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Year Ender |  31 Jan 2009 16:31 |  By RnMTeam

2008 - Those who left us

2008 was a year marked by several developments in the radio and music industries, but it was also a year when some noted personalities in these fields, who had left their mark in their respective fields, passed away. Radioandmusic.com pays tribute.

Sharan Rani

Versatile Hindustani musician Sharan Rani, popularly known as 'Sarod Rani', passed away in New Delhi on 8 April, a day before her 80th birthday.

Rani, the first woman to take up the Sarod, was a disciple of great music maestros Ustad Allaudin Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. She belonged to the Maihar Senia gharana and was hailed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the 'Cultural Ambassador of India'.

Rani, a Padma Bhushan awardee who created new ragas, was the first musician to travel abroad and record with major music companies in the United States and Britain. The author of The Divine Sarod: its Origin, Antiquity and Development in India since BC 2nd century, she was an avid collector of rare instruments and set up the Sharan Rani Backliwal Gallery, displaying nearly 450 classical instruments.

She was awarded the title 'National Artist' by the government for her lifetime achievements and also conferred awards by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi government's Sahitya Kala Parishad Award and the Rajiv Gandhi National Excellence award among others.

A set of four postage stamps, featuring four instruments from her gallery, were also released in 1998.

N Vasudevan

Neyyatinkara Vasudevan, well-known Carnatic musician, passed away on 14 May. Vasudevan (68), a former artist of AIR, played a key role in popularising Swathi Thirunal Kreethans in and outside the state. A recipient of many national and state awards, Vasudevan was also awarded Padma Shri in 2004 for his valuable contribution to Carnatic music.

He received the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award in 1999 and also the prestigious Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram of the Kerala Government in 2007.

Vasudevan, who was born into a poor family, scaled the ladders of success through hard work and dedication.

Ishmeet Singh

Winner of Star Plus' talent hunt in 2007, Voice of India, Ishmeet Singh met with a fatal accident on 29 July. The 19 year old Ludhiana based singer died of drowning in a swimming pool in the Maldives while on his promotional tour to promote music label Big Music, with which he had signed a contract. Ishmeet was accompanied with another VoI and Jo jeeta wohi superstar contestant Sumitra Iyer for the Maldives event, that was to be held from 1 to 6 August.

A promising voice was nipped in the bud due to the fatal accident. Loved by fans and rivals alike, Ishmeet had already finished recording a romantic album with music director Lalit Sen and was about to lend his voice for the music director's forthcoming project. Big Music, on its part, has just released an album Mool Mantar, recorded in Ishmeet's voice last year.

K K Birla

Hindustan Times Group chairman and noted industrialist, Dr KK Birla, passed away in Kolkata on 30 August after a brief illness.

Dr Birla was 90 years old. HT Media, through its subsidiary HT Music and Entertainment Company Ltd is in a consulting partnership with Virgin, operates the FM radio channel Fever 104 in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

K Vaidyanathan

The man who came to symbolize the violin for many a generation in South India, Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan breathed his last on 8 September.

Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan was born in 1932 in a family of musicians and took to music at a very early age. His talent was obvious and the passionate musician came to be known as a person who believed in music's power over the elements. When the city of Chennai used to reel under drought conditions the musician par excellence used to conduct concerts to woo the elements of nature.

A man of many talents, he ventured into the film industry with 'Vaa Raja Vaa'. In the film 'Deivam', his composition 'Marudamalai Mamaniyae Murugaiyya' became a stupendous hit. He had composed music for several films including 'Agathiyar' and 'Raja Raja Chozhan'.

Recipient of the prestigious Kalaimamani award in 1975 and Padmashree in 2005, Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan produced a film called 'Todi Raagam' which was critically acclaimed for its music.

Mahendra Kapoor

Noted playback singer Mahendra Kapoor, whose voice has delighted music lovers across generations, passed away on 29 September.

Kapoor, 74, was suffering from a kidney ailment and undergoing dialysis.
The Maharashtra government had recently announced the Lata Mangeshkar award for his lifetime contribution in the field of playback music.
Born in Amritsar in 1934, Kapoor sang innumerable memorable Hindi film songs,notable being those for B.R. Chopra's Films (Dhool Ka Phool, Gumrah, Waqt, Hamraaz, Dhund etc.) and for actor/producer Manoj Kumar (Upkaar, Purab Aur Paschim etc.)

