Wednesday, July 15, 2015

M S Viswanathan - The Legend lives on


      M.S.Viswanathan 24 June 1928 - 14 July 2015

M S Viswanathan, popularly called as MSV,is no more.Ofcourse he is 87,so one can say 'its not a young age'.May be true.But there are people who grew up listening to M S Viswanathan's songs.If I say, 'MSV's music made my childhood awesome',it can't be an exaggeration.It doesn't mean I haven't listened to other music directors,but only some people find a special place in our hearts and MSV is one such person.

MSV refined music in Tamil cinema and now he is like a library to all the music directors. Prior to MSV,music followed a 'drama' style.The movie will be full of songs,infact dialogues will come in between songs.That was a trend.But MSV has given a new dimension to music in Tamil cinema.It is not like before MSV music was bad,but only means MSV was a trendsetter.The number of instruments used,the way background music was given,singers were chosen etc, all changed with MSV's arrival.May be there were legends like K V Mahadevan who were good at it too,but MSV was still someone special.Along with Mr.T K Ramamoorthy,MSV has composed lot of memorable songs.

One important quality of MSV is the amount of respect he showed for lyrics and also lyricists. There were instances of MSV composing music for lyrics and also lyrics being written after the tune was composed.He had a golden run in the industry with veteran lyricists like Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram, Kannadasan and Vaali. I have read lot of incidents about MSV. Once Kannadasan came to studio early while MSV has not turned up and he was not picking up the phone call too. Then it was understood he was still sleeping.But Kannadasan had to go, so he wrote the lyrics starting with the lines 'avanukenna thoongi vittaan,agapattavan naanallavaa'(meaning he slept happily,but I was caught here).After MSV came to studio,he had a smile on his face and as the lyrics matched the tune perfectly,he went ahead with composition with the same lyrics.

There was an argument between Vaali and MSV while composing a song.MSV challenged Vaali for a song and said if Vaali could impress MSV,he would give him his gold ornaments.Vaali accepted the challenge and gave the lyrics to MSV,in return MSV gave his gold chain to Vaali as he was highly impressed with the lyrics,which then Vaali politely refused.So much respect he had for lyrics. Vaali himself has struggled a lot to establish himself in industry.Vaali was highly talented,but he was waiting for the right opportunity.After he wrote for the MGR starer 'Padagotti' for which MSV was the music director,Vaali became a 'star' lyricist.Infact,MSV has recommended Vaali's name to many producers and Vaali himself has written this.Not only to Vaali,MSV gave break to great singers like SPB,Vani Jayaram etc.

People said with Ilaiyaraja's entry into Tamil Cinema,MSV's domination ended.But the reality was different. With Ilaiyaraja's entry, Tamil people's love for Hindi songs faded away as Ilaiyaraja's tunes were fresh.Undoubtedly Ilaiyaraja went on to become a trendsetter and rightly he is being called as the 'Isaignani'(musical genius).With time,people's taste changes and trend changes accordingly. Ilaiyaraja could only create a place for himself(which none can replace),but his rise could not sideline MSV.Viswanathan continued to compose music and gave memorable songs. Just like that one cannot compose 16 songs for a movie - Ninaithale Inikkum and make all the 16 as super hit songs. Once MSV was invited as chief guest in a college.Ilaiyaraja was at a peak at that time.When MSV went to stage,students started screaming 'sing Siva Sambo'(Sambo Siva Sambo is a song from the movie Ninaithale Inikkum).MSV said,'wait wait I will definitely sing Siva Sambo' while going to stage. Even after Ilaiyaraja's entry, MSV continued his golden touch with movies like Ninaithale Inikkum,Billa,Simla Special,Thillu Mullu,Varumayin Niram Sivappu,Thirisoolam,Ranuva Veeran etc.

MSV worked with Ilaiyaraja too in the movies 'Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu' and 'Vishwa Thulasi'. He is not only a great music director,but also a great singer.He sang many songs for other music directors.'Unakkenna kuraichal' from Velli Vizha music by V Kumar,Vidaikodu Engal Naade from Kannathil Muthamittal and AalaalaKandaa from Sangamam music by A R Rahman,Megame from Madrasapattinam music by G V Prakash etc.Madrasapattinam released in 2010. MSV's voice had the magic till his last breath.God's gift.

MSV was one among the very music directors who used the instruments perfectly. The piano usage in songs like 'Paaduvor paadinaal aada thondrum'(Kannan en Kadhalan),'Enakkoru Kadhali Irukkindraal'(Muthana Muthallavo),'Ellorum nalam vaazha'(Enga Mama),Saxaphone usage after every line in the song 'Kalyana naal paarkka sollalama'(Parakkum Paavai),violin usage in 'Engey Nimmadhi'(Puthiya Paravai) etc. are genius work by him.These are all just samples.

