Melody King is no more
||Nagendra, one among the famous
pair of Music Directors Rajan-Nagendra who have given hundreds of
melodious tunes for 375 films, is no more with us. But the rich
contribution he has made towards livening the common mans mind
continues to live -- and will live forever.
During the olden days, this duo had
created such a wave in film music that any person on the street would be
humming one or the other song of theirs. Then, the Hindi film world had
seen the achievements of paired music directors like Laxmikant-Pyarelal,
Shankar-Jaikishan and Kalyanji-Anandji. It is a matter of pride for the
kannadigas that such a pair appeared in the Kannada tinsel world -- in the
form of Rajan-Nagendra. It is no exaggeration that these two brothers were
called the Kalyanji Anandji of Kannada film music.
Rajan (1933) and Nagendrappa (1935) were
born in Shivarampet of Mysore in a middle-class family. Father Rajappa was
a musician himself, well versed in playing the harmonium. He was a playing
artiste for the silent movies of those days. But once the talkie movies
came along, he was out of job. So he started to earn a living by teaching
music at his humble abode. This musical atmosphere had a profound effect
on the two young minds, who started accompanying their father to
orchestras. Also, famous musician at that time, Bidaram Krishnappa lived a
few houses away which kept influencing the young lads from time to time.
Within a short time, each of them attained proficiency in playing a
different instrument Rajan in violin and Nagendra in Jal Tarang
(incidentally, every tune of theirs does have a sprinkling of the two
In 1941, Nagendra came to Bangalore and
joined the S.L.N. School in the K.R. Market area where as his elder
brother stayed back in Mysore. Outside of school hours, Nagendra also
joined Jai Maruti a school of instrumental music.
In the meanwhile, Rajan got an offer to
go to erstwhile Madras. He took his brother along with him and they got an
opportunity of learning the tricks of the music trade under the aegis of
H. R. Padmanabha Shastri who was known for producing talkie movies. They
also helped Nagendra Rao in scoring music for one of Shastris movies.
In 1951, Nagendra returned to Mysore and
completed his matriculation. Then he joined P. Kalinga Rao who at that
time was a famous radio artiste. Within no time, Nagendra got an
opportunity of singing for the movie Srinivasa Kalyana along with
Hindustani singer Ameer Bai (this duo itself scored the music for Sri
Srinivasa Kalyana that was produced later in the 70s with Dr. Raj Kumar
in the lead role).
Finally, Rajan-Nagendra became
independent music directors when they scored music for the film
Sowbhagya Lakshmi in 1952. After this, they never looked back for
more than four decades. After Sowbhagya Lakshmi came
Vittalacharyas Chanchalakumari, Rajalakshmi and
Mutthaide Bhagya in a series to open the doors for these would-be
In the seventies came superhits in a row
like Nyayave Devaru, Gandhada Gudi, Devara Gudi, Bhagyavantaru,
Eradu Kanasu, Naa Ninna Mareyalaare, Naa Ninna Bidalaare,
Hombisilu, Bayalu Daari, Paavana Ganga, Giri Kanye
list goes on. They bagged the State Award for the Best Music for the
movies Eradu Kanasu and Parasangada Gendethimma. Further, they
kept scoring consistently good music through the nineties and in the
course, produced masterpieces for movies like Chandanada Gombe,
Marali Goodige and Suprabhaata. They recently composed music
for a number of films as also for a currently running TV serial
Abhimaana on Udaya TV.
The two brothers had many firsts to
their credit including getting popular Hindi singer Kishore Kumar to sing
for the movie Kulla Agent 000. And perhaps they hold the record for
the longest active musical pair in the film industry.
Nagendra himself was more than a music
director. He sang Yaaru yaaru nee yaaru (Ratnamanjari), Driving
maadtheeya eh kulla(Kulla Kulli), Nammoora santheli(Gaali Maathu)
and many more. The pair directed music for about 375 films in Tamil,
Telugu, Tulu and Sinhalese including 180 in Kannada. Nagendra has left
behind, in addition to his wife and a son, hundreds of melodious tunes one
can cherish forever!