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MM Keeravani: Lesser Known Facts About The Man Behind ‘Naatu Naatu’

MM Keeravani / MM Kreem

Koduri Marakathamani Keeravani, also MM Keeravani is an Indian film composer, playback singer, and lyricist, who has worked in not just Telugu cinema but in Indian cinema as a whole. MM Keeravani made history with the first Golden Globe Award win for RRR’s ‘Naatu Naatu.’

M M Keeravani feels humbled

Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Golden Globe is not the only award, he has conquered, he also won a National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the 1997 Telugu film Annamayya. He is also a recipient of eight Filmfare Awards, eleven Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards, and a Tamil Nadu State Film Award. He was also nominated for Saturn Award for Best Music for Baahubali: The Beginning (2015).

Here’s his speech after receiving the Golden Globe:

Let’s know a little about him…

Composed Music for almost 220 films

Yes, he stepped into the world of cinema in 1987 and has been consistently working, composing music and playback singing in multiple languages like Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada. His breakthrough project was the 1990’s Manasu Mamatha, which brought him to the limelight. He established his music career through Ram Gopal Varma’s famous film KshanaKshanam in the year 1991. His work in the Hindi cinema was marked by the movie Criminal for which he earned my awards.

Criminal (1995) Movie

Film: Criminal. Image Courtesy: BollyHolic

Mystery Composer known as MM Kreem in Hindi cinema

In the late 90s, MM Keeravani composed various hits but nobody knew who he was. Some hits composed by him are, ‘Tum Mile Dil Khile’, ‘Gali Mein Chaand’ and ‘Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai’ which are considered evergreen songs and mesmerize listeners, even today!

Different names in various cinemas

MM Keeravani was working in different film industries under different names, as Keeravani in Telugu which is his actual name, as Maragathamani in Tamil and Malayalam, and MM Kreem in Hindi cinema. Many directors even confused themselves into believing MM Keeravani and MM Kreem are two different composers.

Fan of Hindi film songs

A child prodigy is what he was back then, would often perform a solo version of ‘Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma Hai’. Part of the reason why he played it so well turned out to be a case of misheard lyrics, an integral part of growing up on Hindi film music: where the second line went ‘Maujo ki ravaani hai, Keeravani thought it’s ‘Maujo keeravani hai.’

He is a Violin player

He inherited music from his father, a painter and musician who was a student at Bombay’s Sir JJ School of Art. Thanks to him, Keeravani started violin lessons from a guru at the age of four. This, and learning the harmonium from his father gave him a strong classical foundation

When he was ten, Keeravani used to play the violin for the Pranalingam Accordion Party which is a band from Kakinada, a coastal city in Andhra Pradesh.

RD Burman is his idol

Filmfare published a special issue featuring all the awards they had presented since their inception, Keeravani was outraged after he found out that RD Burman, one of his idols, had been snubbed.He had won a few Tnotable awards by then, but he threw them all away and hasn’t attended an award function since.

RD Burman

Image Courtesy: DailyO

Keeravani’s look out for Haunting

Keeravani’s songs follow the pattern that has hints of this term he is very aligned with. Describing his songs, it comes from a wailing violin or a mournful cello one of his signatures – or the rising synths he seems to be so fond of. A surprising number of them (in some cases, set to scenes of seduction by virtue of being a part of such films) have a strong sensuality. Keeravani is alert to the primal forces of man. “Aahar (food), nidra (sleep), bhaya (fear), vihar (the wish to roam around) and maithuna (sex) – these are the five elements we have in common with animals, and I am very much in connection with them,” he said.

Devotee of Lord Shiva and a Spiritual being

His guru told him to live like a sanyasi for a year and a half, if he were to avert premature death, during this time his wife was pregnant. A devotee of Shiva, Keeravani followed his guru’s orders. He lived like a hermit, ate only vegetarian food, but his biggest sacrifice was staying apart from his wife. The couple was blessed with a son during that period, and Keeravani got to see him only months later. His son is named Kaala Bhairava.

Mm Keeravani's Son Kicked About NTR's Peniviti Song

Mm Keeravani’s Son. Image Courtesy: mirchi9

Baahubali stopped him from going into Retirement

Baahubali’s historic success changed the fortunes of not just Keeravani, but also his family now, one of the most influential film families not just in Andhra Pradesh but all of India. Keeravani changed his retirement plans. “I can never retire from music – whether it is creating, or listening”.

Relations with SS Rajamouli

Most of SS Rajamouli’s projects stick with MM Keeravani. The reason is their personal connection. His wife M. M. Srivalli who works as a line producer in films is the elder sister of SS Rajamouli’s wife Rama Rajamouli.

Naatu Naatu Stars

Image Courtesy: News Minute

Call him MM Keeravani or MM Kreem, what he has done for the Indian Cinema and what he has achieved will forever be hailed for years to come.



RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” Bags Golden Globe Award: Here’s A Look At Its Previous Achievements


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