Upendra Kumar

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Upendra Kumar
Born 1941
British India
Origin Orissa, India
Died 24 January 2002 (aged 60–61)
Bangalore, India
Genres Film score, theatre
Occupation(s) Composer, music director, instrumentalist
Years active 1966–2002

Upendra Kumar (1941 – 24 January 2002) (Kannada: ಉಪೇಂದ್ರ ಕುಮಾರ್) was an Indian music director who predominantly worked in Kannada and Oriya films. He was known for his strong association with Dr. Rajkumar and his family and scored some of his career best compositions for the films featuring Rajkumar and his sons. He had scored for 210 films including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Tulu cinema.[1]


Early life[edit]

Upendra Kumar was born in 1941 in Orissa to a Telugu speaking Brahmin family. His father, Lakshman Swamy was an astrologer. Kumar studied up to 7th Grade and shifted towards music learning with the help of his uncle, Apparao. He underwent rigorous training in Hindustani classical, Western instrumental and Indian string instruments. He graduated in B. A. Music with first grade at Utkal University of Music.[citation needed]


Upendra Kumar made his debut with a Rajkumar adventure, Kathariveera (1966).

Upendra Kumar hailed from Oriya, and lived in Madras for the most part of his career. He was called upon to make the music for films starring Rajkumar's children as well. In Nanjundi Kalyana, he made the famously hiccup Olage seridare gundu, shot on Malashri and Raghavendra Rajkumar. The Shivaraj Kumar starrer Rathasaptami also had his music.

The mandolin and the sitar were prominently used in Upendra Kumar's instrumentation, and he was particularly fond of raga Kafi and melodies deriving from that scale. Idu yaaru bareda katheyo, his memorable hit in Premada Kanike, was based on this raga.

In the 1980s, Upendra Kumar recorded a series of albums with Rajkumar singing songs in praise of saint Raghavendra Swami, and deities like Hanuman. Upendra Kumar's tunes for Guruvara banthamma and Haalalladaru haaku have become popular among the devout.

Jeevana Chaitra, for which Rajkumar won a national award for best playback singer (for the classical raga-based number Nadamaya) had Upendra Kumar's music. Jeevanachaitra campaigned against drink, and ironically, Upendra Kumar reportedly suffered poor health in recent years because of his drinking.


Upendra Kumar died on 24 January 2002. He died ailing from jaundice at Bangalore.


Ellige payana yaavudo daari from Sipayi Ramu. Neenaro eno sakha engaasare from Hasiru Torana. Ee sambhashane from Dharma Sere Idu yaaru bareda katheyo, Baanigondu elle ellide from Premada Kanike Idu yaaru bareda katheyo from Anuraga Aralitu





  • Manika
  • Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja
  • Samarpana
  • Pipasha
  • Kula Chandrama
  • Ae Nuhen Kahani
  • Mana Akasha
  • Dharithri
  • Alibha Daga
  • Parivara
  • Palataka
  • Pati Patni
  • Punar Milana

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Another composer bids goodbye". ourkarnataka.com.