Born on 29 January 1920 in Nidadavole in Andhra Pradesh, Shri B. Rajanikanta Rao is a well-known
Telugu lyricist, composer of songs, broadcaster and author on music. He is celebrated as the writer and
composer of the first Telugu song broadcast in independent India, at midnight on 15 August 1947. This
song is ‘Maadi swatantra desam’, sung by T. Suryakumari.
A Programme Executive at All India Radio, Madras, at the start of his career, Shri Rajanikanta Rao has written numerous lyrics, and composed songs under the pseudonyms Nalini and Taranath, and also directed music in ballets. Kuchipudi ballets and Yakshaganas to which he has contributed music include Sri Krishna Saranam Mama, Menaka Viswamitra, Vipranarayana, Chandidas, and Subhadraarjuniyam. He has also composed music for a number of Telugu films such as Swargaseema and Gruhapravesam. Shri Rajanikanta Rao has authored and edited several books of compositions and composers including Muvva Gopala Padavali and Andhra Vaggeyakara Charitam. For this he won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961. His other publications are Viswaveena and Satapatra Sundari.
He is the recipient of several honours including the Kala Ratna Award of the Andhra Pradesh Government (2007), and the Kala Prapoorna—an honorary doctorate of Andhra University.
Shri B. Rajanikanta Rao is elected Tagore Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for his overall contribution to Indian music.