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Telangana musician who plays a rare 12-fret instrument awarded Padma Shri

Darshanam Mogilaiah, a folk artist who recently sang for the Pawan Kalyan starrer movie 'Bhimla Nayak' was bestowed with Padma Shri this year

Well-known folk singer from Telangana Darshanam Mogilaiah, was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award this year.  He was bestowed the award for not only keeping his family tradition of playing a rare 12-fret musical instrument Kinnera alive but also reinventing it.

Mogilaiah’s forefathers are reported to have played this instrument in the court of the Wanaparthy king about 400 years ago. The moment this fifth-generation artiste starts playing the instrument, he mesmerises audiences with his music.

Recognising his talent, the Telugu film industry has used him in a film recently. He sang the title song “Bhimla Nayak” which stars actor turned politician Pawan Kalyan.

Mogilaiah belongs to Avusala Kunta village in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve. When he plays his elaborately decorated and painted instrument, the wooden turtle-puppet affixed on it bows, jumps, and salutes the listeners. While playing this instrument, the folk singer lends his voice to stories of popular folklore heroes like “Panduga Sayanna”, “Miya Saab” and “Endematla Fakeeraiah”.

The Government awarded him the Ugadi Puraskar in 2015. Also a lesson on him was incorporated in the Social Studies textbook.