Renowned Kannada music composer Rajan of the Rajan-Nagendra duo passed away on Sunday at his residence in Bengaluru. He was 87.
According to a The Times of India report, the late musician’s son R Ananth Kumar informed that Rajan succumbed to a gastric disorder.
“He was healthy and taking music classes online as well. He suffered from indigestion for the last two days and passed away at our home at 11:00 pm on Sunday,” Kumar told The Hindu.
His younger brother, Nagendra, died in 2000. He was undergoing treatment for hernia at the time.
Hailing from Mysore, the brothers debuted as music directors with the 1952 film Soubhagya Lakshmi. They went on to compose music for 375 films, including over 200 Kannada films and the rest in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Tulu, Hindi and Sinhala. The 70s and the 80s proved to be a breakthrough period for the sibling duo with songs from Gandhada Gudi, Nyayave Devaru, Naa Ninna Mareyalaare, Paavana Ganga and Eradu Kanasu among the others.
Born to Rajappa, who played the harmonium and flute in films during the silent cinema era, Rajan and Nagendra mastered violin and jal tarang, respectively. The duo’s collaboration with singers SP Balasubrahmanyam and S Janaki produced chartbuster romantic melodies, making them a household pair.
Hailed as the Kannada equivalent of noted Hindi film music composer duo Kalyanji-Anandji, Rajan–Nagendra have also been compared with Hindi cinema’s popular composer duos Shankar-Jaikishen and Laxmikanth-Pyarelalji.
The duo have been conferred with several awards, including the prestigious Karnataka State Film Awards. Most of their hit songs in Kannada were remade in Telugu.
Rajan continued to work along with his son R Ananth Kumar. He has also written a book titled Haado Suswara Sangeetha which explores an innovative notation system for music enthusiasts. The father-son duo also conducted music classes for vocal enthusiasts on voice culturing and film songs.