MSV along with T K Ramamoorthy has given 'n' number of hit songs.T K Ramamoorthy was a master in Violin while MSV was a master in Harmonium.The song 'Engey Nimmadhi' held the record for using more number of violins those days.Puthiya Paravai was an altogether different experience. It was a thriller and the song 'Paartha Nyaabagam Illayo' with a haunting humming and terrific instrument usage would have definitely frightened some people those days.I didn't have the privilege of watching it in theaters as the movie released 23 years before I was born.Last month Jaya TV telecasted Puthiya Paravai,still the movie has not lost its charisma to attract new age audience too. You should watch this song to understand this :


Many songs like Koduthadhellam Koduthaan(Padagotti),Athai Madi Methayadi(Karpagam),Ullathil Nalla Ullam(Karnan),Nenjam Marappadhillai(Nenjam Marappadhillai),Sonnadhu Neethaana(Nenjil Or Aalayam),Senthamizhthen Mozhiyaal(Maalayitta Mangai),Manaivi Amaivadhellam(Manmadha Leelai),Kadavul Amaithu Vaitha Medai,Deivam Thandha Veeda(Avaloru Thodarkadhai), Vetri meedhu vetri vandhu(Thedi Vandha Mappillai),Odum Megangale,Adho andha paravai pola(Aayirathil Oruvan),Kettadhum koduppavane Krishna Krishna,Deivame(Deiva Magan), Madhavi Pon Mayilaal thogai viriththaal(Iru Malargal),Puthiya Vaanam,Rajavin Paarvai Raniyin pakkam(Anbe Vaa), Manithanenbavan(Sumaithangi), Paramasivan Kazhuthilirundhu(Soorya Gandhi),Pazhamudhir Solayile,Anbulla Maanvizhiye(Kuzhanthayum Deivamum),Adisaya Raagam,Yezhu Swarangaliley,Kelviyin Nayagane(Aboorva Raagangal) etc etc etc. I can keep typing his hit songs. To list out his hit songs itself I can write atleast 5 blog posts.

He has composed music for devotional songs like Pullanguzhal Kodutha Moongilgale.He has composed music for the song 'Allah Allah nee illadhe idame illai neethaane ulagin ellai' and he himself sang this song. This song was composed for the movie 'Mohammed Bin Thuglak'.The lyrics for this song was written by Vaali.The then CM MGR was not happy with MSV composing music for this movie as it was a political satire.MSV was very close to MGR,but that didn't stop him from working for this movie.

He has composed music for over 1700 movies in Tamil,Malayalam,Kannada and Hindi.The nation should have celebrated him like anything and he should have got a Bharata Ratna during his lifetime itself.Unfortunately,he was not even honored with a Padma award.Not sure what was wrong with the juries.Vani Jayaram got national award for the best playback singer category for the movie Aboorva Raagangal(music by MSV),but M S Viswanathan did not get the award.Ofcourse Vani Jayaram deserves it,no doubt about that. During a felicitation function(I think it was for A R Rahman),people raised the concerns of MSV not being honored with national/padma awards.But Mr.Viswanathan gracefully said,'the love and affection of fans is my biggest award.I could see so many people getting award in the industry,I am so happy about it.'.So what if the successive govts didn't give him any award? That will not degrade him,that has only made those awards meaningless. Today a leading Tamil daily mentioned about MSV's proximity to MGR and Kalaignar Karunanidhi,but still he has not got an award.Had he considered these awards so important,easily he could have 'got' it by making MGR or Kalaignar to recommend his name.But he didn't do that,man of self-respect. Ms.Jayalalithaa is the only Chief Minister to recommend his name for Padma awards,but the central govts as usual ignored a legend from Tamil Nadu.If MSV doesn't deserve these awards then who else deserves them? MSV is on par with legends like Naushad Ali.Because MSV was not given these awards,only the awards lost its respect.

M S Viswanathan was not only a great music director but also a nice person.He has never spoken anything against anyone.MSV took care of his Guru Mr.S M Subbaiah Naidu(he was a great music director as well) and his wife till the end of their life.Royal Salute!!!

The song 'Vaaraayo thozhi vaaraayo' is a common song in marriages happening in Tamil Nadu and also for some other happy occasions. Music was composed by MSV.So MSV will be behind the happiness of people of future generations too.MSV composed music for 'Thamizhththaai Vaazhththu'(தமிழ்த்தாய் வாழ்த்து) and even today school children sing Thamizhththaai Vaazhththu in the same tune. As long Tamil is alive,people will sing Thamizhththai Vaazhththu and as long as people sing it,MSV will be remembered.Tamil is immortal and so is MSV.

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