O. N. V. Kurup


O. N. V. Kurup
Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup

(1931-05-27)27 May 1931
Died13 February 2016(2016-02-13) (aged 84)
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Alma mater
OccupationPoet, lyricist, professor
Notable work
Agni Shalabhangal, Aksharam, Uppu, Bhoomikkoru Charamageetham, Ujjayini, Swayamvaram
ChildrenRajeevan, Mayadevi
Parent(s)O. N. Krishna Kurup
K. Lakshmikutty Amma

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).[1] He died on 13 February 2016 at KIMS hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to age-related illnesses, aged 84.[2]


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.[3][4] 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 CollegeErnakulam, University College – Trivandrum, Arts and Science College – Kozhikode, and Brennen CollegeThalassery. 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.[4]

He received the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award, for the year 2007.[5] He was the fifth Jnanpith laureate from Kerala and the second Malayalam poet to win the prestigious award.[6] 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".[7]

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.[citation needed]


O. N. V.'s first published poem was 'Munnottu' (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946.[8] 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.[9]

Poetic works

ONV Kurup reciting one of his poems during an event at Thiruvananthapuram
List of Poetry by Kurup
# Name Translation in English Year of publishing
1 Daahikunna Paanapaathram The Thirsty Chalice 1956
2 Marubhumi The Desert
3 Neelakkannukal Blue Eyes
4 Mayilpeeli Peacock Feather 1964
5 Oru Thulli Velicham A Drop of Light
6 Agni Shalabhangal Fire Moths 1971
7 Aksharam Letter 1974
8 Karutha Pakshiyude Paattu Song of a Black Bird 1977
9 Uppu The Salt 1980
10 Bhumikku Oru Charama Geetham A Dirge for the Earth 1984
11 Shaarngka Pakshikal 1987
12 Mrigaya Hunting 1990
13 Thonnyaksharangal Nonsense Alphabets 1989
14 Aparahnam Afternoon 1991
15 Ujjayini Ujjain 1994
16 Veruthe Gratis (For Nothing)
17 Swayamvaram Swayamvara 1995
18 Bhairavante Thudi Drum of Bhairavan
19 Oyenviyude Ganangal * Songs of O.N.V.
20 Valappottukal ** Pieces of Bangle
21 Sooryageetham ** The Song of Sun

*Collection of 1500 songs. **Poems for children

Prose list

List of Prose by O. N. V.
# Name Translation in English Year of publishing
1 Kavitayile Samantara Rekhakal Parallel Lines in Poetry
2 Kavitayile Pratisandhikal Crisis in Poetry
3 Ezhuthachan – Oru Padanam Ezhuthachan – A Study
4 Patheyam Food carried
5 Kalpanikam Imaginative
6 Pushkin – Swatantrya Bodhatinte Durantagatha
7 Pokkuveyil Mannil Ezhuthiyathu Autobiographical Writings


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[10] 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.


Civilian honours

Literary awards

O. N. V. has won numerous awards for his literary works.[14][15]

Film awards

National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
O. N. V. Kurup with singer Yesudas

ONV won the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Lyricist fourteen times:

  • 2016 – 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)
Filmfare Awards
Asianet Film Awards
  • 2001 – Best Lyricist Award -Meghamalhar
  • 2002 – Best Lyricist Award -Ente Hridayatinte Udama

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.
  • Chairman, 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).


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.

See also


  1. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070930093720/http://archive.eci.gov.in/GE2004/pollupd/pc/states/s11/partycomp20.htm. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Malayalam lyricist ONV Kurup no more; celebs offer condolences". International Business Times, India Edition. 13 February 2016.
  3. ^ "ഒ.എന്.വി.കുറുപ്പ്‌ | നിറവിന്റെ സൗന്ദര്യം". Archived from the original on 4 November 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b "O.N.V.Kurup". Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Malayalam, Urdu writers claim Jnanpith awards". The Hindu. 25 September 2010. Archived from the original on 28 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Jnanpith goes to Malayalam poet-lyricist Kurup". The Indian Express. 25 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Jnanpith for Malayalam poet Kurup, Urdu scholar Shahryar". The Times of India. 25 September 2010. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20050408012601/http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/aug03/at7.asp. Archived from the original on 8 April 2005. Retrieved 3 April 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "MSI Malayalam Song Search – Writers = ONV Kurup". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Govt announces Padma Awards". NDTV.com. 25 January 2011.
  12. ^ "D.Litt for ONV" (PDF). Keralauniversity.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  14. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070524212356/http://www.prd.kerala.gov.in/awards.htm. Archived from the original on 24 May 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Welcome to Kerala Tourism - Official Website of Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Kadammanitta award to be presented to ONV on April 2". The Hindu. March 30, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  17. ^ "Honour for Wordsmith". The Hindu. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Kesavadev Award for O N V Kurup". The New Indian Express. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  19. ^ "ONV and Mukundan gets Kamala Surayya award". Mathrubhumi. 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  20. ^ "O N V Kurup wins Thoppil Bhasi Award". The Times of India. 10 November 2011. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  21. ^ "ONV receives Ezhuthachan Puraskaram". The Hindu. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  22. ^ "O.N.V. Kurup gets Jnanpith Award". The Hindu. 12 February 2011. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  23. ^ "O.N.V. receives Vallathol Award". The Hindu. 17 October 2006. Archived from the original on 5 November 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  24. ^ "The 59th Idea Filmfare Awards 2011(South)". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.

External links

  • O.N.V Kurip Verse List-Tribute
  • O. N. V. – Master of verse
  • Swaralaya to honour O. N. V.
  • Official Website of Information and Public Relation Department of Kerala