Well-known music composer and lyric writer, Palagummi Viswanatham, died of old age at his residence here on Thursday.
He was 93. He is survived by a son and daughter. He was pioneer in popularising light music and also light classical music. Born in 1919 in a village in East Godavari district, he was influenced by his grandmother in learning music.
Initially, he learnt under Marla Suryanarayana Murthy of Kakinada. Later, he was enthralled by the veena recital of Eemani Sankara Sastry and learnt the instrument from him. He became part of the orchestra of Uday Shankar, renowned dancer, at Madras. The ensemble was conducted Vishnu Das Shirali for the film Kalpana in Hindi.
Subsequently, he joined All India Radio and worked as music composer, while renowned poet Devulappali Krishna Sastri penned lyrics in radio. This Palagummi and Devulapalli combination is still considered as the golden period in the era of light and light classical music. Many ballets were produced by the duo and broadcast over AIR featuring such great singers as Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna and others.
Palagummi Viswanatham composed nearly 15,000 songs either of lyric writers of repute or those written by him. “Amma donga ninnu choodakunte” is one of the most popular of his songs and became a household song. It was written and composed by Palagummi and rendered by Vedavati Prabhakar.
In an effort to save the treasure of compositions, a website ‘Nadavinodininpalagummiviswanatham.com’ was launched last year. A number of light music singers like Vedavati Prabhakar, Hymavathi, Mohan Raju and Vijayalakshmi Sarma and composers Kalaga Krishna Mohan and P.V. Sai Baba were trained by him. Rare compositions of Ramdasu rendered by Mangalapalli Balamuralikrishna were made into CDs and were presented to the then Prime Minister A.B. Vajapayee, who felicitated Palagummi on that occasion. He was given Hamsa award by the State Government.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed grief over the demise of Visvanatham. In a message, the Chief Minister conveyed his condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family.