Saturday, 1 June 2013

[] K.P.Udayabhanu



KP Udayabhanu, the seniormost playback singer in Malayalam, 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 stays now at B-2, Choice Heights, Museum Bains Compund in Thiruvananthapuram.


Udayabhanu married Vijayalekshmi, the daughter of Kappana Govinda Menon a native of Thalassery in the year 1970. Mrs Vijayalekshmi Udayabhanu, herself a gifted singer, left this world in 2007. The couple has a son, Rajeev Udayabhanu, a reputed tourist operator and runs the Aries Travel Agency. His son Rajeev is married to Saritha Sivan, daughter of renowned cinematographer and film director Sivan. Udayabhanu has a grandson Unnikuttan who studies in Loyola .


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 superhits. 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 is 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 has 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.


Represented India in the Asia Pacific popular song contest held in Singapore in 1985.
Chief conductor of Drums of India music programme on Republic Day celebrations 1985 which was very much appreciated by the President R Venkataraman and the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Worked as Master for Indian Music in Lawrence school, Lovedale, Udhakamandalam at Ootty, one of the leading public schools in India.

Worked as PRO to Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran.

Conducted choral groups in all Indian languages from Delhi Central Production Unit and Delhi Doordarshan.

Composed 32 poems by eminent poets of Kerala in connection with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Independence.

Chief conductor and composer of Bharathiyam held in Thiruvananthapuram.

Conducted music concerts and musical pragrammes on communal harmony all over Kerala during communal disturbances.

Produced songs on Mahatma Gandhi for the Kerala state committee for Gandhi Centenary celebrations.

Produced songs on freedom struggle written before 1947 by eminent poets, and freedom fighters in connection with India's 50th year of Independence.

Travelled with his music group to the US, Canada, Europe, Singapore and all the Gulf countries.


Member- Kerala State Sangeetha Nataka Academy

Member- Kerala Kalamandalam

Member- Board of Studies (Music) Calicut University

Member- Board of Studies (Music) Mahatma Gandhi University

Member- Film Censor Board (3times)

Member- Kerala State Film Awards Committee (3times)

Member- Audition Board Govt. of India All India Radio

Member- South Zone Cultural Centre- Thanjavur- Thamil Nadu

Member- Audition Board Govt. of India All India Radio

Member- South Zone Cultural Centre- Thanjavur- Thamil Nadu

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