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Writer, Musicologist Balantrapu Rajanikantha Rao passes away

Vijayawada, Apr 22 (UNI) Noted writer, composer, broadcaster, artist and musicologist Balantrapu Rajanikantha Rao passed away here on Sunday. He was 98.
Mr.Rajanikanta Rao began his career as a programme executive in All India Radio, Madras in 1941. He was responsible for writing and composing the first Telugu song ever broadcast in independent India on the midnight of 15 August 1947. The song "Mroyimpu jayabheri" was sung by T Suryakumari in 1948 to celebrate the first anniversary of Independence. The song "Madi swatantra desam" was written and composed by him.
As the programme executive in AIR in Vijayawada, originator of 'Bhakti Ranjani'; a devotional programme. Rajanikanta Rao became the station director of AIR-Ahmadabad, AIR-Vijayawada and retired as the station Director of AIR-Bangalore (1976–78), completing 36 years in the broadcasting field.
'Andhra Vaggeyakara Charitam' is regarded his magnum opus. It consists of biographies of lyricists and music composers along with a history and evolution of Andhra music, which won in 1961 the Central Sahiyta Academy Award. Mr. Rajanikanta Rao was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by his alma mater Andhra University in 1980.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy condoled his death. The government announced that his funerals would be held with state honour.
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