Raju Ananthaswamy displayed musical aptitude from a young age and began playing tabla in his father’s troupe. In addition to tabla, he could play a variety of other musical instruments including guitar, mandolin and keyboard.
Raju’s compositions and singing style was unique as well as greatly influenced by his father, late Mysore Ananthaswamy. His songs, Krishna Yenabaarade, Madhava, Beldingal raathrili, Tunge Dadadalli, Heege ondu Raathri are milestones among his compositions and authenticate his unique style of composing. He was well known for his songs “Yaava mohana murali kareyitu” from America America and “Hottare yedbittu” from the movie, Rishi.
Raju was an artiste in All India Radio and regularly appeared on Radio City, Doordarshan, Udaya TV, Zee Kannada and ETV TV channels. He performed with his troupe all year round. He used to set aside his weekends to teach sugama sangeetha to several students. Though Raju had set to tune more than 200 poems, he enjoyed singing his father’s compositions, which he also aspired to preserve and promote, during his performances. He was able to pass these on to the younger generation as well as his many students, through his Sugama Sangeetha schools in Mysore and Bangalore.
Raju Ananthaswamy developed kidney complications on Thursday night (January 15, 2009) and was admitted to Sagar Apollo Hospital, his condition deteriorated rapidly and his death was attributed to kidney failure on January 17, 2009. He is survived by his mother Shanta Ananthaswamy and three sisters.
“Raju Ananthaswamy has been the most talented singer in recent times. His death is a real loss to the Kannada music world. He has died at a young age, but has left behind a pool of great music compositions. His genius was not fully exploited,” said C. Aswath, veteran music director.
Ananthaswamy’s death came as a massive shock to Kannada film and music fraternity. “Raju Ananthaswamy has left behind a pool of great music compositions. His genius was not fully exploited,” said C Ashwath, Late veteran music director.
Acclaimed film director Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar expressed deep sadness at his demise and said, “Raju was a very good friend and a great person. He will be remembered for his creativity and sense of humour”. Raju’s biggest film music success, the memorable ‘Yaava Mohana Murali Kareyithu’ came in Chandrashekar’s film America America. Incidentally, he was originally cast in a comic role in Chandrashekhar’s forthcoming film Olave Jeevana Lekkachara but Raju’s poor health didn’t allow him to fulfill his commitments.
Playback singer Manjula Gururaj expressing shock said “Raju was highly talented and losing him at such an early age is a great loss.” She remembered an incident during a recording session with his father and said “Mysore Ananthaswamy, himself was astounded by Raju’s talent and the way in which he conducted the orchestra. At that time he felt that his son will go on to achieve more than he did, but sadly it was not meant to be.”
Well known playback singer Pallavi described Ananthaswamy as her guru (teacher) and said it would be difficult to pick the best out of his music compositions.
“As a singer he was the best and most of his music compositions were top class. I sung most of his music compositions. It would be difficult for me to choose the best song rendered by him or the best song composed by him,” Pallavi said.