Bapu Padmanabha

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Bapu Padmanabha
Bapu Padmanabha 01.JPG
Occupation Flautist, composer

Bapu Padmanabha, also known as Bapu Flute, is a musician and composer who performs Hindustani classical music on his bansuri, a type of bamboo flute. He was born on 18th November 1978 in Harihar which is in Davanagere District of Karnataka state in India.

Musical training

Bapu's grandfather Bheema Rao was a harmonium player, who started to guide Bapu in the essence of classical music on that instrument. Bapu's younger sister was a singer who was learning Hindustani classical music under the noted musician Shivaraj Gavaayi; Bapu started playing according to her musical notes.

  • Genres -  Hindustani Classical Music, Mantra Chantings, New Age, Film Score, Ambient Music, World Music
  • Occupation - Flutist, Film composer, Singer
  • Instruments - Bansuri, Flute, Keyboard, Vocals
  • Years Active - 1999 - Present
  • Associated acts - T.S.Nagabharana , Kedar Pandit, Hariprasad Chaurasia
  • Labels - Lahari Music , New Age Musik , Raagini Audio , JMD Distribution, Mondotunes, Aantardhwani
  • Website -

Search for a guru

At the age of 18, Bapu realized that his vocation was in music and began his journey that would ultimately lead him to study with India’s most acclaimed living legend in Bansuri (bamboo flute), Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Before Bapu met his guru, he began a three-year journey of self-learning a flute gifted by his sister from a fair alongside his formal studies in Tool Engineering at . His approach would later bring comparisons to and nickname from ‘Ekalavya’ of Mahabharata, the story from a Sanskrit epic of the self-learned disciple. Because his knowledge of music was limited to the notes of harmonium taught by his grandfather, he treated his idol Pandit ji as his guru in absentia, imitating his precise posture and memorising the ragas featured on his audio cassette recordings.

In August 1999, Bapu chose his engineering apprenticeship in Pune because he knew his Guru lived in nearby Mumbai. Bapu went to great lengths to meet his idol, at one point convincing a music festival administrator to share Pandit ji’s Mumbai home address where Bapu asked him to be his guru. Three months later, Bapu auditioned for him and the following day was asked to meet his Guru in person, when Pandit ji gifted his own flute to Bapu as a token of his love for the studious student.

This was a turning point in Bapu’s life. Even without the permission of or intimation to his parents, Bapu left for Mumbai, in order to pursue his studies in Flute under the guidance of Pandit ji.  As Bapu had no other source of income to take care of his needs, he took a job as a waiter at a hotel in his neighbourhood where he worked each day after training in music. Pandit ji eventually learned of his disciple’s poor economic situation and helped Bapu receive the ‘Pannadevi’ Music scholarship from Brindavan Charitable Trust. These resources gave Bapu a new energy and confidence to study flute more deeply.

search for a guru
Bapu's search for a guru

After completing his degree in Tool Engineering, Bapu was hired to work for the TACO Company near Pune, which is one of the cultural centers of India. Here Bapu dedicated most of his free time perfecting the traditional flutist style, before quitting his job six months later.

September 2001 was a turning point in Bapu’s musical journey. He gave his first public performance at the Osho International Meditation Resort, where his focus shifted to use music in triggering real devotion, peace of mind & emotional sensitivities. Later he became music synchroniser for many regional films in Film & Television Institute of India,(FTTI) Pune.  During this time, he completely turned his attention to the field of music as his financial conditions had also improved to a considerable extent.

Honoring the Science of Mantra Sound through Experimentation

Bapu’s albums and frequent concert experiences incorporate cutting-edge experimentation with mantras, performing and conducting workshops.  He is one of the artist to introduce Voice-Mixing “low” “middle” and “high” octaves of mantra chants (as featured in Rudras, 2013) while still honouring the musical science of the ancient Sanskrit sounds.


Bapu encourages anyone to “listen to the Sound and Soundlessness” of any sound, including his mantra chantings. “Every sound is having different effects on your mind. There is something that changes in your emotions unknowingly. And beyond that sound, there is something else.”

National Film Award Winner

Bapu is one of the youngest music composers to receive India’s National Film Award for his debut film Allama in 2016.

Personal Life

Bapu hosts flute and mantra lessons for a core group of students at his private residence in South India.


Bapu left his job which he had gotten after completing mechanical engineering in TACO Tata Automotive Components in Pune. He left the job after a year to dedicate himself full-time to a musical career.

His first major performance was in OSHO Samadhi at Osho commune meditation in September 2001. This proved to be a turning point of his musical career.

Concerts by Bapu Padmanabha:

  • Swar Sagar Sangeet Mahotsav Pune.
  • Special performance at Amma Mutt at Nigadi Pradhikaran Pune.
  • Classical Evening Samskara Bharati Pune.
  • Rahimat Khan Festival Dharwad.
  • Shivaratri Festival Siruguppa.
  • FTII Pune Soothing Melodies Pune.
  • Aho Ratri Sangeet Mahotsav Alalndi.
  • Raag Sandhya Raipur.
  • Aantardhwani Hospet.
  • Panchakshari Gavayi Punya Tithi Bellary.
  • Panchakshari Gavayi Punya Tithi Sindhanur.
  • Panchakshari Gavayi Punya Tithi Hospet.
  • Nanak Keertan Himachal Pradesh.
  • Hemakund Utsav Hemakund.
  • Nanak Darbar Delhi.
  • Guru Vandana Garware College Pune.
  • Rotary Festival Nigdi Pune.
  • Hampi Utsav Hampi.
  • Sawai Gandharva Festival Kundagol.
  • Tarala Balu Hunnime Sirigere.
  • Gavisiddeshwara Jatra Koppal.

Bapu has performed at many major festivals across India, and he has been invited by the Brisbane Ethnic Music and Arts Centre and world's best cruise Alaska Bahama to introduce Indian classical music to their audiences.

Film music

Bapu Padmanabha receiving the National Film Award.

Bapu Padmanabha won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Allama Prabhu. Bapu composed music[1] for the film Allama Prabhu produced by Yajaman Enterprises, M.D. SriHari, L. Khoday Khoday Group, and directed by T. S. Nagabharana.[2] Apart from this Bapu played for various Kannada movies and other audio projects as a recording artist and background flute artist. He also worked with famous directors of the Kannada industry like Sunil Kumar Desai. He has worked as a music director for a few Bengali films at FTII, and he worked with Kedar Awati for the film Maya the Reality which won the best digital film award at New York featuring Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe, and other Marathi theatre artists. In Kannada he has worked on films such as "Surya the Great" and "Neenolida Kshanadinda", and worked with singers including Shankar Mahadevan Hariharan Rajesh Krishnan and Shaan.


  1. ^ "Bapu Padmanabha's Tunes In Allama Prabhu".
  2. ^ "Focus is on the details in the making of Allama Prabhu".
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