Well-known Tamil film music director M. S. Viswanathan passes away
Chennai, July 14, 2015
Well-known Tamil film music director M. S. Viswanathan, who was regarded as one of the most versatile and significant film music composers, died here today.
He was 87. He is survived by four sons and three daughters. His wife had predeceased him in May 2012. His funeral will be held here tomorrow.
Viswanathan was admitted to a local hosptial with breathing difficulties some days ago and passed away at 4.15 am today, sources said.
Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan, who was popularly known as MSV and Mellisai Mannar, had composed music for more than 1700 films in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. He also acted and sang in many Tamil films.
MSV intially composed music for about 90 Tamil films as part fo the Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy duo between 1952 till 1965 before he started working on his own.
He sang under his own composition over 500 songs and in addition sang 200 songs composed by other music directors.
Born on June 24, 1928 in Palakkad, Kerala, Viswanathan lost his father when he was only four and his mother faced a lot of hardships. As a child, he sold refreshments in a movie theatre for a living. He learned music since early childhood and performed on stage for the first time when he was 13.
He wanted to be an actor and singer and managed a few bit roles in plays in the 1940s. Composer and violinist T R Papa met him and arranged a job for him with S. V. Venkataraman's music troupe, where he discovered his love and talent for composing music.
He worked for some time with S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and joined C. R. Subburaman's musical troupe as a harmonium player. There, he met T. K. Ramamoorthy and T. G. Lingappa, the two leading violinists at that time. T. G. Lingappa also became a renowned music composer on his own in the 1950s.
In 1952, after the death of Subburaman, Ramamoorthy and Viswanathan joined together and completed the background music for the films Subburaman was working on, including Devadas, Chandirani and Marumagal.
They were asked to write the music for Panam, a 1952 film produced by A. L. Seenivasan and directed by N. S. Krishnan. Later the duo was asked to do the background score for the film Ratha Kanneer by its music composer C. S. Jayaraman. The duo composed for over 100 films from 1952-1965.
The duo separated in 1965 after the release of Ayirathil Oruvan and launched their individual careers. In 1995, after nearly three decades, they got together for the Tamil film Engirundho Vanthan starring Sathyaraj.
Apart from composing in several different styles and introducing elements like humming and whistling in film songs, he also encouraged a lot of young singers of those days, including S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Vani Jairam even while contining to work with established artists like P. Susheela, L. R. Eswari and T. M. Soundararajan.
MSV had received many awards during his long and distinguished career, including the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South in 2001.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who condoled the demise of Viswanathan.
"The unfortunate demise of Shri MS Viswanathan is a major loss to music lovers. People across generations enjoyed his compositions. When it came to music, Shri MS Viswanathan was always ahead of his time. Condolences to his family and his several admirers," he said