M.D. Ramanathan: A Musician’s Musician

M.D. Ramanathan

When I was young, good music was heard only over the radio and from rare records that one possessed. The moments to cherish were when your favourite musician came on the radio unexpectedly. When MD Ramanathan’s rare record was played, my father would raise his hand to silence all of us, as we listened to his rendering in Nilambari or Reethigowla. I would have included MDR, as he was known to his fans, in my series of forgotten musicians, but for the fact that his following today is much more than what it was when he died. If Ramanathan were alive, he would have been 97 today, the 20th May 2020. Continue reading “M.D. Ramanathan: A Musician’s Musician”


Forgotten Musicians: Lakshmi Shankar

This is the second in my series on forgotten musicians. It is on the life and music of Lakshmi Shankar, who was married to Rajendra Shankar, one of the Shankar brothers. Continue reading “Forgotten Musicians: Lakshmi Shankar”


Forgotten musicians: Mysore B.S. Raja Iyengar

My earliest recollection of listening to a music concert was sometime in 1966 or 1967. I was about five or six years old. The occasion was the inauguration of a temple built by FACT, which was set up in 1943 and is the oldest fertilizer company in India. My father was there on deputation for a second term, this time to set up the Ambalamedu Division of the company, near Kochi. When the land was acquired, one or two villages were displaced, which became the subject of a famous short story, Sakshi, by T. Padmanabhan, celebrated Malayalam celebrated short story writer, who wrote the story after six years of enigmatic silence. Continue reading “Forgotten musicians: Mysore B.S. Raja Iyengar”


A Case of Two Lullabies

This article was first published in Business Standard on 16 March 2013. It is a comment on the controversy around the lullaby in the film Life of Pi. It was alleged that the lullaby was plagiarised from a 200-years old lullaby in Malayalam, composed by Irayimman Thampi in 1813 on the occasion of the birth of his nephew, Swati Tirunal, already anointed the ruler of Travancore. The original lullaby continues to be very popular even today in the State of Kerala, India, where Malayalam is spoken. Continue reading “A Case of Two Lullabies”


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