His father was a High School teacher and music enthusiast.G.N.Balasubramaniam used to hear music concerts of eminent vocalists along with his parents from childhood and was very much inspired in this style of classical music.He was inspired by and fond of singers like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and other exponents.
He completed B.A.(Hons) in English Literature from Madras Christian College.His father wanted him to become a Lawyer but G.N.Balasubramaniam wanted to take music as his career and with that intention he joined for a music course at Annamalai University.He then joined for a diploma course in music under Madras University.He also learnt music from exponents like Madurai Subramania Iyer and Karur Chinnaswami Iyer.Chinnaswamy Iyer who was a maestro in violin was living next to his house and all these situations helped him to nurture,develop and sustain his interest in music.
His debut was in 1928 and he climbed to the peak of success ladder by implementing his own style which was soon followed by his contemporaries.
He got popularized as 'GNB' and his style of singing was acclaimed by music lovers.
He innovated 'laya' control and reducing 'gamakas' to appeal this classic form to laymen and learned alike.His extremely fast gamakam-laden sangathis with strength and weight and twist and turns which came in fast succession along with his sweet voice was liked by all listeners.He was the first concert musician to approach the concept of raga 'alapana' in a step-by step approach.With his charm,fame and yet humble personality, potential disciples sought  his guidance in music.His disciples includes M.L.Vasantha Kumari,Trichur V.Ramachandran,Radha Jayalakshmi,T.R.Balu,Tanjavur S.Kalyanaraman,T.S.Balasubramanian etc.
Along with percussion maestro Palghat Mani Iyer he worked out how a composition needed to be arranged and configured to unravel its richness.
Many popular musicians today sing the 'swara passages' in the same way that was arranged by GNB.He also composed several 'Kritis' and invented new ragas.
He used to sing numerous compositions without letting speed destroy the lyrical beauty of the 'Kritis' and as per the original Carnatic compositions itself.
GNB worked as the Deputy Chief Producer of Carnatic Music in All India Radio Chennai for a number of years.
In his youthful days GNB worked as hero in some Tamil films opposite

heroines like 'Vasundhara Devi and M.S.Subbulakshmi.
M.S.Subbulakshmi who earned worldwide fame as a Carnatic Music exponent was the heroine  in the super hit film 'Sakunthala'.
He acted in other films like 'Bhama Vijayam,Rukmangada',Udayanan Vasavadatha' also.
In the initial stages of her musical career M.S.Subbulakshmi was inspired by GNB's style of rendition and used to sing in concerts in that style.
G.N.Balasubramaniam joined  'Swathi Thirunal College of Music,Thiruvananthapuram' as the Principal in March 1964.
The great musician and Composer G.N.Balasubramaniam passed away on 1st March 1965.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Mavelikkara S.R.Raju was an eminent 'Mridangam' artiste who was recipient of several awards and recognition.The main percussion instrument 'Mridangam' used in Carnatic music concerts can be played   by one who is well versed in it.S.R.Raju was a maestro and an exponent in this art form and had accompanied great musicians like 'Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer,Madurai Mani Iyer,G.N.Balasubramanyam,M.Balamuralikrishna,K.J.Yesudas,T.N.Krishnan,NeyyattinkaraVasudevan' and many more in Carnatic music concerts with mridangam.
Mavelikkar S.R.Raju was born in Umbarnadu Village, near Kallumala at Mavelikkara as the son of M.N.Raghavan Pillai and Parukutty Amma.His father was also a mridangam player and he was a close friend of Padmasree Mavelikkara Krishnankutty Nair who was a great mridangam artiste.S.R.Raju was interested in mridangam from childhood itself and he used to play his father's mridangam even though he had no proper training in it and was handling it playfully.Once Mavelikkara Krishnankutty Nair happened to see the child playing mridangam and was impressed about his intrinsic talent.He offered his willingness to teach the boy this art form and S.R.Raju's father  felt very happy about that.Thus S.R.Raju became the first disciple of Padmasree Mavelikkara Krishnankutty Nair and very soon became a master of this art.
S.R.Raju's first public performance was for a music concert of Mavelikkara Ramanathan and he was only fifteen years of age at that time.
He joined All India Radio as a B High grade mridangam artiste in 1958 and was made a permanent staff member in 1963.He retired from service as a top A grade mridangam artiste in the year 1993.
He was recipient of many awards like Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademy Fellowship(1985) and the 'Nyapathy Rangamannar Award' instituted by the Madras Music Academy.He received recognition from Petersburg University USA also.He had visited USA four times with his mridangam performances.
