Kerala Folk Singer Nanjiyamma Receives National Film Award

The 68th National Film Awards were held in New Delhi on Friday. President Droupadi Murmu presented National Film Awards for 2020 to several artists for their contribution to Indian cinema. One of the special awardees of the night was Nanjiyamma, a folk singer from the tribal community of Attappadi, Kerala. She was conferred with the Best Female Singer Award for her song Kalakkatha from the Malayalam movie Ayyappanum Koshiyum. The film was directed by Sachidanandan KR.

When Nanjiyamma’s name was announced, everyone present at the event gave a standing ovation. President Murmu shook hands with Nanjiyamma before handing over the award to the folk singer.

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Earlier, Nanjiyamma won the Best Playback Singer award at the Kerala State Film Award for Kalakkatha. The song was originally written in the Irula language. The lyrics of the song have been penned by Nanjiyamma herself while its music has been composed by Jakes Bejoy. The song was first released on YouTube in 2020. Back then, it crossed 10 million views within a month.

Kalakkatha became a chartbuster even before the movie Ayyappanum Koshiyum hit the big screen. In the movie Ayyappanum Koshiyum, Nanjiyamma played the role of Biju Menon’s mother-in-law.

At the National Awards ceremony, the 64-year-old folk singer dedicated the award to director Sachi, who died back in 2020.

Nanjiyamma is a famous folk singer who is a part of the Azad Kala Samithi. She is popular for singing generational folk songs. The veteran singer had first sung for a documentary titled Aggedu Nayaga, directed by Sindhu Sajan. Nanjiyamma then lent her voice to a song for the housing programs of the government of Kerala. It was the first time the Irula language was used for promoting a program in Kerala.

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