Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri, the award-winning Malayalam music director, died on Wednesday afternoon in Kozhikode. He was 58.
According to The Indian Express, the musician was under treatment for cancer at MVR Cancer Center, Vellalasseri.
Viswanathan was born on December 4, 1963, in Kaithapram village in Kannur to Carnatic musician Kannadi Kesavan Namboothiri and Adithi Antharjanam. His brother Kaithaparam Damodaran Namboothiri is a prominent lyricist and musician, who was bestowed the Padma Shri award for his contribution to the arts field.
An alumnus of Swathi Thirunal Thiruvananthapuram Music College, Viswanathan managed the orchestra for songs composed by his brother for filmmaker Jayaraj’s film Desadanam (1996). He made his independent composing debut with Jayaraj’s Kaliyattam, the 1997 film starring Suresh Gopi, Lal, Manju Warrier, and Biju Menon.
He composed music for about 23 films, including Kannaki (2001), Thilakkam (2003), starring Dileep and Kavya Madhavan, Daivanamathil (2005), Ullam (2005), Madhyavenal (2009), and Neelambari (2010). He has worked with singers such as KJ Yesudas, P Jayachandran, KS Chithra, and G Venugopal.
Viswanathan was awarded the Kerala State Film Award for Best Background Music in 2001 for his work in Kannaki.
Some of his popular compositions include Saare Saare Saambare, Enikkoru Pennundu and Neeyoru Puzhayayi from the film Thilakkam and Kayyethum Dhoore Oru Kuttikkalam from the film Ekandham (2006).
Before entering the film industry, Viswanathan worked as a music teacher at Mathamangalam School, Kannur and Rajah’s HSS, Nileshwaram. He established a music school named Sruthilaya in Payyanur.
Several artists from the Malayalam film industry, including actors Manju Warrier and Shwetha Menon, singer KS Chithra, and producer NM Badusha took to their social media handles to pay tribute to the late composer.
“Farewell to my dear music wizard. Every song is a miracle,” wrote the director of his debut film, Jayaraj, recalling Viswanathan’s composition for films like Kaliyattam, Deshadanam, Kannaki, and Daivanamathil.
Filmmaker VA Shrikumar expressed regret that audience can only experience the sweetness of Viswanathan’s music in a handful of films due to his untimely demise. “However, he has left behind melodies that we will continue to hum. As a Carnatic musician, music teacher and music director, he made a mark which can never be erased,” he added.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also condoled the death of the late music composer and termed it ‘extremely painful’.
Viswanathan is survived by his wife Gowri Antharjanam and three children – Aditi, Narmada and Keshav.