N. C. Vasanthakokilam
|Nagapattinam Chandrashekharan Vasanthakokilam|
Vasanthakokilam in the 1950 film Krishna Vijayam
Irinjalakuda, Cochin State, British India
7 November 1951 (aged 32)|
Gopalapuram, Madras State, India
Nagapattinam Chandrashekharan Vasanthakokilam (1919 – 7 November 1951) was a Carnatic singer and actress. Her work included the performances of kritis by Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar and in the years after Indian independence, she helped popularise the famous mystic poet of Tamil Nadu, Kavi Yogi Maharishi Dr. Shuddhananda Bharati's songs. She died of tuberculosis in 1951.
NCV was born as Kamakshi in Irinjalakkuda, Cochin State of British India, the present Kerala. Her family then shifted to Nagapattinam. Her father, Chandrashekhara Iyer sent her under the tutelage of Nagapattinam 'Jalra' Gopala Iyer, an accompanist in Harikatha performances. In 1936, the family moved to Madras, where she started giving concerts. She won the first prize in vocal music at the Madras Music Academy annual conference of 1938, which was presided over by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and declared open by the Yuvaraja of Mysore.
Her voice was melodious with perfect intonation, sruti, emotion, high-pitched and clear pronunciation of words. Her rendering of higher octaves and sruti were remarkably with effortless ease to bring off brigas. She sang plenty of Tamil songs. She was a regular performer at the festivals of the Tamil Isai Sangam in Madras and Nellai Sangeetha Sabha in Thirunelveli.
She also performed for the Tyagaraja Aradhana each year between 1942 and 1951. NCV ranked among the top performers of the classical singer of that time and many records were released containing her classical and semi-classical songs. The famous Carnatic music vocalist Tiger Varadachariar had bestowed upon her the title "Madhurageetha Vani".
Some of her famous songs are:
- yen paLLi koNdeer ayyaa
- thanthai thaai irundhaal umakkindha
- nitiraiyil vandhu nenjil idam
- mahalakshmi jaganmatha
- aanandha nadanam aadinAL
- aasai koNdEn vaNdE
- thithikkum senthamizhaal dEsaabhimaanam enum
- andha naaL ini varumO
- varuvaanO vanakkuyilE
- aadu raattE
- saarasa dala nayana
- indha varam tharuvaan
She also sang the following songs for the Tamil film industry, which became very popular. The Tamil film songs are :
|1940||Venuganan|| 1. Punniya Dhinamindre Sri Kannan Pirandha Punniya Dhinam
2. Eppo Varuvaaro Endhan Kali Theera
3. Inbam Inbam Jagamengum
|G. Govindarajulu Naidu||Jewel Pictures|
|1942||Gangavathar|| 1. Paanganacholai Alangkaaram
2. Kalaivaani AruL Purivaai
3. Aanandham ALavillaa Miga Anandham
4. Idhuvenna Vedhanai
5.Aanandha Maaya Vaanulagidhe
6. Kaavin Manohara Kaatchiyin Maanbe
|Sundaram Sound Studios|
|1944||Haridas|| 1. Kadhiravan Udhayam Kandu KamalangaL Mugam Malarum
2. Kannaa Vaa Mani Vannaa Vaa
3. Enadhu Manam Thulli ViLayaadudhe
4. Enadhu Uyir Naadhan Hrudhayam Nondhe Ennai Pirindhaan
5. Thottadharkkellaam Thappedutthaal (with M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar)
|G. Ramanathan||Royal Talkie Distributors|
|1946||Valmiki|| 1. Sundaraanandha Vaikundhaa Hare Mukundhaa
2. Puvi Meedhu Thava Gnaniye Uyar Pugazh Mevum Periyor Thanpaal
3. Jaya Jaya Buvanapathe Paalaya Jaya Karunajalathe
4. Poithavazhum Maayappuvi Vaazhvu
|Papanasam Sivan||Central Studios|
|1947||Kundalakesi||S. M. Subbaiah Naidu & G. Ramanathan||KSS Pictures|
|1950||Krishna Vijayam|| 1. Navaneedha Kannane Radhaamoha
2. Karunanidhe Maadhava Nithya Kalyaana Guna Maadhava
3. Porumai Kadalaagiya Boomadhevi
|S. M. Subbaiah Naidu & C. S. Jayaraman||Jupiter Pictures|
- pozhudhu pularnthadhu yAm seidha thavathAl
- kuzhalOsai kEtkudhammA gOplakrishnan
- thanthai thaai irundhaal umakkindha
- nitthiraiyil vandhu nenjil idam
Besides being a singer par excellence, NCV acted in movies. She started with Chandragupta Chanakya playing the role of the princess Chaaya directed by C. K. Saachi in 1940. Followed by Venuganan (1940), Gangavathar (1942), Haridas (1944), Valmiki (1946), Kundalakesi (1946) and Krishna Vijayam (1950). Today, not many of her Carnatic renditions are available as CDs or audio recordings and those which are available contain both cinema and Carnatic compositions, mostly from various concerts she had given in the past.
Her personal life was an unhappy one. Her marriage had been a failure as her husband was not inclined to encourage her music pursuits. In later years, she found a life-partner in a lawyer turned film-maker, C. K. Sathasivan (known as C. K. Saachi) till her last days. She fell victim to a severe attack of tuberculosis, and died in 1951 at her residence in Gopalapuram, Madras. She was only thirty-two years old at the time of her death and the classical music world lost a singer with a dulcet voice.
- Sriram Venkatakrishnan (28 November 2008). "Flight of a Nightingale". The Hindu.
- Randor Guy (5 May 2012). "Gangavathar 1942". The Hindu.
- A SPRING IN MEMORY:THE VASANTHAKOKILAM CONNECTION Monday, 3 February 2014