indian cinema heritage foundation

Ramesh Naidu

Music Director
  • Real Name: Pasupuleti Ramesh Naidu
  • Born: 1 January, 1933 (Kondapalli, Madras Presidency, British India)
  • Died: 3 September, 1987 (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh)
  • Primary Cinema: Telugu

Music composer Ramesh Naidu is known for films such as Thoorpu Padamara (1976), Swayamkrushi (1987), and Aha Naa Pellanta (1987). Working primarily in Telugu cinema, he composed music for several films in the 1970s and 1980s. The music he scored for the film Meghasandesam in 1982 is considered as his best score; he won the National Film Award for Best Music Director for the film. A multi-instrumentalist, and singer, he also won the Nandi Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Chillarakottu Chittemma (1977). 

Born on 1 January, 1933, in current Andhra Pradesh, he followed the advice of a senior friend to reach Bombay and explore opportunities as a singer. Finding work as an assistant in a music instrument shop, it was here that he learned music and also had opportunities to interact with Hindi and Marathi directors. His skill came to notice when he tuned to a song given by B R Chopra within a matter of minutes. The well-known filmmaker was supposedly left speechless by his talent, and marked out his potential as a music director. It was at Chopra’s behest that Naidu joined the music company HMV, to gain facility with music instrumentation and orchestration. 

Naidu made his debut as a music director with the Marathi film Bandval Pahija when he was still very young. He scored the music of Hamlet, the 1954 Hindi tragedy drama film, produced and directed by Kishore Sahu. The film was produced under the Hindustan Chitra banner, a production company started by Sahu in 1944, and starred Mala Sinha, Kishore Sahu, Venus Banerji, Kamaljeet and Jankidas. It had lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri, while the playback singing was provided by Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi and Jagmohan Bakshi.

He was introduced to Telugu films with Dampatyam (1957) which was produced by singer-actress Krishnaveni. Moving later to Calcutta, Naidu worked for approximately 10 years for Bengali, Nepali and Oriya films before returning to Telugu films with Amma Mata in 1972. 

Naidu composed music mainly for the directors Dasari Narayana Rao, Vijaya Nirmala and Jandhyala. His major works include Srivariki Premalekha (1984), Sivaranjani (1978), Ananda Bhairavi (1983) and Swayamkrushi (1987). Among the other films he composed for are Aha Naa Pellanta (1987), Srivari Sobhanam (1985), Babai Abbai (1984), Srivaariki Premalekha (1984), Meghasandesam (1983), Rendu Jella Seetha (1983), Nelavanka (1983), Jayasudha (1982), Antham Kadidi Aarambam (1981), Hema Hemeelu (1979), Pasupu Parani (1980), Dao Pe Dao (1980), Sangham Chekkina Silpalu (1979), Pati Patni (1978), Sivaranjani (1978), Chillarakottu Chittamma (1977), Thoorpu Padamara (1976), and Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973). 

He won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Meghasandesam in 1983. The Telugu-language drama film, produced and directed by Dasari Narayana Rao under his Taraka Prabhu Films banner, starred Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Jayaprada, and Jayasudha. The film was screened at the 9th International Film Festival of India, and at the Moscow film festival. It won four Awards including Best Feature Film in Telugu at the 30th National Film Awards "For its lyrical and aesthetic qualities", the Filmfare award for Best Telugu Film, and the Nandi award for Best Feature Film.

Naidu, as revealed by Syamala Rao during a television programme on the Telugu channel called Swaraneerajanam, had a typical pattern composing music and could tune a song in different structures of Carnatic music from charanam to pallavi or anupallavi to charam and pallavi, which was a rare talent. He also had a fixed team of musicians who would work with him, including Syamala Rao Yakkala, and Satya Narayana. Naidu also went on to introduce a few famous people to the music industry, such as violinist Yanamadra Nagayagna Sarma, father of popular music director Mani Sharma. A young A R Rahman also worked for Naidu in 1984, playing the keyboard.

Among the awards Ramesh Naidu won are the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for Meghasandesam (1983), the Nandi Award for Best Music Director for the same film, and the Nandi Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Chillarakottu Chittemma (1977). 

Ramesh Naidu passed away on 3 September, 1987 in Hyderabad.