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M. S.

Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan (24 June
1928 14 July 2015), also known as M.S.V., was an
Indian music director and composer. He was popularly known as Mellisai Mannar (Tamil for The King of
Light Music). He composed songs in Tamil, Malayalam,
Telugu, Kannada, and Hindi for over 1200 lms.[2] He
worked primarily in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu lms.
He also acted and sung in a few Tamil lms.[3][4] The
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa conferred
the Thirai Isai Chakravarthy (Tamil for The Emperor
of Cine Music) title on him in August 2012[5] and presented him with 60 gold coins and a new car.[6][7]

diculties and then continued to look after his wife until

her death.

2 Death
On 27 June 2015, Viswanathan was admitted to Fortis
Malar hospital in Chennai with breathing diculties.[15]
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.[16]

Viswanathan composed lm music together with composer and violinist T. K. Ramamoorthy from the 1950s to
1965, as ViswanathanRamamoorthy[8] and from 1965
until 2014 he worked independently as a composer.

3 Career
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. Venkatramans
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.


Viswanathan was born on 24 June 1928 to Manayangath

Subramanian and Narayanikutty (or Naanikutty) in Elappully village in Palakkad, Kerala, India. His father died
when Viswanathan was four years old, and his mother decided to kill him and herself as an escape from abject
poverty and lack of support. He was saved at the last
minute by his grandfather.[9][10] His grandfather Krishnan Nair was a warden at the central jail of Kannur.[11]
As a child, he sold refreshments in a movie theatre without any pay, so he could listen to the music in the lms.
He had a part in the lm Kannagi produced by Jupiter

3.1 ViswanathanRamamoorthy

His primary education was at Pallikunnu, Kannur. He

would often play truant from school and stand outside the
house of Neelakanta Bhagavathar, a local music teacher,
and listen to his teaching other students. He learnt to
play the harmonium, and Neelakanta Bhagavathar, who
heard him play and sing on a Vijayadasami Day, was impressed and organised a three-hour concert at the Kannur
town hall.[9] He later gave his rst stage performance in
Trivandrum at the age of 13.[13] He worked as an oce
boy for Jupiter Pictures in the 1940s, earning Rs 3 per

Main article: ViswanathanRamamoorthy

In 1952, C. R. Subburaman died unexpectedly. Ramamoorthy and Viswanathan joined together and completed the background music for the lms 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 lms. Meanwhile Viswanathan also worked as the third composer for
the lm Genova where the other composers were M.S
Gnanamani and T.K.Kalyanam.[17] M.G.Ramachandran,
the hero of the lm Genova, had reservations about the
'raw, young music director' but the reservations lasted

Viswanathan was married to Janaki and they have four

sons and three daughters. His wife, Janaki, died on 14
May 2012.[14]
He is known to have looked after his original Guru,
S.M.Subbaiah Naidu, when the latter fell into nancial

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.[12]
Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy were asked to write the
music for Panam, a 1952 lm produced by A. L. Seenivasan and directed by N. S. Krishnan. Later the duo was
asked to do the background score for the lm Ratha Kanneer by its music composer C. S. Jayaraman.


Krishnan-Panju in the 1950s, and in later decades with C.

