Thiruvananthapuram: Eminent Carnatic vocalist and playback singer K J Yesudas, who has enthralled music aficionados across the world with his profound and mellifluous voice for the last six decades, turned 80 on Friday.
People from various walks of life, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and luminaries of music and film world besides socio-cultural personalities, wished the legendary singer, popularly called as 'gana gandharvan' (the celestial singer) by his fans, on his birthday.
Regional newspapers came out with special pages and television channels with exclusive programmes as a tribute to the singer, who has recorded over 80,000 songs in various genres in almost all languages of India including about 25,000 film songs, Carnatic bhajans and devotional songs.
Besides Indian languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Odia, his voice gave life to songs in Arabic, English, Latin, and Russian during a career spanning over six decades.
Yesudas, whom the country had honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 2017, is the recipient of eight national awards, 25 Kerala state awards, five state awards of Tamil Nadu and four of Andhra Pradesh.
"On the special occasion of his 80th birthday, greetings to the versatile K J Yesudas Ji. His melodious music and soulful renditions have made him popular across all age groups. He has made valuable contributions to Indian culture. Wishing him a long and healthy life," Modi tweeted.
In a tweet, Pinarayi said "Birthday greetings to Shri. K J Yesudas. May the years ahead be filled with happiness and success."
The chief minister also shared a photo of the veteran singer along with the tweet.
Meanwhile, Yesudas this morning visited the Mookambika Temple at Kollur in Udupi district of Karnataka along with his family, a practice he has been following for the last four decades.
Draped in the traditional Kerala style kasavu mundu and shawl, 'dasettan', as he is known among his hardcore fans cutting across ages, Yesudas offered prayers along with his wife Prabha and sons and performed special poojas at the Goddess Saraswathi temple.
Hundreds of music buffs gathered at the shrine to wish the octogenarian singer.
Considered as one of the best playback singers in the country, Yesudas had begun his music career in the tinsel town with the Malayalam song "Jathi bhedam matha dwesham" in the year 1961 and sang in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films among other languages.
Yesudas's foray into Bollywood saw him recording various memorable hits, including "Jab Deep Jale Aana" and "Gori Tera Gaon Bada Pyara".
(With inputs from PTI)