A soothing raga in Carnatic Music, Anandabhairavi is a janya ragam of Natabhairavi. The pann equivalent of it is Kausikam.

Aarohanam – S G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 P S

Avarohanam – S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

Carnatic Compositions

Syama Sastri has composed so many types of compositions in Ananda Bhairavi including gitam, swarajathi, varnam, part of ragamalika and a host of krithis. Makes me wonder if it was his favourite ragam. The list includes O Jagadhamba, Marivere, Himachala Thanaya, Pahi Sri Girirajasuthe, Mahilo Amba, a swarajathi, Samini Rammanave (varnam), Parvathi Janani (gitam), Amba Ninnu Nera (first of the Ragamalika).

On the other end of the spectrum is Thyagaraja who stopped composing in Anandabhairavi as a gift to a theatre performance he enjoyed watching which had a number in Anandabhairavi. The artist apparently wanted his name to be synonymous with the raga’s name he seems to have made history like he thought! Hence there are just a couple of compositions in Anandabhairavi by Thyagaraja, including Nike Theliyaga.

Other compositions by other composers are:

  • Manasa Guruguha, Kamalamba Samrakshathu (1st Navavarnam), Thyagaraja Yogavaibhavam by Muthuswamy Dikshitar
  • Ramabhadra Raa Raa, Paluke Bhangara by Bhadrachala Ramadas
  • Samagana Priye by Periyasami Thooran
  • Ayyara by Aanayya
  • Ni Mathi Chellaga by Kavi Matrubhoothaiyer
  • Poomel Valarum by Mazhavai Chidambara Bharathi
  • Raveme (swarajathi) by Veerabhadrayya, who is said to have composed the first known swarajathi
  • Karpagavalli Nin by Jaffna Veeramani Iyer – first raga of the Ragamalika

Listen to Marivere Gathi a composition of Syama Sastri in Anandabhairavi.

Drama and Anandabhairavi

Kathakali performances uses an amalgamation of ragas, one of them being the characteristic Anandabhairavi. However, the raga used is entirely governed by the mood and character of the story. Kathakali music has no qualms in using one allied raga after another, if the mood demands the same. Where as in Carnatic music an Anandabhairavi or Huseni or Mukhari would not follow a Bhairavi rendition. (source)

Listen to a Kathakali padam, Sukumara Nandakumara, as a part of Poothana Moksham (story of a rakshas Poothana being killed by baby Krishna), which is sung more fluidly, unlike the krithis in the raga.

Yakshagana, a theatrical form of the West coast, also uses Anandabhairavi to perform stories from Ramayana, Mahabharatha.

Use in Movies

Here is a hilarious song from the movie Thooku Thooki where “Sethji” Baliah and Lalitha sings a duet in Kapi – Anandabhairavi, “pyari nimbal mele namki mazaa”, that definitely brought a smile to my face. The Hindi-ish portions are set to Kapi, while the Tamizh portions starts with Anandabhairavi.

Well, not just for wooing as in the above song, but Anandabhairavi has been extensively used in one aspect – baby shower songs in movies, I noticed.

  • Poi Vaa Magale from Karnan
  • Sri Janaki Devi from Missiyamma
  • Sittu Pole Muthu Pole from Iniya Uravu Poothadhu

Nalvazhvu Naam Vaazha from the movie Veetuku Veedu also seems to be some marriage related song, though there is no way to know for sure, it was not pictured in the movie.

Of course, other famous songs in this raga include Konja Naal Poru Thalaiva from Aasai, Anbendra Mazhaiyile from Minsara Kanavu.


P.S: I am adding some random facts here because I didn’t know where else to put them!

  • Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s Thyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam has this famous prosody pattern in the Pallavi.
    • Thyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam
      • Agaraja Yoga Vaibhavam
        • Raja Yoga Vaibhavam
          • Yoga Vaibhavam
            • Vaibhavam
              • Bhavam
                • Vam
  • Syama Sastri’s Himachala Thanaya was initially sung in Misra Chapu, in a thalam that he frequently used.
  • The movie Ananda Bhairavi does not have any song in the raga titled.

Until next,

Vid 🙂