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Dr. Hamsalekha
Background information
Birth nameGovindaraju Gangaraju
Born (1951-06-23) 23 June 1951 (age 69)
OriginMandya, Karnataka, India
GenresFilm score
World music
Occupation(s)Film composer, instrumentalist, Lyricist, Writer
InstrumentsKeyboards, vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium, percussion, other
Years active1981–present

Hamsalekha (born Govindaraju Gangaraju on 23 June 1951) 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 500 feature films.

Hamsalekha is usually referred to by the title Naadha 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.[1] He integrated folk and introduced western musical sensibilities into the mainstream cinema. He is also accredited for introducing many musical talents (singers, composers and lyricists) to the industry.

Hamsalekha has won one National Film Awards and 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.[2]

Early career[edit]

Hamsalekha was born Govindaraju Gangaraju in Mandya, India. After his studies, he was employed in his father's printing press and subsequently joined his brother Balakrishna's orchestra group.[3] He had a huge flair for writing poetry and forming a tune for his works. He renamed himself as "Hamsalekhani" since he always used to write with a "Swan"(Kannada : Hamsa) brand pen given by Lavani Neelakantappa his then Guru. Later, his teacher modified his name as "Hamsalekha".[4] 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 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). 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.

Family life[edit]

Hamsalekha is married to Latha 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. 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).[5]

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, 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.[citation needed] He also composed for the National Award-winning movie Puttakkana Highway in 2011.[6]

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, P. Susheela, K. J. Yesudas, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Vani Jairam, Swarnalatha, K. S. Chithra, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Anuradha Paudwal, B. R. Chaya, Manjula Gururaj, Rajesh Krishnan, Chandrika Gururaj, Hemanth Kumar, Nanditha, 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).

Non-film music[edit]

Hamsalekha has written music for stage plays and private albums.[7]

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

Establishment of Musical university[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[8]


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.[9][10][11]

Filmfare Awards South:

Karnataka State Film Awards:

For music direction
For lyrics

Other awards:


Telugu films[edit]

Tamil films[edit]



  1. ^ "Hamsalekha 60". Chitraloka. 23 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Dr. Hamsalekha now". Indiaglitz. 14 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Hamsalekha - Indian cinema". Indian cinema wiki. Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Hamsalekha to don director's hat". Bangalore Mirror. 2014.
  5. ^ "Nandini debut in item song". Indiaglitz. 19 December 2006.
  6. ^ "'Puttakkana Highway' - honest and objective | TopNews". Topnews.in. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ http://karnataka.indiaeveryday.in/news-dr-hamsalekha-now-1481-6925228.htm
  10. ^ http://kannada.oneindia.in/news/bangalore/bangalore-university-to-confer-doctorate-on-kiran-mazumdar-hamsalekha-084147.html
  11. ^ http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/BU-Hon-Degrees-for-Shaw-5-Others/2014/05/11/article2218329.ece
  12. ^ https://archive.is/20170208062511/https://archive.org/details/39thAnnualFilmfareKannadaBestDirectorFilmMusic
  13. ^ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-14/news-interviews/37712086_1_second-best-film-basanth-kumar-patil-sunil-kumar-desai
  14. ^ "Hello Gandhinagar readers choice cine awards". viggy.com.
  15. ^ "Kannada movie in Guinness Book". Kollywood Today. 11 November 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]