Palagummi Viswanadham was born in 1919 in Tirupathipuram in East Godavari district, the fourth of five children; the eldest was Palagummi Padmaraju, the well-known writer. As a child, Viswanadham was musically influenced by his grandmother and mother.

Sketch (1950) by Sri D.S. Sastry (Bujjai)
S/o. Late Sri Devulapalli Krishna Sastry

Major Strengths

  • Gentle smile
  • Determination
  • Command over Language and Carnatic Classical Music
  • Yearning for Learning
  • Methodical Approach
  • Commitment Levels
  • Memorizing Events
  • Communication Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Simplicity
  • Genuine Concern for Others

Awards

Nandi Award for Best Music Director for T.V. film Rajasekhara Charitra (1991), 1 July 1992Release of Bhaktha Ramadas Keerthanas, 28 January 2001Hamsa Award from the A.P. Government, 12 June 2002Pratibha Award from the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, 16 November 2005

and many more...

Some Popular Musical Compositions

Profile of Palagummi Viswanadham

Doyen of Light Music

Melody maker Palagummi Viswanadham is one of the great music directors and pioneers of light music in Andhra Pradesh. His prolific output includes about 15,000 songs for which he composed music and about 100 songs for which he wrote the lyrics as well. He has set to music songs by lyricists like Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, Dasarathi, Dr. C. Narayana Reddy, Abburi Ramakrishna Rao, Sasanka and Gunturu Seshendra Sarma. Singers like M.S. Rama Rao, Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, P.B. Srinivas, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki, M. Chittaranjan, K.B.K. Mohan Raju, Manapragada Narasimha Murthy and Vedavathi Prabhakar have rendered his musical compositions.

Palagummi Viswanadham’s long association with the All India Radio and with several eminent personalities during the golden age of AIR, prior to the proliferation of television, resulted in his compositions reaching almost every household in Andhra Pradesh and Telugu households elsewhere. Apart from those who benefited from direct interaction with him, there is an infinite number of Ekalavya sishyas too as a result of the popularity of radio at that time.

Early Life

Palagummi Viswanadham was born in 1919 in Tirupathipuram in East Godavari district, the fourth of five children; the eldest was Palagummi Padmaraju, the well-known writer. The children lost their father at a very young age; the mother brought them up with help from her sister’s family and other well-wishers. Viswanadham’s schooling was in Rayakuduru and then in Rajahmundry.

Musical Education

Pallavi

As a child, Viswanadham was musically influenced by his grandmother and mother. Elder brother Padmaraju also played a significant role. He noticed that his younger brother had an aptitude for music, and encouraged him to take it up seriously. The family was in Kakinada at that time.

Charanalu

Viswanadham started studying vocal Carnatic music under Sangeetha Bhushana Marla Suryanarayana Murthy at Kakinada. A little later, Viswanadham started learning the veena under Mahamahopadhyaya Emani Sankara Sastry, of whom he was the first disciple. Later, after moving to Madras, Viswanadham continued his studies with Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan.

Professional Journey

Palagummi Viswanadham's career started off in Madras in the mid 1940s, when music director Vishnudas Shirali selected him to play the veena as part of Uday Shankar’s team that was involved in the making of the legendary movie Kalpanā. Working with Shirali proved to be rewarding experience, giving Viswanadham valuable exposure to Hindustani music. Kalpanā, a musical dance drama, was released in 1948 and was critically acclaimed for its artistic merit although it was not a box-office success.

Viswanadham was active in other assignments in the Madras film industry as well. He assisted Emani Sankara Sastry who was working as music director and played in Gemini Studio productions like Chandralekha, Samsar, Avvayar and Mangamma Sapatham. He also played the veena in Telugu and Tamil films made by Pragathi Pictures and in Vauhini Studio productions like Malleeswari and Peddamanushulu.

The major part of Palagummi Viswanadham's musical journey was with the All India Radio, Hyderabad. He joined AIR Hyderabad in 1954 as a staff artist and rose to become the producer in charge of light music, a position he held till retirement in 1979. During this period, he worked with eminent personalities like the great poet and lyric writer Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, eminent thespian Sthanam Narasihma Rao, great vāggēyakāra Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, eminent writers like Munimanikyam and Butchi Babu, and the famous couple for children’s programmes, Nyayapathi Raghava Rao (Radio Annayya) and Kameswari (Radio Akkayya).

