K. Raghavan
Background information
Also known asRaghavan Master
Born(1913-12-02)2 December 1913
Tellicherry, Malabar district, British India
Died19 October 2013(2013-10-19) (aged 99)
Tellicherry, Kerala, India
GenresIndian classical, light music, mappila songs
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Tabla, keyboards, thambura, drums, vocals
Years active1950 - 2013
LabelsHMV India

K. Raghavan (2 December 1913 – 19 October 2013), also fondly called Raghavan Master, was a Malayalam music composer and Carnatic Vocalist. Along with G. Devarajan, V. Dakshinamoorthy and Baburaj, Raghavan is often credited for the renaissance of Malayalam film music. He is regarded as the pioneer in contributing Malayalam film songs with its own tunes and styles. Till then, Malayalam film songs were in the tunes of popular Hindi and Tamil film songs and old classical kritis. Raghavan gave a new direction and identity to Malayalam film music. He composed around 400 songs in Malayalam cinema and was active in the Malayalam film industry for nearly four decades.[1] In 1997, he was honoured with the J. C. Daniel Award, Kerala government's highest honour for contributions to Malayalam cinema.

Personal life

Raghavan was born to folk singer M Krishnan and Narayani in Tellicherry in North Malabar on 2 December 1913. [2] He had a younger brother named Lakshmanan, who predeceased him. He was married to (late) Yashoda and had five children, including three daughters and two sons. He died at the age of 99 on 19 October 2013 in Tellicherry.[3]

Early life

Raghavan was born in Tellicherry near Kannur in the erstwhile Madras Presidency (present-day Kerala) to M. Krishnan and Narayani in 1913. He started studying classical music from his childhood and was also a good football player. His professional career was started as a tambura player in All India Radio, Madras. In 1950 he got transferred to Calicut and there he got involved with film artists.[4]


Raghavan set a new trend in Malayalam film music with the release of the 1954 movie Neelakuyil. Renowned lyricist and Raghavan's friend P. Bhaskaran had penned the songs in Neelakkuyil. Raghavan himself has rendered his voice for one of the songs in Neelakkuyil. The song Kayalarikathu valayerinjappol went on to become an instant hit.[5]

Music career

In a career spanning over four decades, he has scored music for more than sixty Malayalam films and many of his compositions remain ever green classics in Malayalam.[6] Raghavan infused the folk element into Malayalam film music and his rustic melodies replaced the then prevailing trend of imitations of popular Hindi tunes of the day. He also composed songs for plays like Kerala People's Arts Club and All India Radio. Most of his songs were written by P. Bhaskaran. And he dared try out a variety of voices to Malayalam film music, many of them were new. K. J. Yesudas, P. Jayachandran, P.Susheela,Mehboob, K. P. Brahmanandan, M. Balamuralikrishna, M. L. Vasanthakumari, A. P. Komala, Gayathri Srikrishnan, Santha P. Nair, A. M. Rajah, K. P. Udayabhanu, M.G. Radhakrishnan, P. B. Sreenivas, Vani Jayaram, Jikki, V. T. Murali, M. G. Sreekumar, K. S. Chithra and Sujatha Mohan - they have all sung for him.

As a musician



Civilian Awards by Govt. of India

Kerala State Film Awards

Other Awards


  1. ^ "Evergreen compositions". The Hindu. 9 February 2007. Archived from the original on 8 August 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "Raghavan Master is no more, his songs are forever". Times of India. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ Mathrubhumi English – Legendary music director Raghavan master passes away Archived 22 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Music director Raghavan passes away". The Hindu. 19 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  5. ^ "CHORDS AND NOTES". The Hindu. 20 February 2006. Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ MSI Musician Index – K. Raghavan
  7. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  8. ^ "STATE FILM AWARDS 1969 – 2008". The Information & Public Relations Department of Kerala. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  9. ^ "Light Music". Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  10. ^ "MG Radhakrishnan Award to Raghavan master". Archived from the original on 27 November 2011.