Pannalal Ghosh was Hindustani musician and flautist. He is credited to be the first flautist to introduce the flute, primarly a folk music instrument at the time, to Hindustani music.
He was born Amrit Jyoti Ghosh in Barisal, West Bengal, in a family of musicians. His talent was visible even when he was a child and many of his relatives took him under their wings, including his gradfather, who taught him to play the baansuri (flute) and his father, who taught him to play the sitar. By the time he was about 11 years old, Panna (his nickname) had decided that the flute was his instrument of choice.
The death of his father when he was only 18 years old, forced Pannalal to take up music as a profession. He began playing for silent films and later for talkies, working with composers like Anil Biswas and R.C. Boral, and later composed music for a handful of films himself.
Panna babu's quest for perfection was incessant. It was this quest that led him to continously experiment with the configuration of the humble flute and transform it to the instrument that became the standard for Hindustani music - about 30 inches long and with the extra, seventh hole. It was again this desire for excellence that drove him to learn Hindustani music under Ustad Alauddin Khan in 1947, when he was already an established musician.
Over the years, Panna babu moved away from film music and focused on live concerts and performances on All India Radio (AIR). In the last years of his life, he took on the post of composer-conductor of the Indian National Orchestra and the producer for AIR, Delhi.
Pandit Pannalal Ghosh died of a heart attack on April 20, 1960 in Delhi, when he was only 49 years old.