AIR gave Palagummi Viswanadham the opportunity to compose music for a wide variety of programmes: ballets, features, musical plays, operas, rural programmes, devotional programmes, orchestral features, programmes for farmers, industrial workers, music learners, women and children etc. Viswanadham also composed publicity songs for Governmental programmes and patriotic songs at the time of wars with China and Pakistan.

After retirement, Palagummi Viswanadham continued to be associated with AIR and Doordarshan, producing special programmes, judging in auditions and rerecording some of the popular programmes and songs of yesteryears. He produced several songs and musical features for Amruthavani, a voluntary organization active in the social sector, Sapthaparni and Nadavinodini, trusts for promoting music, apart from working on several other productions. Following an invitation from Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, he set up a department of light music, formulated its curriculum and played an active part of the department as a faculty member for three years.

Accomplishments

Two songs written by Devulapalli Krishna Sastry – Tarali Rārammā and Mallenammā Mallenē were staged before the Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

Sangītamlō Chandamāma – A popular special monthly programme for music lovers regarding the application of ragas by various composers in different styles – broadcast by All India Radio, Hyderabad, for several years.

Invited by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to present stage programmes on different occasions like the Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti and other festive occasions.

Composed music for special programmes of AIR like the Song of the Month (Ī Māsapu Pāŧa); conducted several programmes for an invited audience.

Headed the Diploma Course in Light Music started in Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, and continued for three years since its inception (2001 to 2003).

On the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Bhaktha Ramadas, the Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Behari Vajpayee, released CDs and audio cassettes of Ramadas Kirtanas in the Parliament House in New Delhi. These kirtanas were rendered by Dr. Balamuralikrishna, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and S. Janaki under the baton of Palagummi Viswanadham (January 2001).

Another CD and Cassette of a few more Ramadas Kirtanas sung by Dr. Balamuralikrishna released by the then Deputy Prime Minister Sri L.K. Advani at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in Delhi (August 2002).

Affiliation with AIR, Doordarshan and Other Organizations

Member of the Music Audition Board constituted by the Director General of All India Radio.

Member of the Nandi Awards Committee constituted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for the years 1981, 1993, 1996 and 1997.

Member of the Governing Body of the South Central Zone Cultural Centre for the years 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Books and Articles Penned by Palagummi Viswanadham

Lalitha Sangeeta Charitra - Published by the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University.

Fiddle Naidu - Life and Achievements of Violin Master Late Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu - Published by the Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Ammadonga - A Collection of lyrics

Regular contributor to the magazine Natyakala published by the Andhra Pradesh Sangeetha Nataka Academy.

At present contributing many articles to the art magazine Rasamayi on great personalities such as Dr. Pinakapaani and Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.

Discography

Produced by Nadavinodini

  1. Melodies of Palagummi
  2. Krishna Sastry Geya Kadambam
  3. Gandhi Geya Mala
  4. Swatantra Samara Geyalu
  5. Geetha Madhuri
  6. Nidurapo Hayiga
  7. Melodies in his gos
  8. Vande Sivam Sankaram
  9. Jago Bharat & Rama Krishna Gamamrutha Saramu produced by Rama Krishna Matt Hyderabad
  10. Jatiya Geya Mala - sponsored by C.V.V. Murthi Raju
  11. Abburi Geethavali - sponsored by Abburi Chayadevi (Lyrics by Abburi Rama Krishna Rao)
  12. Sasanka Geyamrutha Varshini - sponsored by Oleti Parvatheesam (Lyrics by Sasanka)
  13. Ee Nagaram Jabilli :- Lyrics : Gunturu Seshendra Sarma sponsored by Indiradevi Dhamarajgiri
  14. Songs for Children (Jejimamayya Patalu, Rangula Mabbulu, Chenguna Gantulu and Nelavanka) : produced by Sapthapani - Lyrics : Traditional

1-8 : Produced by Nadavinodini; 9-14 : Producted / Sponsored by various organisations in collaboration with Nadavinidini.