True to the words ‘Vandhaarai vaazhavaikkum thamizh naadu’, Tamil Nadu once hosted two Malayalis who reigned the Tamil film industry for years. One a Bharat Ratna awardee, M.G.R, virtually the son of all Tamil mothers of an era. The other was also a three letter wonder, M.S.V. A simple human being who had a very hard beginning but a very graceful exit.
My generation has grown up listening to Raja and A.R.R. But the man who inspired all these people was M.S.V. While almost each of his songs would qualify as a gem, here I have handpicked a few I love the most.
Avalukenna Azhagiya Mugam: The orchestration of this song is splendid. In an age where electronic synthesizers were not available, this man orchestrated layered music with utmost ease.
Neeye Unakku Endrum: Carnatic and konnakol was taken to the masses in this funnily picturised song.
Ullathil Nalla Ullam: There could hardly be a better song to express the pathos surrounding Karna’s dying moments at the Mahabharata war.
Raagangal Pathinaaru: Rajini’s casual attiring and mannerisms belie the strong classical undertone of this song based on Abheri/Bhimplas raaga.
Kann Pona Pokkile: Another example of the range that MSV’s repertoire covered, the man was as at home composing a ballroom dance piece like this one, as he was with the hardcore classical tracks.
There are many more that I could list, but will stop here and leave you will a playlist at the end. It is unfortunate that during this man’s prime there was no internet. His music would otherwise have crossed South India. India would have known him. The world would have listened to his songs. Better late than never though, I just wish that more and more people listen to his songs in today’s age and learn the nuances of composing from them. Having grown up close to where he lived, I have witnessed his simple living in person; his life was a lesson on how to tackle fame without letting it get into your head.
I end with the words from one of Mellisai Mannar’s (King of Light Music, as he was popularly known) songs, “Ullathil nalla ullam urangaadhu (a good heart never sleeps).