|Name:||M. S. Viswanathan|
|Birth Day:||June 24, 1928|
|Death Date:||July 14, 2015|
As per our current Database, M. S. Viswanathan died on July 14, 2015.
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M S Viswanathan was born on 24 June 1928 to Manayangath Subramanian and Narayani ("Narayanikutty" or "Naanikutty") in Elappully village in Palakkad, Kerala, India (Then in Malabar district, Madras province, British India). His father died when Viswanathan was four years old, and his mother decided to kill him, his sister and herself as an escape from abject poverty and lack of support. He was saved at the last minute by his grandfather. His grandfather Krishnan Nair was a warden at the central jail of Kannur. After death of his father, his family moved from Palakkad to Kannur to stay with his jailor uncle. As a child, he sold refreshments in a movie theatre without any pay, so he could listen to the music in the films. He had a part in the film Kannagi produced by Jupiter Pictures.
Viswanathan had always wanted to be an actor and singer, but was not successful. He had a few small roles in stage dramas in the 1940s. The composer and violinist T. R. Papa met Viswanathan, took a liking to him and arranged a job for him as an errand boy for S. V. Venkatraman's musical troupe in 1942. In that company of musicians, Viswanathan realised that he had the inclination and the potential for composing music. He thereafter joined S. M. Subbaiah Naidu and at times assisted him. He then joined C. R. Subburaman's musical troupe as a harmonium player. Here, 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, C. R. Subburaman died unexpectedly. Ramamoorthy and Viswanathan joined together and completed the background music for the films Subburaman was working on, including Devadas, Chandirani and Marumagal. N. S. Krishnan knew them both fairly intimately and also their respective talents by then because of his close relationship with C.R.Subburaman, with whom he had worked earlier in several films. Meanwhile, Viswanathan also worked as the third composer for the film Genova where the other composers were M.S Gnanamani and T.K.Kalyanam. M.G.Ramachandran, the hero of the film Genova, had reservations about the 'raw, young music director' but the reservations lasted only till he listened to the songs. M.G.Ramachandran instantly recognised the arrival of a genius and the relationship lasted till the end of his career as a hero in 1977. Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy 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.
On 16 June 1963 at a special function M. S. Viswanathan and T. K. Ramamoorthy were each given the title of Mellisai Mannar(Kings of the Light Music). 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 C. V. Sridhar and Chitralaya Gopu.
The duo parted in 1965 after release of Ayirathil Oruvan and since then they composed for films individually. After 29 years, they rejoined in 1995 for the Tamil film Engirundho Vanthan starring Sathyaraj.
M. S. Viswanathan began his solo career in 1965. Viswanathan is known for having incorporated various genres of world music into Indian cinema music. He used elements such as humming and whistling in his songs, and blended new trends such as western music and disco with Indian classical tunes. Some of his films as solo music composer include Idhayakani, Gallatta Kalyanam, Chandrodhyam, Kannan En Kadhalan, Dheiva Magan, Nimrundhu Nil, Rickshakaran, Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban, and Urumai Kural. M. S. Viswanathan also scored music for many non-film albums and for political campaigns.
P. Susheela received her first National Award as Best Singer in 1969 for the song "Paal Polave" composed by MSV in the film Uyarndha Manidhan. Immediately after recording the song, MSV was so happy, he said to P. Susheela that she would be acclaimed as the Best Singer for the National Award for this song.
He is known to have looked after his original Guru, S. M. Subbaiah Naidu, when the latter fell into financial difficulties and then continued to look after his wife until her death.As a rare human approach, M. S. Viswanathan, looked after his friend J. P. Chandrababu, the great Comedian and Singer of Tamil films, when the latter fell into financial ruins. Chandrababu stayed the last few years of his life in the house of M. S. Viswanathan, and as per the request of Chandrababu, MSV arranged his rites when he died in March 1974.
He worked with a number of singers, both younger artists and more established ones, including, P. Susheela, L. R. Eswari, T. M. Soundararajan, and the Malayalam singer Jayachandran. He is also considered responsible for making singers like S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Vani Jairam, R. Balasaraswathi, S. Janaki, A. L. Raghavan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan and K. J. Yesudas popular names. He gave Swarnalatha her first job as a playback singer when she was 14 years old. MSV has given great life by giving opportunity and support for many musicians, lyricists, singers etc. Lyricist Vaali quoted in 1984, "Until I met Viswanathan Sir, I had no money to have any food. But from the moment I met Viswanathan Sir I had no time to have food".
Since 1996, Viswanathan focused on composing devotional music and serving as a judge in Malayalam and Tamil TV reality shows. He collaborated with Ilaiyaraaja in 'Mella Thiranthathu Kathathavu', 'Senthamizh Paatu' 'Vishwa Thulsi' and 'Senthamizh Selvan' starring Prashanth. He sang the song "Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae" for 2002 Tamil film "Kannathil Muthamittal" composed by A.R.Rahman. Then in 2013 he sang for the film Neelam – the song called 'Alayae o Alayae' and it was recorded in the supervision of music composer Satish Chakravarthy. According to director Kumar G. Venkatesh, this was the last song sung by M S V. He in 2013 composed music for the film Thillu Mullu, with Yuvan Shankar Raja While M. S. Viswanathan composed the tunes in the 2013 Thillu Mullu film, Yuvan Shankar Raja orchestrated and recorded them. He sang the song ‘Saami Namba saami' penned by Snehan for the film "Mannar Valaikuda", composed by S.Siva Pragasam.
The duo Viswanathan Ramamoorthy were awarded an honorary doctorate by the Sathyabama Deemed University in September 2006.
Viswanathan was married to Janaki and they have four sons and three daughters, none of them who professed their father's talent. His wife, Janaki, died on 14 May 2012. She was 77 when she died.
J. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, conferred the title Thirai Isai Chakravarthy (Emperors of the Cine Music) on Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy in August 2012 and presented them with 60 gold coins and a new car.
On 27 June 2015, Viswanathan was admitted to Fortis Malar hospital in Chennai with breathing difficulties. He had been undergoing a treatment at the hospital for some time. He died at 4.15 a.m. on 14 July 2015 due to age-related ailments. He had turned 87 only three weeks earlier, three days before his hospitalization. He was cremated with full state honours at Besant Nagar Electric Crematorium. People from various fields of life paid homage to him. He is survived by his seven children - four sons and three daughters - none of them who followed their father's path.
Currently, M. S. Viswanathan is 94 years, 0 months and 8 days old. M. S. Viswanathan will celebrate 95th birthday on a Saturday 24th of June 2023.
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