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68th National Film Awards – 60-year-old tribal singer Nanjiyamma, wins best female playback singer award

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Kochi. Folk singer Nanjiyamma, who hails from a tribal community, won the Best Female Playback Singer Award for the 68th National Film Awards for the film ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, directed by Sachidanandan KR (Sachi).

Nanjiyamma also played a role in the film as the mother character of the wife of Ayyappan Nair, the character played by the actor Biju Menon, who won the Best Supporting Actor Award.

Born in 1960, Nanjiyamma garnered public attention after singing playback in the Malayalam film Ayyappanum Koshiyum in 2020. The film’s title song “Kalakkatha” written by herself in Irula language and composed by Jakes Bejoy attained popularity after its release on YouTube. The song received more than 10 million views in a month.

Nanjiyamma is a folksinger of the Azad Kala Samithi, led by Pazhani Swami, a tribal artist in Attappadi. She finds a livelihood by farming and feeding cattle. She sings mostly folk songs that went past through generations. She first sung for a documentary for Mathrumozhi titled Aggedu Nayaga directed by Sindhu Sajan. Nanjiyamma sung the promotional song for Government of Kerala’s housing programme Life Mission and it was the first time Irula language was used for a public relations program in Kerala.

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