O. N. V. Kurup
Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup
27 May 1931 Died 13 February 2016 (aged 84) Education Master's Alma mater
Occupation Poet, lyricist, professor
Agni Shalabhangal, Aksharam, Uppu, Bhoomikkoru Charamageetham, Ujjayini, Swayamvaram Title
Spouse(s) Sarojini Children Rajeevan, Mayadevi Parent(s) O. N. Krishna Kurup K. Lakshmikutty Amma Awards
Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup (known as O. N. V. Kurup; 27 May 1931 – 13 February 2016) was a Malayalam poet and lyricist from Kerala, India, who won the Jnanpith Award, the highest literary award in India for the year 2007. He received the awards Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011, the fourth and second highest civilian honours from the Government of India. In 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of Kerala, Trivandrum. O. N. V. was known for his leftist leaning. He was a leader of All India Students Federation (AISF). He died on 13 February 2016 at KIMS hospital in  Thiruvananthapuram due to age-related illnesses, aged 84.
O.N.V Kurup was born to O. N. Krishna Kurup and K. Lakshmikutty Amma, on 27 May 1931 at
Chavara, Kollam (Quilon) in Kerala.  He lost his father when he was eight. His childhood days were spent in Chavara, where he attended the government school. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics from SN College,  Kollam, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram city (Trivandrum) where he joined Travancore University (now Kerala University) and pursued Master of Arts in Malayalam literature.
O.N.V. was a lecturer at
Maharajas College – Ernakulam, University College – Trivandrum, Arts and Science College – Kozhikode, and Brennen College – Thalassery. He joined Government Women's College – Trivandrum as the Head of Malayalam Department. He was also a visiting professor at Calicut University. He retired from service in 1986.
He received the
Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award, for the year 2007. He was the fifth Jnanpith laureate from  Kerala and the second Malayalam poet to win the prestigious award. According to a statement by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust which presents the award, Kurup began his career as a "progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology". 
He was settled at
Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvananthapuram, with his wife Sarojini, who was also his student in his early days. His son Rajeev works with the Indian Railways Authority, and daughter Mayadevi is a noted gynaecologist in Aster Medicity, Cochin. Malayalam playback singer Aparna Rajeev is his granddaughter.
O. N. V.'s first published poem was 'Munnottu' (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946.
His first poetry collection,  Porutunna Soundaryam, came out in 1949. He published a book named Daahikunna Paanapaathram (The Thirsty Chalice) which was a collection of his early poems during 1946–1956.
 Poetic works
List of Poetry by Kurup
Translation in English
Year of publishing
Oru Thulli Velicham
A Drop of Light
Karutha Pakshiyude Paattu
Song of a Black Bird
Bhumikku Oru Charama Geetham
A Dirge for the Earth
Gratis (For Nothing)
Drum of Bhairavan
Oyenviyude Ganangal *
Songs of O.N.V.
Pieces of Bangle
The Song of Sun
*Collection of 1500 songs. **Poems for children Prose list
List of Prose by O. N. V.
Translation in English
Year of publishing
Kavitayile Samantara Rekhakal
Parallel Lines in Poetry
Crisis in Poetry
Ezhuthachan – Oru Padanam
Ezhuthachan – A Study
Pushkin – Swatantrya Bodhatinte Durantagatha
Pokkuveyil Mannil Ezhuthiyathu
In addition to the valuable contributions he had given to the Malayalam literature, he was one of the leading lyricists in
Malayalam film/drama/album industry. He was the part of many dramas by Kerala People's Arts Club (KPAC) which has a major remark in the revolutionary movements of Kerala. Kalam Marunnu (1956) was his first film which was also the first film by the famous Malayalam composer G. Devarajan. Since then he has been active in film until his death and was honoured with one national award and fourteen state awards (the most by a Malayalee). He has penned about 1000 songs in about 232 films and numerous songs for plays and albums. His partnerships with  Salil Chowdhury and M. B. Sreenivasan were so popular in Malayalam film industry. He has made many hit songs with popular music directors, including G. Devarajan, Raveendran, V. Dakshinamoorthy, M. S. Baburaj, M. K. Arjunan, K. Raghavan, Ilaiyaraaja, Shyam, Johnson, Bombay Ravi, Mohan Sithara, M. G. Radhakrishnan, S. P. Venkatesh, Ouseppachan, Vidyadharan and M. Jayachandran.
O. N. V. has won numerous awards for his literary works.
 Film awards
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
ONV won the
Kerala State Film Award for the Best Lyricist fourteen times:
Best Lyricist (Film – Kambhoji) 2008 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Gulmohar) 1990 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Radha Madhavam) 1989 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Oru Sayahnathinte Swapnathil, Purappadu) 1988 – Best Lyricist (Film –
) Vaishali 1987 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Manivathoorile Ayiram Sivarathrikal) 1986 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Nakhakshathangal) 1984 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Aksharangal , Ethiripoove Chuvannapoove) 1983 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Adaminte Variyellu) 1980 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Yagam, Ammayum Makkalum) 1979 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Ulkkadal) 1977 – Best Lyricist (Film –
) Madanolsavam 1976 – Best Lyricist (Film –
Survey Kallu) 1973 – Best Lyricist (Film – Swapnam)
Asianet Film Awards Positions held
Kurup served and headed various office of state and central government organisations. Notably:
Executive Member, Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi from 1982–86.
Kerala Kalamandalam – the State Akademi of Classical performing Arts (1996). Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Academy in 1999.
He also has been the part of various delegation at international events. Some of the notable among them being:
Visited USSR as member of an Indian Writers Delegation to participate in the 150th birth anniversary of
Leo Tolstoy. Represented India in the
Struga Poetry Evenings, Yugoslavia (1987) Attended
CISAC Asian Conference in Singapore (1990). Visited USA to participate in FOKANA Conference (1993).
Visited USA to inaugurate literary seminar in Kerala Centre, New York (1995).
Presented poems on
Beethoven and Mozart in the Department of German, University of Bonn. Indian delegate to the CISAC World Conference held in Berlin (1998). Death
ONV Kurup died on 13 February 2016, due to age-related ailments at KIMS Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. He was 84. He was cremated with full state honours at Thycaud Santhikavadam crematorium, which was named by him. At the time of his cremation, 84 singers representing the 84 years of his life, led by
K. J. Yesudas, paid homage to him by singing his poems and songs. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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