Anonymous wrote on Jun 11 2011 2:24PM
Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan (born 24 June 1928; also known as M.S.V.), is a Legendary and Celebrated South Indian music director. He is popularly known as "Mellisai Mannar" (Tamil for "the King of Light Music"). His major works over the past five decades have been in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films. He has also acted and sung in a few films. Viswanathan hails from an orthodox Malayali family, with parents Subramanian and Narayanikutty (or Naanikutty), in Manayangath house (from which one of his initials is derived). He was born in Elappully village in Palakkad, Kerala, India in 1928. He lost his father when he was four. He was saved by his grandfather when his mother decided to kill him and herself as an escape from abject poverty and lack of support. He sold refreshments in a movie theater during his childhood and later learned music from Neelakanda Bhagavathar. He gave his first stage performance in Trivandrum when he was 13 years old. Since young, T.K. Ramamoorthy is a violinist. M.S. Viswanathan had always wanted to become an actor and singer where he had done roles in stage dramas before joining S. M. Subbaiah Naidu. Then he moved to C. R. Subburaman where he met T.K. Ramamoorthy. M.S. Viswanathan was handling the harmonium while T.K. Ramamoorthy was handling the violin for C. R. Subburaman.
In 1952, C.R. Subburaman passed away unexpectedly while in the midst of completing songs for the films which he was assinged to compose music. M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamoorthy took the lead to complete the remaining songs for those affected films such asDevadas and Kaathal. At that point of time both M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamoorthy were not official partners yet but they had just worked together. Then M.S. Viswanathan suggested to T.K. Ramamoorthy an alliance in the south by both of them teaming up such as Shankar and Jaikishen who were known as Shankar Jaikishan in the north. At first, T.K. Ramamoorthy who had been reluctant that he was already contented with the income he was receiving from being a violinist but agreed to pair on the insistence of M.S. Viswanathan.
Their first movie was Panam, a movie by A.L. Seenivasan and directed by N. S. Krishnan. It was the secound film for Sivaji Ganesan and for first time their names appeared as Visvanathan-Ramamurthy. T.K. Ramamoorthy is elder to M.S. Viswanathan by seven years, but the placing of their names as Visvanathan- Ramamurthy was agreed upon by both parties on the advice of N. S. Krishnan. That was the beginning where since then both composed several hundred songs together.
On 16 June 1963, at a special function M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamoorthy were each given the title of Mellisai Mannar. It was granted by Sivaji Ganesan at the Madras Triplicane Cultural Academy. The function was supported and facilitated by the Hindu Group of Publications, especially Mr. T.M. Ramachandran, Director Sridhar and Chitralaya Gobu. Collectively they were called Mellisai Mannargal (Kings Of The Light Music).
But M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamoorthy had to split with the release of Aayirathil Oruvan on 9 July 1965. Since then both had composed for films individually. After 29 years, they had joined in 1995 for the Sathyaraj starrer Tamil film Engirundho Vanthan A legendary perfectionist, he established a prolific career composing film music in the Tamil film industry. As early as 1948, M. S. Viswanathan was already working with various music directors. While working under as a harmonium player and asssiting composing underC. R. Subburaman and S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and he also obtains inspiration from S. V. Venkatraman and T. R. Papa. His first score was for the film Jenova (1954). He along with T. K. Ramamoorthy dominated film music composing in the South Indian film industry during the 1950s and 1960s and composed scores for over 700 films, revitalising Chennai film music as the duo Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy. . The duo parted in 1965 and since he had composed for films individually. They rejoiced back after 29 years of separation in 1995 for Engirundho Vanthan.
His achievements range from introducing fresher melodies, style and orchestration approaches to incorporating various genres of what is now called world music into Indian cinema music. He has sung over 500 of his own songs, as well as those of other music directors like V. Kumar, Shankar Ganesh, Ilayaraaja, Gangai Amaran, Deva and A. R. Rahman. He has also scored music for many non-film albums and for political campaigns. His achievements include appearances in numerous films and television series.
He often worked with the well-known Tamil poet and lyricist Kannadasan. In recent times, Viswanathan has focused on composing devotional music and serving as a judge in Malayalam TV reality shows.
He has colloborated with Illaiyaraja in 'Mella Thiranthathu Kathathavu', 'Senthamizh Paatu' 'Vishwa Thulsi' and another film starring Prashanth.