V. Sridhar,A. Bhimsingh, Madhavan, T. R. Ramanna, A.
C. Trilogchander, K. Shankar, K. Balachander, Muktha
Srinivasan, Chitralaya Gopu, Cho Ramaswamy, and K.
S. Gopalakrishnan from the 1960s. From the 1970s directors such as S. P. Muthuraman, Major Sundarrajan,
Bhagyaraj, D. Yoganand, C. V. Rajendran, P. Madhavan, K. S. Prakash Rao, Vietnam Veedu Sundaram,N. T.
Rama Rao, and I. V. Sasi frequently worked with VishThe duo composed music for over 100 lms, and they
wanathan; later, in the 1980s and 1990s, new directors
worked together from 1952 to 1965.
such as Visu, Mouli, Major Sundarrajan, Komal SwamiOn 16 June 1963 at a special function M. S. Viswanathan nathan, and K. Raghunath collaborated with Viswanathan
and T. K. Ramamoorthy were each given the title of regularly.
Mellisai Mannar(Kings of the Light Music).[19] It was
granted by Sivaji Ganesan at the Madras Triplicane Cul- He also did playback singing, including 500 songs comand over 200 songs composed by mutural Academy. The function was supported and facili- posed by himself
performed songs such as Sollathan
tated by the Hindu Group of Publications, especially Mr.
Thunbathilun Sirithidu MagaT. M. Ramachandran, Director C. V. Sridhar and Chiley,
Irukindral, Sangamam and
tralaya Gopu.
Vidaikodu Engal Nadey.[26]
The duo parted in 1965 after release of Ayirathil Oruvan and since then they composed for lms individually. M. S. Vishwanathan went on to act in Tamil feature lms,
After 29 years, they rejoined in 1995 for the Tamil lm notably appearing in Kaadhal Mannan after being convinced to do so by actor Vivek, while he also starred in
Engirundho Vanthan starring Sathyaraj.[20]
Kamal Haasans Kaathala Kaathala and Karthiks RojaThey were awarded an honorary doctorate by the vanam. He also made appearances in other lms and teleSathyabama Deemed University in September 2006.[21] vision series since 1995.[27]
J. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, con- He worked together with the Tamil poet and lyricist
ferred the title Thirai Isai Chakravarthy (Emperors of the Kannadasan in the 1960s and 1970s, and also with
Cine Music) on Viswanathan and Ramamoorthy in Au- Vaali from late 1960s. He had a deep admiration for
gust 2012[5] and presented them with 60 gold coins and a Kannadasan.[11]
new car.[6][7]
Since 1996 Viswanathan focused on composing devotional music and serving as a judge in Malayalam TV
reality shows. He collaborated with Illaiyaraja in 'Mella
3.2 Independent music director
Thiranthathu Kathathavu', 'Senthamizh Paatu' 'Vishwa
Thulsi' and 'Senthamizh Selvan' starring Prashanth.
M. S. Viswanathan began his solo career in 1965.[22] He sang the song Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae for
Viswanathan is known for having incorporated various 2002 Tamil lm Kannathil Muthamittal composed by
genres of world music into Indian cinema music. He used A.R.Rahman. Then in 2013 he sang for the lm Neelam
elements such as humming and whistling in his songs, and the song called 'Alayae o Alayae' and it was recorded in
blended new trends such as western music and disco with the supervision of music composer Satish Chakravarthy.
Indian classical tunes.[22][23] Some of his lms as solo He in 2013 composed music for the lm Thillu Mullu,
music composer include Idhayakani, Gallatta Kalyanam, with Yuvan Shankar Raja[28] While M. S. Viswanathan
Moondru Dheivangal, Kannan En Kadhalan, Dheiva Ma- composed the tunes in the 2013 Thillu Mullu lm, Yugan, Rickshakaran, Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban, and Uru- van Shankar Raja orchestrated and recorded them.[29]
mai Kural. M. S. Viswanathan also scored music for Including this No. he has Sung a Song,Saami Namba
saami' which is penned by Snehan for the lm Mannar
many non-lm albums and for political campaigns.
Valaiguda,Composed by S.Siva Pragasam.[30][31]
He worked with a number of singers, both younger
artists and more established ones, including S. P. Bal- Rajnikanth said in an interview about M. S. Viswanathan,
asubrahmanyam and Vani Jairam, P. Susheela, L. R. You will rarely nd someone like MSV in any industry.
Eswari, T. M. Soundararajan, and the Malayalam singer He lived life like a seless saint, free from jealousy and
Jayachandran. He is also considered responsible for mak- lies. He was behind the success of legends like MGR and
ing singers like R. Balasaraswathi, S. Janaki, A. L. Ragha- Sivaji.If not for MSV, the careers of lmmaker Balachanvan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan and Yesudas popular names, der, lyricists Vaali and Kannadasan wouldn't have tasted
and he gave Swarnalatha her rst job as a playback singer huge success.[32]
when she was 14 years old.[24]
Viswanathan worked with many dierent lm directors,
including B. R. Panthulu, S. S. Vasan, B. S. Ranga, and


