Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri – Malayalam music composer with ‘Kannaki’ & ‘Thilakkam’ added to his fame

Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri (1963 –2021) was an Indian music composer associated with Malayalam cinema. He was a Carnatic musician too. Younger brother of popular poet, lyricist and composer, Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, he is best known for composing songs of Kannaki and Thilakkam, both directed by Jayaraj. He won Kerala state film awards for Best Background Music for Kannaki (2001). He has assisted his elder brother in many movie compositions since 1990s. He passed away on 29 December 2021 aged 58, battling with cancer.

Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri was born into a musical family

Viswanathan was born in Kaithapram village in Kannur district in 1963 into a musical family. His father Kannadi Kesavan Namboothiri was a Carnatic musician and a disciple of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. He had two siblings – a elder brother Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, a musician and a younger sister.

He completed his studies from Thiruvananthapuram Swathi Thirunal Music College, and started assisting his elder brother since 1990s. He also worked as music teacher at Neeleswaram Rajas High School and Mathamangalam school. Later he started a music school in Payyanur named Sruthilaya.

Worked mostly in Jayaraj films

The romantic song, Neeyoru Puzhayaay from Thilakkam bagged state award for playback singer Jayachandran

Jayaraj’s Desadanam was his first work, where he handled orchestra, followed by Kaliyattam, once again directed by Jayaraj. As an independent musical director, Jayaraj’s Kannaki was his debut work. Songs like Karineela Kannazhaki, Eneyoru Janmamundenkil & Ennu Varum Nee were well received. Kaiyethumdoore of Ekaantham, Enikkoru Pennund & Neeyoru Puzhayay of Thilakkam were chartbusters. He also composed music score of Ekantham, Ullam, Madhya Venal, Daiva Namathil etc. Though he composed only a few film songs, most of them are evergreen. Section 306 IPC was his last movie.

Kaithapram Viswanathan Namboothiri – Some less-known and interesting facts

Kannaki – His best work as an independent music composer

1. He frequently worked in Jayaraj’s films, and most of the works were critically acclaimed.

2. He has done orchestration and also worked as assistant in several musicals of Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri since second half of 1990s.

3. He has made a cameo appearance in the movie, Kausthubham.

4. Though he composed very few songs, three of his compositions fetched the State Award for the best playback singer for Yesudas, Jayachandran, and G. Venugopal.

5. He composed music for a total of 23 films.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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