For actor, see Baburaj (actor).
M. S. Baburaj
Birth name Mohammad Sabir Baburaj
Also known as Baburaj, Babukka
Born (1921-03-09)9 March 1921
Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Died 7 October 1978(1978-10-07) (aged 57)
Genres Film score
Occupation(s) Composer, singer, instrumentalist,
Years active 1957–1978

Mohammad Sabir Baburaj (Malayalam: എം.എസ്‌. ബാബുരാജ്), also known as M. S. Baburaj, was a Malayalam music composer. He is often credited for the renaissance of Malayalam film music.[1] Baburaj has rendered music to many evergreen Malayalam film songs.[2]

Early years

Baburaj was born on 9 March 1921 in Kozhikode, then known as Calicut. His early childhood was spent in destitution and poverty. His father, Jan Muhammed Khan, who was a Hindustani musician from Bengal who frequently held concerts in Kerala, deserted his Malayali mother when he was very young, and returned to his native Kolkata. Baburaj thus became fatherless, often singing songs in trains to make a living. But as luck would have it, a policeman, Kunjahammed (he was called Kunjahammed ka), an enthusiast of music from his native town of Kozhikode, noticing the boy's vocal talents, decided to virtually adopt him.

Music career

One of his greatest achievements was the introduction of Hindustani strains into Malayalam popular music. He successfully composed melodies based on Hindustani Ragas and blended Malayalam lyrics into them. Most of the lyrics were written by eminent Malayalam poets like P. Bhaskaran and Vayalar.[3]

Baburaj learned basic lessons of Hindustani music from his father from a very young age, but he could not learn it for long due to his father's demise. In search of pure music, young Baburaj visited West Bengal, Mumbai and Sri Lanka . He learned to play the Harmonium during this period.

He came back to Kerala to a precarious existence. He sang on the streets of Kozhikode to earn his livelihood. Police constable Kunju Muhammed, who was a fan of Baburaj's father, adopted him and brought him up.

Later he started composing music for the Malayalam dramas in the Malabar region and thus slowly entered the field of music direction. In 1957, he composed music for the Malayalam film Minnaminungu, by Ramu Kariat, thus entering the Malayalam film industry. Then he worked with director P. Venu and composed classic songs like "Anuragaganam Pole", "Ezhuthiyatharanu Sujatha", and "Kalichirimaaratha Penne" for the film Udhyogastha (1967).

Baburaj was also an accomplished singer and harmonium player.

Baburaj died an early death, on 7 October 1978 at the age of 57. He was survived by his wife and children.

The Baburaj-P. Bhaskaran-Yesudas combination produced many of the most memorable Malayalam tunes of the 60's and 70's. Most of his classic duets were sung by K. J. Yesudas & S. Janaki, each recording solo Baburaj compositions as well. The Baburaj–S. Janaki partnership is sometimes compared to that of Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar in Hindi music.

Many of Baburaj's songs remain very popular in Kerala, with songs like "Oru Pushpam Maatram" frequently rendered on stage at various events.

The Manorama Music company chanced upon an old audio cassette of Baburaj rendering some of his own compositions towards the end 1960s, when most of his greatest hits were composed. The cassette was re-mixed and became an instant hit. The tracks gave Kerala a rejuvenated taste of Baburaj's music.

Though a successful composer, Baburaj was never interested in "getting ahead", but kept his focus on his art. Today, various clubs and musical organisations conduct stage programs in honour of Baburaj ("Babukka" to his friends and acquaintances[4]), and give the proceeds to his family. During his time, money was not easy to by come for artists, and Baburaj never managed to earn much, dying in poverty. "Thrikkakkare theerthakkare" in the 1978 film Yagaswam, directed by Hariharan, was his last recorded song.

Notable songs

Partial filmography

The following is an incomplete list of movies that Baburaj had composed songs for. All the films are in Malayalam.

See also


  1. "The Magic of Baburaj". The Hindu. 30 April 2005. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  2. "'Pattupetti' tunes in to Baburaj". The Hindu. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  3. "Baburaj Mehfil to entral music buffs". The New Indian Express. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  4. "A journey in search of M.S. Baburaj". The Hindu. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2009.

External links

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