Main article: M. S. Viswanathan discography


M. S. Viswanathan has won many awards include the following:

Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award South[33]
PBS Puraskar Award presented by Aruna Nithya
Gopal Foundation awarded on 29 September 2013
at Ravindra Bharati[34]
Honorary doctorate from Tirunelveli-based Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) on 3 January
Paramacharya Award, meaning 'The Ultimate Guru'
in 2006.
Doctorate conferred by Sathyabama University in
Madhavapeddi Satyam Award by Siva Foundation in
Won Gold Remi Award for the best music score for
movie Vishwa Thulasi in 2005.
Life Time Achievement Award by Sangam Kala
group in 2004.
Isai Sangam honoured him with Isai Peraringnar,
meaning Great Scholar in Music, in 2004.
Kalaimamani A jewel for art from State Govt of
Tamil Nadu
Seventh Kamukura Award given by Kerala Cultural Ministry.
WorldFest Houston (USA)

6 References
[1] Mellisai Mannar M S Viswanathan. Lakshman Sruthi.
Retrieved 13 March 2012.
[2] CM honours Viswanathan-Ramamurthi.
ning.com. 31 August 2012.


[3] Music legend M S Viswanathan passes away. oneindia.com. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
[4] Legendary music director M S Viswanathan passes
away. redi.com. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
[5] Amma confers title of Thiraiyisai Chakravarthy on legendary MSV. ChennaiOnline. 30 August 2012.
[6] CM confers Thirai Isai Chakravarthy on MSV. The New
Indian Express. 30 August 2012.
[7] After Padma snub, Jaya says one day Centre will listen.
The Indian Express. 31 August 2012.
[8] Vamanan, Mellisai Mannargal Paattu Payanam
[9] Veteran musician M.S. Viswanathan passes away. The
Hindu. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
[10] "#RIPMSV: King of Light Music MS Viswanathan dies.
Hindustan Times. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
[11] Declining standards of lyrics pain this master. The
Hindu. 23 March 2005. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
[12] Music composer MS Viswanathan passes away. Indiatoday.in. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
[13] '' ' '
..!, archived version retrieved 27
September 2014 (Tamil)
[14] http://www.ibnlive.com/news/india/
[15] M S Viswanathan Death. Telangana News Paper.
[16] King of Film Music MS Viswanathan Passes Away. The
New Indian Express.
[17] '' ... :
..., ,
archived version retrieved 27 September 2014 (Tamil)
[18] Well-known Tamil lm music director M. S.
Viswanathan passes away. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15
July 2015.

Media gave him title Mellisai Mannar along with

T.K. Rammoorthy, meaning King of Light Music
or King of melodies.

[19] Veteran Tamil lm music composer T K Ramamurthy is

no more. Indian Express. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 201306-12.

'Sangeetha Saraswathi' by Poojya Sri Guruji

Viswanath of Manava Seva Kendra.

[20] Ninety, and bowing away!". 8 November 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2015.

2013 - Asiavision Awards - Lifetime Achievement


[21] Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Honorary doctorates for

seven eminent personalities. The Hindu. 4 September
2006. Retrieved 6 March 2012.

[22] From classical melodies to disco generation: 'King of

Music' MS Viswanathans legend will live on. 14 July
2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
[23] MSV: Master of melodies. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 15
July 2015.
[24] Swarnalatha Leaves Behind Her Songs To Remember
Her. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
[25] MSV day be declared Music day. Retrieved 17 July
[26] Composer M.S. Viswanathan, the doyen of Tamil music
world dies. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
[27] Not only your music, even your performances will remain
close to our hearts MSV sir.. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 17
July 2015.
[28] Thillu Mullu 2 with Yuvan & MSVs music. Indiaglitz.
20 August 2012.
[29] Nikhil Raghavan (1 June 2013). Classic gets a new
twist. The Hindu.
[30] The legendary MSVs juggernaut continues, M S
Viswanathan, Yuvan Shankar Raja. Behindwoods.com
(29 April 2013).
[31] MSV in demand Times Of India. The Times of India.
(30 April 2013).
[32] http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/celebrity/
[33] Lifetime Achievement Award (South) winners down the
years.... Filmfare. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
[34] Gudipoodi Srihari (2013-10-04). Betting a legend.
The Hindu.
[35] Honorary doctorate for veteran musician M S
Viswanathan. The Times of India. TNN. 10 January 2013.
[36] Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Honorary doctorates for
seven eminent personalities. The Hindu. 4 September
2006. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
[37] VM Sathish. Mammotty, Kavya Madhavan bag Asiavision awards. Emirates 24-7.

External links
M. S. Viswanathans ocial website
M. S. Viswanathan at the Internet Movie Database
MSV as BalaMurugan in Kannagi (1942) See him
at 00:20 and 00:45


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