Malayalam News

VM Kutty, Singer Who Popularised ‘Mappilapattu’, Dies at 86

VM Kutty, the singer and artiste who popularised Mappilapattu (Kerala Muslim folklore songs), died at a hospital in Kozhikode on Wednesday. He was 86. 


According to Onmanorama, the musician was undergoing treatment for heart-related ailments.

Kutty played a vital role in taking the Mappilapattu art form to the mainstream from the marriage functions where it was earlier played, according to a Mathurbhumi report. The report further states that he was the first singer to perform Mappilapattu on a public stage in 1972, at a conference conducted by the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad in Kasaragod.

The late singer performed in many stages in Kerala and overseas, and also in front of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to Kavaratti in Lakshadweep. Kutty sung over 1000 songs and experimented with the art form as well.

He also authored several books such as Mappilapattinte Lokam, Basheer Mala, Bhakthigeethangal, and Kuruthikunju.

Born on April 16, 1935, at Pulikkal in Kerala’s Malappuram district, Kutty began taking music lessons from his paternal uncle Unneen and aunt Pandikasala Fathimakutty. Before entering the world of music, he worked as a teacher till 1985. 

Kutty lent his voice for seven Malayalam film songs. He also composed Oppanas – a dance form famous among the Mappila (Kerala Muslim) community – for three other films. He ventured into the acting space as well and appeared in films like Ulpathi (1984), Pathinalam Ravu (1979), and Paradesi (2007). 

The late singer was a recipient of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award and was also a member of the Akademi. He served as the secretary of the Institute of Mappila Studies.

Kutty’s funeral will be held at Pulikkal Juma Masjid in Malappuram at 5 pm on Wednesday.


Several artists, music enthusiasts, and members of the film fraternity, including actor Mammootty and producer Anto Joseph, have condoled the demise of the musician.

In a condolence message, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kutty took Mappilapattu to new heights and was able to give publicity to the art form across Kerala.