Celebrated Malayalam music director and lyricist Alleppey Ranganath died on Sunday night in Kerala. He was 73. Ranganath was admitted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital sometime back where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19. Born to Alappuzha Vezhappra Kunjukunju Bhagavathar and Gana Bhushanam M G Devammal, he was the eldest among six children and had carved a niche for himself early in his career in theatre where he directed 42 plays and 25 dance dramas. At the age of 19, the iconic Malayalam composer wrote and composed music for a play by the Kanjirapally People's Arts Club. Some of his other notable works in theatre include plays like Ayalathe Amma, Kudumbakshetram and Amritasagaram.
Ranganath made his Malayalam cinema debut in 1973 in Jesus under PA Thomas' direction, with the song 'Hosana' turning out to be a hit at the time. His popularity shot up after his collaboration with legendary singer KJ Yesudas, who sang many of his devotional numbers, which also received a big response among Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada audiences. He is known for his work as a composer in films like Aarante Mulla Kochu Mulla (1984), Principal Olivil (1985), Pappan Priyappetta Pappan (1986), and Mamalakalkkappurathu (1988), to name a notable few. The track 'Kaattil Kodum Kattil' from Aarante Mulla Kochu Mulla is still remembered by fans as being one of the classic songs in Malayalam cinema. Ranganath also wrote 10 Carnatic music keerthanas that were based on Bible verses. He has also penned the lyrics for many Lord Ayyappa devotional songs and was honored recently with the Harivarasanam Award by the Kerala Government for his contribution to Malayalam cinema.