Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri (58), a popular Carnatic musician and Malayalam music director, died in Kozhikode on Wednesday afternoon. He was undergoing cancer treatment at the MVR Cancer Center in Kozhikode. Viswanathan Namboodiri was the younger brother of Kaithaparam Damodaran Namboodiri, a well-known songwriter and musician.
Viswanathan was born in Kaithapram village, Kannur district, Kerala, to Kannadi Keshavan Namboothiri and Adithi Antharjanam. Viswanathan graduated from Swathi Thirunal Music College in Thiruvananthapuram with a Ganabhooshanam title. Before going into the film industry, Vishwanathan served as a music instructor at Mathamangalam School in Kannur and Rajah’s HSS in Nileshwaram.
In 1996, Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri made his Malayalam film debut by assisting his brother on the music for Jayaraj’s Deshadanam. He went on to compose music for 23 Malayalam films after his debut. For his background score in the Jayaraj film Kannaki, which was released in 2001, he received the Kerala State Film Award. Music fans praised his tracks for the Dileeep-starring film Thilakkam (2003). Thilakkam’s “Saare Saare Saambare” was one of the most popular songs at the time, particularly among children. Vishwanathan’s other famous works include Ekantham, Daivanamathil, Ullam, Madhyavenal, and Neelambari. Famous vocalists like as KJ Yesudas, G Venugopal, P Jayachandran, and KS Chitra sang many of his works.
Viswanathan also founded Sruthilaya, a music school in Payannur, Kannur. His family includes his wife Gaowri Antharjanam and three children – Aditi, Narmada, and Keshav.
He may have only been in 30 or so films, but he did so at a time when music was still very important in cinema. As a result, he was able to compose several wonderful songs, such as Ennu varum nee…, which he recorded for his debut film, Kannaki.
He entered the industry with a dazzling debut
Viswanathan’s younger brother, Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, had already made a name for himself as a prolific lyricist in the film industry. Apart from K.S. Chithra’s soulful rendition of Ennu varum nee…, the Jayaraj film also featured melodies like Karineelakkannazhaki… (Chithra) and Iniyoru janmamundenkil.. (Yesudas).
Kannaki’s following film, Thilakkam, proved that he wasn’t a fluke. The album’s standout track was P. Jayachandran’s Neeyoru puzhayaay… K.J. Yesudas’ Enikkoru pennundu… was also a hit.
He went on to write melodies such as Aaadedi… (Ullam) and Swantham swantham… (Madhyavenal), but despite the fact that his style of music had a lot of potential in Malayalam cinema at the time, he was never inundated with work.
His musical background
He once told a reporter that three of his compositions for Yesudas, Jayachandran, and G. Venugopal had won the State Award for best playback singer. Kannaki’s outstanding background music won Viswanathan the State Award. Jayaraj, the film’s director, indicated that he chose to give the man a break because he was confident in his talents.
An amazing music instructor
Viswanathan was also a well-known music instructor. He established a music school in Payyannur, his hometown, after graduating from the Sri Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram. Yesudas opened it, and hundreds of students attended.
He has also worked as a music teacher in schools. Of the State School Arts Festival, the songs he composed for the pupils at Raja’s HSS, Neeleswaram, earned medals. He had no idea that his tunes would go on to win the state’s highest music accolades years later.