Thoppil Anto, 81, known for his rendition of Rafi songs at ganamela events, dies

Thoppil Anto
Thoppil Anto.

Kochi: Popular singer Thoppil Anto, who famously sang Mohammed Rafi songs in 'ganamela' circuits in Kerala died here on Saturday. He was 81.

Anto, who was under treatment for age-related ailments, had sung over a thousand songs for plays and movies in his prime.

He began his singing career by performing in the locality of the St Augustine's School at Kaloor. At 15, Anto joined the music troupe of Edappally Komala Music Club, where he sang alongside C O Anto, Zero Babu, and Maradu Joseph.

Anto sang for a number of popular music troupes namely Cochin Kalabhavan, Harisri, Sivagiri Sarada Kalasamithi, Thiruvananthapuram Tass, Cochin Sax and Old Is Gold.

His entry into the world of drama was made possible by former union minister AC George. He debuted with CJ Thomas's 'Visha Vriksham'.

Soon he became popular in the professional drama circuit and was part of Kottayam National Theatres and N N Pillai's Viswakerala Kalasamithi.

KS Antony, who gave a break to Yesudas, invited him to sing in movies. His first song was 'pinnil ninnu vilikum kunjadukalthan vili kelkkathe engu ponu'.

Anto sang in a number of films, notably, Veenapoovu, Sneham Oru Pravaham and Anubhavangale Nanni. He gave his voice for the music of maestros such as Baburaj, MK Arjunan and Devarajan. His last song was in the movie Honey Bee 2 released in 2017.

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