The stream of bad news doesn’t seem to cease in 2020. The famous Rajan-Nagendra music duo lost its remaining member on Sunday night. Composer Rajan passed away at his Bengaluru residence at the age of 87. Cause of death has not been confirmed but it seems it might be natural causes related to old age.
“He was healthy and taking music classes online as well,” R. Ananth Kumar, his son, told The Hindu. He said the musician was suffering from indigestion problems in the two days leading to his demise. There have been no reports of any prior illness but had a bloated stomach around the time of death.
His musical journey with his younger brother, Nagendra, started in 1952. The brothers were born in Mysore to a musical family, as their father was a professional harmonium and flute player. In their early years, Nagendra was responsible for composing melodies for the orchestra whereas Nagendra handled the singers and dictation. Their debut film was Soubhagya Lakshmi.
In the next four decades, the duo created music and melodies for over 375 films. Around 200 of these were in Kannada films but the rest were in Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, and Sinhala.
However, the duo was broken in 2000 when Nagendra passed away due to a sudden heart attack. He was 65 at the time.
The sibling duo has been called as Kalyanji-Anandji of Kannada cinema. Now with Rajan’s death, a glorious era of Kannada music has come to an end.
Despite having debuted in the 50s, their peak popularity was during the 1970s and 1980s. Their melodious music is remembered even today, including ‘Gandhada Gudi,’ ‘Nyayave Devaru’, ‘Devara Gudi’, ‘Bhagyavantaru’, ‘Naa Ninna Mareyalaare’, ‘Eradu Kanasu’.
The composer’s duets were among the most popular in these decades, majority of them voiced by S. Janaki and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam. The latter passed away last month due to COVID-19 induced illness.
After his brother’s death, Rajan continued to work with his son. He has written a book called Haado suswara Sangeetha which is about his innovations with musical notations. He also founded a school for music prodigies for “Voice culturing & film singing.” The school, Sapta Swaranjali, is also located in Bengaluru.