Chennai gave Panigrahi his first break, Kalakshetra love
By P K Balachandran | Published: 30th August 2013 11:03 AM |
Renowned musician Raghunath Panigrahi, who died last Sunday, will be remembered for revolutionizing the music for Odissi dance and rendering Jayadeva’s 12 Century Sanskrit poem Gita Govinda in the classical Hindustani format. But the genius in Odisha’s most famous singer was sparked not in Odisha, but in the erstwhile Madras, in the late 1950s.
It was in the recording studios of Prasad and Vauhini in Kodambakkam that Panigrahi got a break as a singer on par with the then greats like Ghantasala and P B Srinivas. And, it was at Kalakshetra in Adyar, that he met his Bharatanatyam dancer wife, Sanjukta, with whom he later teamed up to take Odissi dance and music to unprecedented heights.
Lovers of old Tamil film music still remember Panigrahi’s song ‘Naan Thedum Podhu’ and ‘Kan Kaanum Minnaldhaano’ in the 1959 Sivaji-Pandari Bai starrer ‘Aval Yaar’. “The film sank without a trace, but Panigrahi’s songs are now seeing a revival thanks to YouTube,” said Vamaman, author Thirai Isai Alaigal, a four-volume work on the history of Tamil film music.
YouTube browsers gush over Panigrahi’s mellifluous singing. “Wow! What a sexy voice!” comments young Anjali Kumar on hearing Kan Kaanum Minnaldhano. “Whenever I hear this song, my mind’s chariot takes me to the place where I heard it for the first time,” writes old timer Raja Mohammad.
“Panigrahi’s soothing voice was ideally suited for romantic songs. The slight Hindustani touch he gave his songs only added to their appeal.’’