Son of the legendary playback singer, the leading dubbing artist of the south has worked in record number of films and television serials
Legendary singer Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao sang over 10000 songs in his remarkable career as a playback singer before he died at the age of 54; his son Ghantasala Rathnakumar passed away at 63 leaving behind a body of work — not playback singing — as a dubbing artiste in more than 1500 films. If his father had sung in all south Indian languages, Rathnakumar too dubbed in all the languages, plus Hindi and Sanskrit.
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Rathnakumar died on June 10 in Chennai due to cardiac arrest, leaving behind a body of work that encompassed dubbing, writing, acting and singing.
An amiable personality, Rathnakumar was much loved in Telugu and Tamil cinema. After completing his B.Sc, he joined the Adyar Film Institute, Chennai, and received his diploma in film direction. While working as an announcer with All India Radio and Doordarshan, his first opportunity came to dub for the veteran Tamil actor Srikanth in the Telugu version of 1978 film Kanchi Kamakshi; marking the start of a long innings in dubbing.
The most prominent actors for whom Rathnakumar dubbed are Aravind Swamy, Arjun Sarja, Vinod Kumar, Karthik and Nagarjuna in the Tamil version of Annamayya. One of Rathnakumar’s significant works remains as the voice of Ambedkar (Akash Khurana) in the Telugu film Dr Ambedkar in 1992.
Rathnakumar’s tryst with television was also a significant one. He dubbed for nearly 5000 episodes of various soaps and worked as a writer in more than 3000 serials.
He featured in a lead role in D Ramanaidu’s R Selvaraj-directed Tamil movie Sigappu Nirathil Chinna Poo in 1990 that was followed by cameos in Ankusam and Aahuti.
Rathnakumar had started a forum to launch and support aspiring dubbing artistes.
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