Kochi: Singer and actor Pappukutty Bhagavathar died of age-related ailments at his residence in Palluruthy in Kochi on Monday. He was 107.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar’s first stage appearance was when he was seven in a musical drama called Vedamani. He went on to act in over 25 films and over 15,000 stage plays.
He sang for many movies. He last sang for the movie called Marykkundoru Kunjadu in 2010.
His first movie was Prasanna, which was shot at the Pakshiraj Studio in Coimbatore.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar was born on March 29, 1912. He was among the most prominent drama, film and singing talents to emerge from Fort Kochi during his time.
He became a professional actor by donning the role of Mary Magdalene in artiste P J Cherian’s ‘The story of Messiah’ when he was just 17.
He then acted in the play called Maya, written by Thikkurissy Sukumarana Nair. Pappukutty Bhagavathar played the protagonist, while Thikkurissy played the villain in the play, which created a storm when it was staged.
He also acted in many other plays, including Samatvam Swatantryam, Theruvuthendi, Communist Alla, Bhagyachakram, Inapravukal, Chirikunna Chekuthan and Pathombatham Nootandu.
He acted in plays in over 15,000 venues and also sang in many of them. Pappukutty Bhagavathar also often worked with singer Yesudas’ father Augustine Joseph.
He acted in about 25 movies, including Sree Guruvayurappan, Sthreehrudayam, Muthalaali, Vilakuranja Manushyar, Padichha Kallan and Anju Sundarigal. His last film as an actor was Vice-chancellor, which released in 1988.
He was also the playback singer for stars Sathyan and Naseer in many movies.
In 2010, he sang the song Entadukke Vannadukkum pemprannole for the movie Marykkundoru Kunjaadu, which became a hit, making his presence known to the new generation.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar was also famous for presenting Muttathu Varkey's Padatha Painkili in a narrative story form in over 250 venues.
He organised a concert in Kochi to celebrate his 100th birthday. Kochi residents still remember his concert, which got him an entry into the Limca Book of Records.
Pappukutty Bhagavathar won many honours and awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award and fellowship.
His wife was the late Baby, who died in 2017. Singer Selma George, who is the wife of cinema director K G George, film and serial actor Mohan Jose, Sabu Jose, Shadhi and the late Jeevan Jose are his children.