Rajan and Nagendra (Kannada: Kannada ರಾಜನ್ – ನಾಗೇಂದ್ರ ) are musicians who were prominent composer of film music in Kannada cinema during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.Rajan was born in Shivarampet of Mysore in a middle-class family. Rajan-Nagendra has given hundreds of melodious tunes for 375 films in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu languages. They have composed innumerable hits in their career spanning four decades.
Rajan used to compose the melodies and set the notations for the orchestra. nagendra used to dictate the lyrics and tune of the song to the singers.
The lyricists who wrote unforgettable lyrics for them are late Hunasur Krishna Murthy, Uday Shankar,Vijiya Narasimha, Geetha Priya, Dodda Range Gowda, Vyasa Rao and manny more. The prominent Telugu lyricists are Narayana Reddy, Dasarathi and late Vetoori Sundarama Murthy and many others. The most prominent Tamil lyricists are late Kanna Dasan and many more.
The main male vocalists who enriched the melody of their songs are late Gantasala, Kala Govindarajan, P.B.Srinivas, late Kishore Kumar, Balasubramanyam, Jesudas, Rajesh Krishna and many more. The popular female vocalists are Bala Saraswati, Soolamangalam sisters, P.Leela, S.Janaki, Vaani Jayaram, Rani, L.R.Easwari, P.Susheela, Jikki, Chitra and many more.
Their first award film in Kannada was “Eradu Kanasu” in 1973-74 and “Parasangada Gende Thimma” in 1978-79, they were the first recipient of best music director award for the Telugu film “Panthulamma” in 1979 and many more awards from private and public associations such as south Indian film fans association, Chitra Rasikara Sangha, Karnataka films directors association, Kannada chalana chitra pathra karthara sanga, Madras Telugu academy, ugadi puraskara award, Abhinandana film awards Hydrabad kalasagar, Madras etc., Throughout south India. Many of their films have celebrated hundred days and silver jubilees.
Naa Ninna Mareyalaare, Gandhada Gudi, Eradu Kanasu – these huge musical hits of the Kannada screen featured the music of Rajan-Nagendra. Their team was exceptionally good at composing cheerful love duets, although they did come up with a couple of sombre numbers like Baadi hoda balliyinda (P B Srinivas, Eradu Kanasu)
Rajan-Nagendra were in the same class as Hindi cinema’s popular composing duo Shankar-Jaikishen. They excelled composing technically flawless and violin-rich orchestral interludes, and enjoyed an equally long innings in the industry.
They had a successful stint in Kannada film industry from early 50s till late 90s, but they started shining from 1973 with Gandhada Gudi songs becoming popular throughout Karnataka and dimmed in early 90s, when new generation music took over thus covering a span of two decades of lilting melodies that has been hugely popular till date in Karnataka and other states of South India.
Nagendra sang a couple of songs in his five-decade-long career. The most popular was Yaaru yaaru née yaaru for the comedian Narasimharaju. He also sang Nammoora santheli in the Jai Jagadish-Lakshmi starrer Gaalimaatu. Somehow his voice was typecast for comic scenes.
Hundreds of Rajan-Nagendra songs were sung by Legendary singers P.B.Sreenivas, S. Janaki, SPB. Almost all of them remain etched as the unforgettable melodies of Kannada Cinema. The Love songs of SPB-SJ-Rajan-Nagendra combination is considered to be heavenly. Such a everlasting haunting melodies Rajan-Nagendra pair created. The duo is also reported to have introduced another illustrious playback singer K. S. Chitra to the Kannada cinema back in the early 1980s.
Hombisilu, starring Vishnuvardhan, was another big hit. In the ’80s, they made the music for some Telugu films, including Maa Intayana Katha, Puli Bebbuli and Vayyari Bhamalu Vagalamari Bharathulu. They composed the music for about 35 Telugu films.