S.R.Raju was settled with his family at Thiruvananthapuram and in 2014 he felt sick and was bedridden for a few months.He was later admitted at Medical College Hospital and he died on 8th June 2014.He was 79.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Pankaj Mullick was a great musician and a pioneer of Indian film music.He was one among the path maker of Indian film music who also was responsible to shape Indian film music as it is today.He was a well renowned music composer,actor and singer.He was an exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.
He was born on May 10, 1905 in Calcutta as 'Pankaj Kumar Mullick'.He learned classical music from 'Guru' Durgadas Bandopadhyaya.He started his career in 1927  with Indian Broadcasting Corporation along with composer R.C.Boral and contributed as a music director for fifty years.He contributed to Bengali,Hindi,Urdu and Tamil language films for 38 years in various capacities like actor,singer and music composer.Artists like K.L.Saigal,K.C.Dey,S.D.Burman,Hemanta Mukherjee,Geeta Dutt,,Kanan Devi,Asha Bhonsle etc sang many songs composed by him.He acted in several films along with actors like K.L.Saigal,P.C.Barua,Pahari Sanyal,Jamuna,Kanan Devi,Rattan Bai etc.
Along with R.C.Boral, film director Nitin Bose and his renowned sound engineer brother Mukul Bose, he introduced playback singing to Indian Cinema.
Pankaj Mullick is also credited as an early exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.After his college studies he came into contact with Dinendranath Tagore, who was great nephew of Rabindranath Tagore.This led to his lasting interest in Rabindra Sangeet.Other than Rabindra Sangeet he also tuned and  sang large number of non filmy songs out of which many of them became huge hits.
He immortalized many Hindi songs which are enjoyed throughout India even today.
His debut as a film music composer was in 1933 for the film 'Yahudi Ki Ladki' which was produced by New Theatres and was directed by Premankur Atorthy.
He tuned the first hit Ghalib ghazal 'Nuktachi hai gham-e-dil' in that film which became instant hit.
He was also an actor of outstanding calibre who handled important roles or hero's role in films such as 'Dhartimata,Kapal Kundala,Nartaki,Andhi,Mukti,Adhikar,Abhigyan and Doctor'.
He sang songs in films such as 'Nartaki,Doctor,Kapal Kundala,Abigyan,Adhikar,Meri Bahen,Mahaprasthaner Pathey,Onkarer Joy Jatra,Mukti,Dhartimata and Desher Mati'.
Even though  he was a good singer he gave many best songs which he composed to K.L.Saigal."Soja Rajkumari Soja' 
"Main man ki Baat Bataaoon'
'Man kya jaanu kya jaadu hai'
Karun kya aas niras bhai'
'Ab main Kya karoon kit janoon' etc are examples.
Pankaj Mullick composed music for the hit film 'Dhartimata' in which K.L.Saigal was the hero and was  directed by Nitin Bose in 1938.It was made in Bengali as 'Dasher Mati' in the same year.
K.L.Saigal and Leela Desai were the lead pair of 'Dushman' which was directed by Nitin Bose in 1939 and music was composed by Pankaj Mullick.
'Zindagi' was a film in which K.L.Saigal,Jamuna,Pahari Sanyal etc acted which was directed by P.C.Barua.Music was by Pankaj Maullick.It was released in 1940.
Nartaki was made in Bengali and remade in Hindi in the year  1940.Pankaj Mullick was the music composer and acted in it along with Jagdish Sethi,Leela Desai etc as the important character 'Kavi'(poet).In Nartaki he sang a melody song 'Madhu bhari rut jawani hai' and another song which entertains and inspires even today is 'Yeh kaun aaj aya savere savere yeh dil chauk uttha savere savere'.
In the year 1940 Pankaj Mullick acted as the hero of the film 'Doctor'.Ahindra Choudhary,Jyothi Prakash etc acted along with him.Phani Majumdar and Subodh Mitra were the directors and the film was made in Hindi and Bengali.
In this film he sang five songs which were brimming with youthful energy and holds romantic hues like 'Chale pavan kiChaal jag main chale pawan ki chaal' and 'Ai baahar  aaj ayi bahaar'.
In 'Kapal Kundala' he sang an evergreen song 'Piya milan ko jaana' which is a charming melodious song.
In some films like 'Manzil' he worked along with R.C.Boral.
He composed music for the hit film 'Zalzala' in 1952 in which Kishore Sahu,Dev Anand,Geeta Bali etc acted.
In 1954 he composed music for 'Chitrangada' in which Utpal Dutt,Mala Sinha,Jiban Ganguly etc acted.
Pankaj Mullick was awarded 'Padma Shri' from government of India in 1970 followed by 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award' the highest cinema award by government of India in 1972 for his lifetime contributions to Indian Cinema.
Pankaj Mullick passed away on February 19, 1978 at the age of 72.
Yahudi Ki Ladki

Badi Bahen
Kapal Kundala
Badi Didi
Meri Bahen