Legendary Tamil Music composer MS Viswanathan died at a hospital in Chennai on Tuesday morning. He was undergoing treatment, he was 87. MSV was admitted to the hospital for old-age related ailments and breathing problems. He was a popular music director in the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries and have more than 1700 movies to his credit.
He had worked with three Tamil Nadu chief ministers during his long career viz. MG Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa. He is best remembered for films such as Bama Vijayam, Galatta Kalyanam, Deivamagan, Moondru Dheivangal, Rickshawkaran, Bharatha Vilas and Ulagam Sutrum Valiban. He also worked in Malayalam films such as Manthrakodi and Babu Mon. In Telugu, he composed for the films “Tenali Ramakrishna”, “Anthuleni Katha”, “Idhi Katha Kaadu”, “Aakali Rajyam” and “Maro Charitra”.
M S Viswanathan has composed songs for more than 1,200 films in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. In Tamil, he composed songs for films like Billa, Nalai Namathe, Urmai Kural and Sirithu Vazha Vendum. Sivaji Ganeshan’s Panam in 1952 was his debut creation.
MSV is popular for his collaboration with fellow composer T.K. Ramamoorthy and both have composed music for 86 Tamil films during their association of over a decade. “Sonnathu Needhana” (Nenjil Oru Alayam), “Viswanathan Velai Vendum” (Kadalikka Neram Illai), “Kettavarellam Padalam” (Thangai) are among MSV’s all time favourites that are still popular in Tamil Nadu.
His association with iconic lyricist “Kaviyarasu” Kannadasan is legendary, which has resulted in many evergreen songs. He was also responsible for making memorable songs for K. Balachander’s super hit movies.
MSV’s first film was Jenova and the hero was M.G. Ramachandaran. MGR had reservations about using MSV in the film. The producers of the film told that they will not change the music director and if he was not interested in acting the film he is free to quit the project.
Maniyanga Subramanian Viswanathan was born in Elapulli in the Palghat district, of Kerala. He entered the film world as a child artist starring as the child Kovalan in the film Kannagi produced by Jupiter Pictures in Tiruppur. As it did not suit him, he was given the role of Bala Murugan.
After the death of his father, who was working as a jailor and along with him, his sister, his mother was driven by poverty and the name earned by MSV was as a cursed child and he decided to commit suicide by jumping into a tank. “I wanted my mother to jump into the water first. When she demanded the reason, I told her what if she changed her mind after I was drowned. By that time, my grandfather arrived and we were saved,” MSV had recorded in his biography penned by Ranimainthan.
While living in Kannanur, he played truant and sold murukku and vadai in a theatre without remuneration so that he could listen to film songs. Instead of attending classes, MSV would stand outside the house of Neelakanta Bhagavathar, a local music teacher and listen to his teaching other students. After that he became a student and his music talent was found on a Vijayadasami Day, when he was playing the harmonium and singing. Neelakanta Bhagavathar who happened to listen to him singing was enthralled and organised a full-fledged concert for three hours at the Kannanur town hall.