K P Udayabhanu, one of the noted veteran playback singers, died here on Sunday night. Udayabhanu who was ill for quiet sometime, breathed his last at his residence here around 8.30 p m. He was 77.
Although rooted in classical tradition, he chose light music and playback singing as his mainstream. Udayabhanu began his career as an announcer at the Kozhikode station of All India Radio (AIR) in 1955.
During the stint at AIR, he became associated with writers and musicians such as P Bhaskaran, K Raghavan, Thikkodiyan, 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 and was also a gifted composer. Udayabhanu was born to N S Varma and Ammu Nethyaramma at Tharur in Palakkad on June 6, 1936.
Udayabhanu joined the Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidyalaya in Kalpathy, where he came under the tutelage of legends such as Flute Krishna Iyer, Palakkad Mani Iyer and M D Ramanathan. 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. Udayabhanu started playback singing with the film ‘Nayaru Pidicha Pulivaalu’ (1958). He sang a solo, “Enthinithra Panchasara”, and a duet with P Leela, “Velutha Penne” under composer K Raghavan.
The songs were penned by P Bhaskaran, who also directed the movie.
Songs he sung include timeless classics such as “Kaanana Chayayil” (with P Leela in ‘Ramanan’), “Anuraga Nadakathin” (‘Ninamaninja Kalppadukal’) and “Thaamarathumbee”. Udayabhanu also carried out music direction in a few films such as ‘Samasya’ and ‘Mayilppeeli’. His wife Vijayalekshmi predeceased him. He is survived by son Rajeev Udayabhanu.