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Background information
Birth nameGangaraju
Born (1951-06-23) June 23, 1951 (age 71)
Tulasikatte, Akkipete, Bangalore[1]
OriginMandya, Karnataka, India
GenresFilm score
World music
Occupation(s)Music Composer, Lyricist, Screenwriter, Dialogue writer
Instrument(s)Keyboards, vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium, percussion, other
Years active1981–present

Gangaraju (born June 23, 1951), professionally known as Hamsalekha, is an Indian film composer and songwriter who works in South Indian cinema, predominantly in the Kannada film industry since the late 1980s. He is also a screenplay writer, dialogue writer, instrumentalist and conductor, having composed and written over 500 albums.[2]

Hamsalekha has won one National Film Award, six Filmfare Awards in the Best Music Director Category, seven Karnataka State Film Awards - four for music direction and three for lyrics - and is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Bangalore University.[3]

Early career[edit]

Hamsalekha was born as Gangaraju in 1951, to K. H. Govindaraju and Rajamma in Tulasikatte, near Akkipete in Bangalore.[1] After his studies, he was employed in his father's printing press and subsequently joined his brother Balakrishna's orchestra group.[4] Lavani Neelakantappa his teacher modified his name as "Hamsalekha".[5] He was introduced into feature films by director M. N. Prasad, who provided an opportunity to write a song for the film Triveni (1973).[6]The song "Neena Bhagavantha" was his first release picturised on actor Udaykumar. His debut film as a musician was the 1981 unreleased film Rahuchandra. Officially, his cinema career started as a dialogue and lyric writer for the film Naanu Nanna Hendthi (1985).[citation needed]Later his popularity peaked only after his association with actor-director Ravichandran. Premaloka, released in 1987.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Hamsalekha is married to Latha Hamsalekha who was a playback singer in the 1990s. The couple have a son named Alankar and two daughters named Tejaswini and Nandini. Alankar is associated with films as an actor and musician. Few of his released and unreleased movies are Sugghi, Tapori and Roja.[citation needed] Tejaswini is associated with film direction, acting and directing plays, she has done her master's in theater from Bangalore University and directed many plays in association with her father Hamsalekha. Nandini began her playback singing career with the film Sixer (2006).[8]

Notable works[edit]

After working on Premaloka, Hamsalekha became one of the most prolific music directors in Kannada film, with many hits. He made occasional use of many genres of music, including Western, pop, rock, hip hop, Indian classical,[citation needed] folk, ghazals, Sufi, and item songs.[citation needed]"Chandakinta Chanda", a ghazal he composed for the film Sparsha, was a major hit. He has created songs ranging from the philosophical ("Le Le Marula" in Shaapa, a film whose story he wrote himself) to the naughty ("Kaayi Kaayi Nuggekaayi Mahimege" in Halli Maestru), the patriotic ("Huttidhare Kannada Nadalli Hutta Bekku" in Rajkumar's Aakasmika, a song which has become an unofficial anthem of Karnataka)[citation needed]and love songs ("Ele Hombisile..." in Halunda Tavaru). He composed the background score for one movie using a single instrument and made the music for Kona Eedaite with no instruments at all. His music in the film Hagalu Vesha had a rustic and folk feel without the use of synthetic sounds. Shanthi, a film by Baraguru Ramachandrappa with music by Hamsalekha, was mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the film with only one character.[9] He made his an onscreen appearance in Mukhaputa.[10] His music in the 2010 movie Naanu Nanna Kanasu was appreciated by critics as well as audiences.[citation needed] He also composed for the National Award-winning movie Puttakkana Highway in 2011.[11]

