“We've lost our beloved melodic genius”, mourned Oscar award winning music director and contemporary music world’s greatest music director AR Rahman on the tragic demise of South Film Industries’ doyen of music composer M.S. Viswanathan(MSV), who ruled South film music for over five decades winning several awards and mesmerizing the music buffs with his light and soothing melodies.
Termed as Mellisai Mannar i.e. ‘King of Light Music’ a title conferred upon him by the legendary superstar Sivaji Ganesan, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi paying homage to the veteran music composer lamented, "The unfortunate demise of Shri MS Viswanathan is a major loss to music lovers. People across generations enjoyed his compositions. When it came to music, Shri MS Viswanathan was always ahead of his time.”
While the PM Narendra Modi condoled MS Viswanathan’s death and termed him as veteran music composer readers would be surprised to know that despite being the pioneer in South film music and an original composer like the Bollywood Music Monarch Naushad Ali, it is a tragedy that the Indian government never found him suitable for any Padma Awards.
Incidentally Naushad Ali, his counterpart in Bollywood, was not only bestowed with Padma Bhushan award but was also honored with Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the greatest honor in contribution to cinema.
What may stun readers more is that Naushad Ali himself was an avid admirer of MSV’s music compositions and in the 50’s when Naushad was flooded with offers he would recommend producers to approach MSV to share his burden!!!
Mourning M.S. Viswanathan’s death and MSV being deprived of the prestigious Padma award, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha in her condolence message to the exceptional music director regretted the government of India’s indifferent attitude towards the immensely talented MSV.
She informed, "I have been recommending with the Centre since 1991 that he be presented with the Padma award but the Central governments did not paid heed. However after the centre ignored in 2012, I presented MSV with a new title Thirai Isai Chankravarthi (Emperor of Film Music).”
What is worth pondering is that the Padma Awards are overly-politicized, which is why people with less competency win it, while the deservedly remain ignored. Hence if MSV is given the Padma Award (Posthumously) I think, his soul would kindly but firmly reject the award because genius like MSV do need a medal; it is their work that keeps them immortal.
Eminent music director Ilayaraja has thus beautifully quoted, “Great music should hold a listener spellbound and the music of MSV was such as if giving a feeling that we have association with his songs in all our births - Remembers his hit songs Athan Yennathan in PAVA MANNIPPU, Iravum Nilavum in KARNAN, Yennai Yar Endru in PAALUM PAZHAMUM and Nenjam Marappathillai in NENJAM MARAPPATHILLAI and Nilave Yennidam in RAMU