Kapoor was also well known in the Marathi movies for being the playback singer for Dada Kondke in all his movies. In spite of being associated with Dada Kondke's colloquial style his singing for Marathi movies was not limited to Dada Kondke's movies only.

In 1968, he won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for mere desh ki dharti song in the film Upkaar. Among the Filmfare Awards he won are - 1963 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for chalo ek bar phirse in Gumrah 1967 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for neele gagan ke tale in Hamraaz 1974 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for nahin nahin bus aur nahin in Roti Kapda Aur Makan.

Mahendra Kapoor was also awarded the Padmashri by the Government of India.

H Sridhar

Sridhar, Chief Audio Engineer at Media Artists, passed away on 1 December. A mathematics graduate, with keen interest in electronics and formal music training, he started a professional sound engineering career in 1988. He had engineered over 200 films and worked closely with directors like Mani Ratnam, K Balachandar, Bharathiraaja, Shankar, Kamal Hassan, P C Sreeram, Priyadarsan, Sibi Malayil and Ramgopal Varma.

Among the 50 year old Sridhar's many professional credits was the fact that he engineered all songs and background scores for the renowned music director A R Rahman. Some ground-breaking films to his credit are Roja, Gentleman, Kadhalan, Thiruda Thiruda, Bombay, Duet, Mahanadi, Rangeela, Kuruthippunnal, Muthu, Indian, Minsaara Kanavu and Iruvar. He also engineered the background music score and songs for the national award winning films Kaala Paani for music director Ilaiyaraaja and Minasaara Kanavu for music director A R Rahman. Sridhar was awarded the President's Gold Medal (The National Award for Best Audiography) four times: for the film Mahanadi in 1994, Dil Se in 1999, Lagaan in 2001 & Kannathil Muththamittal in 2003. Having pioneered the use of Digital Sound for Indian films in the DTS format, Sridhar successfully completed six-track surround sound mixing for more than 200 films including Karuppu Roja, Siraichaalai, Indian, Bharatheeyudu, Hindustani, Paeyi, Iruvar, Minsaara Kanavu, Sapnay, Ziddi, Judwaa, My Dear Kuttichathan 3D, V I P, Aflatoon, Devathai, Chhota Chetan, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya , Satya , Jeans, Dil Se, Kadhalar Dinam, Padayappa, Mudhalvan, Pukaar, Alaipaayuthey, Kandukondain Kandukondai, Kushi, among others.

Sridhar also engineered and mixed albums for international artists like George Harrison of The Beatles, John Neptune Kaizan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain, L Shankar and John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra and Shakti fame).

Irshwin Balvani

Irshwin Balvani, business head of music television channels Zee Muzic and ETC Music, passed away on 3 December, following a cardiac arrest.

Balvani was the Business Head of Zee Music and ETC channels, and also held the portfolio of Events for the company. Balvani had over 31 years of experience in the entertainment industry with leading media companies. Prior to joining Zee Network in September 2005, Balvani was with the Times Group for 13 years, working on group properties such as Planet M, Times Music, Times FM and Zoom Television. He also had stints with Sony Music and Gramaphone Co.

PK Mishra

PK Mishra, the lyricist of the catchy number, �Dil Hai Chhota Sa, Choti Si Aasha' and �Bharat humko jaan se pyaara hai' from Roja, passed away on 25 December in Chennai.

In the 1990s when a number of Tamil films were being remade in Hindi, Rajasthan-born Mishra wrote lyrics for several popular Hindi numbers. Penning for tracks like �Choti si aasha' and �Bharat humko jaan se pyaara hai', Mishra teamed up with Rahman in many such movies like Roja in 1993.

Mishra also worked with Ilayaraja and Karthik Raja, and his list of films include Hindusthani', Hamse Hai Muqabala', Thalapathi, My Brother Nikhil, Saza-e-Kalapani', Duniya Dil Walonki', Viswa Vidhata', Love Birds and the most recent, Mukhbiir.