The melodic structure of his songs demand considerable vocal virtuosity, and have found expressive platform amongst some of India's respected vocalists and playback singers, such as Dr. Rajkumar, P. B. Sreenivas, S. Janaki, Vani Jairam, P. Susheela, K. J. Yesudas, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Mano, Swarnalatha, K. S. Chithra, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Anuradha Paudwal, Sadhana Sargam, B. R. Chaya, Manjula Gururaj, Chandrika Gururaj, L. N. Shastry, Rajesh Krishnan, Ramesh Chandra, Hemanth Kumar, Sangeetha Katti, Rathnamala Prakash, Nanditha, Sowmya Raoh, B. Jayashree, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu and Shreya Ghoshal with majority of the songs recorded by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki and K. S. Chithra. He recorded some of the rare and distinct voices like M. Balamuralikrishna for a song in Muthina Haara (1990), C. Ashwath for Hoovu Hannu (1993) and Pankaj Udhas for Sparsha (2001).[citation needed]

Non-film music[edit]

Hamsalekha has written music for stage plays and private albums.[12]

As a writer[edit]

Hamsalekha has written stories, screenplays and dialogues for several movies.





Hamsalekha has mentored several notable singers, music directors, lyricist, directors in Kannada movie industry[citation needed]

Desi Music Trust[edit]

Hamsalekha laid the foundation stone for Desi Music University on the day of Kannada Rajyotsava on 1 November 2010.[citation needed]The university will be built with 1.20 billion on 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land in Mudhigere village near Channapatna in Karnataka.[citation needed] The Dravidian University of Andhra Pradesh has given recognition to this Hamsalekha College of Performing Arts.[13]


Hamsalekha has received many awards over the past three decades.

National Film Awards:

Honorary doctorate: He has been conferred the honorary doctorate award by the Bengaluru University in the year 2014 for his meritorious service to the Indian Music Industry.[14][15][16]

Filmfare Awards South:

Karnataka State Film Awards:

For music direction
For lyrics

Other awards:


Telugu films[edit]

Tamil films[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ಸಂಗೀತವೇ ನನ್ನ ಜೀವ, ಜೀವಾಳ" [Music is my life, force]. Vijaya Karnataka (in Kannada). 15 November 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Legendary Kannada Music Composer Gangaraju Turns 71: Some Little-Known Facts". News18. 23 June 2022. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Dr. Hamsalekha now". IndiaGlitz. 14 May 2014. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Hamsalekha - Indian cinema". Indian cinema wiki. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Hamsalekha to don director's hat". Bangalore Mirror. 2014.
  6. ^ "Hamsalekha: I learnt my art from folk balladeers". Deccan Herald. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  7. ^ "Hamsalekha at 70 looks back on a prolific career". Deccan Herald. 25 June 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  8. ^ "Nandini debut in item song". IndiaGlitz. 19 December 2006. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Kannada movie in Guinness Book". Kollywood Today. 11 November 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Kannada film 'Mukhaputa' wins top honours at Ireland film fest". Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  11. ^ "'Puttakkana Highway' - honest and objective | TopNews". Topnews.in. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Kannada/Movie Songs - Movies containing Music Director: Hamsalekha - Free Indian Music, Listen to Free Bollywood, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Carnatic, Hindustani, Devotional Music". MusicIndiaOnline. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  13. ^ Super Admin (9 July 2009). "Musician Hamsalekha | Desi Music University | College Art Exhibition | Research Centre". Entertainment.oneindia.in. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  14. ^ http://karnataka.indiaeveryday.in/news-dr-hamsalekha-now-1481-6925228.htm[bare URL]
  15. ^ "ನಾದಬ್ರಹ್ಮ ಹಂಸಲೇಖ, ಕಿರಣ್ ಷಾಗೆ ಬೆಂವಿವಿ ಡಾಕ್ಟರೇಟ್". 13 May 2014.
  16. ^ "BU Hon Degrees for Shaw, 5 Others".
  17. ^ "39th Annual Filmfare Kannada Best Director Film Music : Santosh : Fre…". Archived from the original on 8 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Karnataka State Film Awards 2010-11 winners - Times of India". articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Hello Gandhinagar readers choice cine awards". viggy.com.

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