Monday, June 15, 2015

Papukutty Bhagavathar

Papukutty Bhagavather is a Celebrated, Centenarian Singer and actor who was born on March 25, 1913 at Vaipin in Kochi, Kerala to parents Michael and Anna.He created history by singing a playback song  for the Malayalam film 'Marykkundoru Kunjadu' at the age of 97 in the year 2010.He is an accomplished Stage actor,Film actor,Playback singer,Carnatic Musician and teacher,Kathaprasangam artiste etc.
He debuted in films in the year 1950 and acted and sang a song also for the film 'Prasanna' in that year.
He got on a stage at the age of seven when he was a second standard student and acted in a drama named 'Vedamani' staged by the residents of his native place 'Thekke Malippuram' at Vaipin.He was appreciated by the audience for his acting talents.
His father Michael used to act in Christian dramatic art form 'Chavittu Natakam' and was a good singer.So the flair for singing was inherited to Pappukutty Bhagavathar who was trained in Carnatic Classical music from the age of twelve.For three years he was trained in music by Krishnankutty Bhagavathar and later by Chandradasa Kamath.
Thikkurissi and Papukutty Bhagavathar
At the age of 16 he  joined the drama troupe of artist P.J.Cheriyan along with his friend Augustine Joseph (Father of Playback singer K.J.Yesudas).Pappukutty Bhagavathar portrayed the role of 'Mary Magdalene' in the play 'Misiha Charithram'  a successful play with that troupe which performed all over the state.Then he worked with many other troupes and earned name and fame as a skilled,talented actor as well as singer.In those days songs were an essential part of stage plays and even the dialogues in some plays were rendered as songs.So only people trained in Carnatic classical music could portray main roles.Since amplifier were not in use those days the actors need to speak and sing louder to reach the back rows of the audience.Travelling was another problem and mostly they had to travel by boats since buses were limited and confined in certain routes only.The troupe members had to waste much time waiting for boats and buses in those periods.
Director K.G.George
In the early years of his career as a stage actor itself he received accolades as an excellent singer and actor.He earned the title as 'Kerala Saigal' because of his proficiency in singing.He sang nicely K.L.Saigal's popular songs like "So Ja Rajakumari So Ja' to entertain the audience  before the play  as per their requests and popular Carnatic songs like "Pakkala" which he sings extremely well.
He proved competent enough to act and sing as the accomplished Tamil actor/singer S.V.Subbaiah Bhagavathar  of

that period who acted along with Papukutty Bhagavathar in the play 'Suhrithu'.The play 'Suhruthu' was staged by the professional drama troupe of Changanacherry Madhavan Pillai.Both of them appeared together in many scenes and proved their skills at their best which received good response and accolades.
Papukutty Bhagavathar acted in Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nairs plays like 'Maya,Paradesi and Sthree'.
He also acted in several films like 'Muthalali,Vila Kuranja Manushyar,Bharyamar Sookshikuka,Aamaram' etc.
He tried his hand at Kathaprasangam and narrated Muttathu Varkey's story 'Padatha Painkili' in around 300 stages.
He also performed numerous Carnatic Classical music Concerts with accompaniments by legends like 'Mavelikkara Krishnan Kutty Nair,Mavelikkara Velukutty Nair,S.R.Raju' etc.He also used to teach Carnatic music to several aspirant students.
He is recipient of Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademy Fellowship and several other awards.His Centenary celebration was held at Ernakulam on 4rh April 2012 in which the legendary singer K.J.Yesudas also participated.Papukutty Bhagavathar sang songs during that function also.
The famous playback singer Selma George (Wife of Film Director K.G.George), and Film actor Mohan Jose are Papukutty Bhagavathar's Children.
He sang songs in films 'Prasanna,Karutha Kai,Aasha Chakram and Marykundoru Kunjadu'.
He acted in films such as 'Prasanna,Sthree Hridayam,Oral Koody Kallanayi,Sree Guruvayoorappan,Syamalachechi,Muthalali,Viruthan Sanku,Anchu Sundarikal,Kattu Kuangu,Padicha Kallan,Vila Kuranja Manushar and Vice Chancellor. 

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