Govinda Rao's song 'Subha Leela' in the 1948 release Nirmala was the first ever song that brought the technique of playback singing into Malayalam cinema. The film Nirmala was directed by PV Krishna Iyer.
The song 'Paaduka poomkuyile...' sung by Govinda Rao and P Leela was the first duet in the Malayalam film industry. The songs were penned by the great poet G Sankara Kurup and music scored by EI Warrier.
Govinda Rao was born in Tripunithara, son of a priest Chakkalamuttungal Palliseri Madathil Krishnan Embranthiri, serving in Poornathrayeesa Temple.
After retiring from the post of chief producer in All India Radio, Govinda Rao, the direct disciple of Mussiri Subramanya Iyer, concentrated in popularising the different Baanis in Carnatic vocal by designing a Voice Bank with the invaluable voices of stalwarts of Carnatic music.
Govinda Rao is survived by his wife Kannan Kulangara Konattu Madathil Hymavathy, son Raja Gopal and daughters Vasanthi, Padmaja and Usha.