Music world mourns composer M.S. Viswanathan’s death

Chennai: Southern music composer M.S. Viswanathan, who has over 750 films in different languages to his credit, died at the age of 87 at a private hospital here on Tuesday, leaving his his fans and film fraternity in melancholy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described his demise as a major loss to the industry.

Viswanathan, who was fondly called as MSV by the members of Tamil filmdom, was undergoing treatment at Fortis Malar hospital for old-age related ailments and breathing problem. He breathed his last early Tuesday morning, a family source told IANS.

Condolences poured in from all quarters.

“The unfortunate demise of M.S. Viswanathan is a major loss to music lovers. People across generations enjoyed his compositions. When it came to music, M.S. Viswanathan was always ahead of his time. Condolences to his family and his several admirers,” PM Modi said in a statement.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said since 1991, when she became the chief minister, she has been recommending Viswanathan’s name for the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest highest civilian honour.

“The central governments that do not do anything in favour of the states did not lend an ear to this as well,” she said.

Meanwhile, superstar Rajinikanth noted that Viswanathan, recipient of Kalamamani and several other music awards, including the ‘Isai Perarignar’ title given to Tamil musicians, “lived life like a selfless saint”.

“You will rarely find someone like MSV in any industry. He lived life like a selfless saint, free from jealousy and lies. He was behind the success of legends like MGR (M.G. Ramachandran) and Sivaji (Ganeshan),” he said.

As a mark of respect, the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) has announced in an official statement that all film-related activities in Tamil filmdomon Wednesday stand cancelled.

Popular for composing music in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and even Hindi films, MSV started his career as a composer for 1952 film Tamil “Panam”. He became popular for his collaboration with fellow composer T.K. Ramamurthy.

Starting from 1952, the duo composed music for 86 Tamil films during their association of over a decade. However they split up in 1965.

Viswanathan, popularly known as ‘king of light music’, went on to become more successful after becoming an independent composer. His solo hits include “Bama Vijayam”, “Galatta Kalyanam”, “Deivamagan”, “Moondru Dheivangal”, “Rickshawkaran”, “Bharatha Vilas” and “Ulagam Sutrum Valiban”.

Some of the other dignitaries, who paid homage to MSV, included Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and veteran singer Hariharan.

Among actors, Suriya tweeted: “A timeless journey having embraced a billion hearts has no end. U outlived the meaning of the word Legend.. RIP MSV sir.”

Young and talented composer Anirudh Ravichander shared: “RIP MSV Sir…Real meaning of the word LEGEND…Thank you for the music that will live on forever.”

Viswanathan also worked in Malayalam films such as “Manthrakodi”, “Babu Mon”, “Ullasa Yathra” and “Amme Anupame”. Amongst his Telugu films compositions include “Tenali Ramakrishna”, “Anthuleni Katha”, “Idhi Katha Kaadu”, “Aakali Rajyam” and “Maro Charitra”.

MSV and legendary filmmaker K. Balachander’s combination produced several evergreen classics.

Viswanathan’s wife Janaki died in 2012. A year later, his best friend and composer T.K. Ramamurthy too died. He is survived by four sons and three daughters.

His last rites will be performed on Wednesday.