|Birth name||Govindaraju Gangaraju|
|Occupation(s)||Film composer, instrumentalist, Lyricist, Writer|
|Instruments||Keyboards, vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium, percussion, other|
Hamsalekha (born Govindaraju Gangaraju) is an Indian film composer and a 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 a conductor. Composed and written for over 300 feature films.
Hamsalekha is usually referred to by the title Nada Brahma (English: The Brahma of Music) who is considered to be the major cause for the change in the music composing and lyric writing style which would appeal much to the younger generation. He integrated folk and introduced western musical sensibilities into the mainstream cinema. He is also accredited for introducing many musical talents (singers, composers & lyricists) to the industry.
Hamsalekha has won Indian National Film Awards (the highest film honor in India); 6 times Filmfare Awards for Best Music Director Category; 7 times Karnataka State Film Awards - 4 for music direction and 3 for lyrics - and is a recipient of honorary doctorate, conferred by the Bangalore University.
Hamsalekha was born Govindaraju Gangaraju in Mysore, India. After his studies, he was employed in his father's printing press and subsequently joined his brother Balakrishna's orchestra group. He had a huge flair for writing poetry and forming a tune for his works. He rechristened himself as "Hamsalekhani" since he always used to write with a "Swan"(Kannada : Hamsa) brand pen. Later, his teacher modified his name as "Hamsalekha". He was introduced into feature films by director M. N. Prasad, who provided an opportunity to write a song for the film Triveni (1973). The song "Neena Bhagavantha" was his first release picturised on actor Uday Kumar. 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). Later his popularity soared only after his association with actor-director Ravichandran. Premaloka, released in 1987, brought them together for a collaboration that would endure for over 12 years.
Hamsalekha is married to Latha who was a playback singer in the 1990s. The couple have a son named Alankar and a daughter named Nandini. Alankar is associated with films as an actor and musician. Few of his released and unreleased movies are Sugghi, Tapori and Roja. Nandini began her playback singing career with the film Sixer (2006).
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, folk, ghazals, Sufi, and item songs. "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) 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. His music in the 2010 movie Naanu Nanna Kanasu was appreciated by critics as well as audiences. He also composed for the National Award winning movie Puttakkana Highway in 2011.
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 K. J. Yesudas, Rajkumar, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Vani Jairam, S. Janaki, K. S. Chithra, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Manjula Gururaj, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan 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).
Hamsalekha has written music for stage plays and private albums.
As a writer
Hamsalekha has written stories, screenplays and dialogues for several movies.
- Nimmajji (1989)
- Gandharva (1993)
- Premaloka (1987)
- Ranadheera (1988)
- Avane Nanna Ganda (1989)
- Yuga Purusha (1989)
- Halli Meshtru (1992)
- Gandharva (1993)
Establishment of Musical university
- Established in 2001.
- Interaction with folklore experts of state.
- Seminars on music and Literature.
- Educative camps of folklore culture.
- Fine tuning of folklore music collection.
- Presentation of "LAHIRI", a Desi Sing-n-Dance
- Format of original Folk tripadi.
- Celebrating "Ruthugala Habba", every month with innovative folk formats.
- Invention of "DESI NOTATION", a unique music script for folk music.
- Establishment of Desi Music School.
- Establishment of Desi High School and College.
Desi Vidhya Samsthe
Hamsalekha Desi Vidya Samsthe was established in 2004–2005 as a free educational institution for SC/ST and underprivileged children for 8th, 9th and 10th standard in English medium.[clarification needed] Teaching was given using Dance, Drama and Singing. Started[clarification needed (who did?)] an Arts College in 2007–2008 to provide Desi degree courses. Land has been allocated near Channapatna for a Desi Degree Residential College. Hamsalekha also runs a music class, where he encourages and mentors talented young singers.
Desi Music Trust
Hamsalekha laid the foundation stone for Desi Music University on the day of Kannada Rajyotsava on 1 November 2010. The university will be built with ₹ 1.20 billion on 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land in Mudhigere village near Channapatna in Karnataka. The Dravidian University of Andhra Pradesh has given recognition to this Hamsalekha College of Performing Arts.
Hamsalekha has received many awards over the past three decades.
- 2005 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - Film: Nenapirali
- 2000 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - Film: Preethse
- 1998 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - Film: Yaare Neenu Cheluve
- 1994 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - Film: Halunda Tavaru
- 1993 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - film: Aakasmika
- 1991 - Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (Kannada) - Film: Ramachaari
- For music direction
- 2005 - Best Music Director - Nenapirali
- 1999 - Best Music Director - Hrudaya Hrudaya
- 1996 - Best Music Director - Taayi Illada Tavaru
- 1994 - Best Music Director - Halunda Tavaru
- For lyrics
- 2001 - Best Lyricist - Sri Manjunatha
- 2000 - Best Lyricist - Tutta Mutta?
- 1996 - Best Lyricist - Thayi Illada Tavaru
- 2012 - Dr. Rajkumar Award from Karnataka State Government
- 2005 - Rajyostava Award (Suvarna Rajyostava)
- 2001 - Nandi Award - Sri Manjunatha
- 2004 - Hello Gandhinagara Award Best Music Director 
- 2005 - Kempegowda Prashasti
- 2005 - Sunfeast Udaya film award for the best lyrics - Nenapirali
- 2001: Sri Manjunatha
- 2000: Nannu Preminchave
- 2000: Sparsha The Touch
- 1991: Shanthi Kranthi
- 1997: Omkaram
- 1993: Ankuram
- 1990: Prema Yuddham
- 1989: Muthyamantha Muddu
- 1988: Avalu
- 1991: Captain Magal
- 1991: Nattukku Oru Nallavan
- 1990: Velai Kidaichuduchu
- 1989: Idhu Unga Kudumbam
- 1989: Jaadiketta Moodi
- 1988: Kodi Parakuthu
- 1988: Puthiya Vaanam
- 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.
- Mukhaputa, a movie directed by Roopa Iyer, featured music and an onscreen appearance by Hamsalekha.
- "Hamsalekha 60". Chitraloka. 23 June 2011.
- "Dr. Hamsalekha now". Indiaglitz. 14 May 2014.
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- "Hamsalekha to don director’s hat". Bangalore Mirror. 2014.
- "Nandini debut in item song". Indiaglitz. 19 December 2006.
- "'Puttakkana Highway' - honest and objective | TopNews". Topnews.in. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "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.
- Super Admin (9 July 2009). "Musician Hamsalekha | Desi Music University | College Art Exhibition | Research Centre". Entertainment.oneindia.in. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "Hello Gandhinagar readers choice cine awards". viggy.com.
- "Kannada movie in Guinness Book". Kollywood Today. 11 November 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2012.