The Unparallel Musician Duo from South-Viswanathan&Ramamurthy
Viswanathan-Ramamurthy, the name speaks about the legendary music directors of Tamil Cinema. We would have experienced the thunderous applause when their names appeared in the movie titles. This pair ruled the Tamil Cinema Industry with their excellent skills in music composing. They dominated the Industry in 1950s to 60s like un-crowned kings and composed melodious music for more than 700 movies in various Films in Indian languages. Mr. Ramamurthy unfortunately separated from M.S.Viswanathan in 1965.They had composed several films individually after that. But the ill fated separation did not work properly. MS. Viswanathan alone gave several hits after separating from Ramamurthy.
Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan was of Malayalee origin and popularly known as M.S.Viswanathan. He is one of the prolific film music composers in the Tamil film Industry. His major works are in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu film industries. He also acted and sung in few films. M.S.V was born in 1928 in Palakkad, Kerala. He lost his father when he was four and was brought up by his grand father and mother. It was said that his mother decided to kill him and herself due to their family’s poverty and was saved by his grand father. He sold refreshments in the movie theaters in his childhood. Later he learnt music from Neelakanta Bhagavathar. He gave his first stage performance in Trivandrum when he was 13 years old. He was very much interested to become an actor and singer but became a musician. M.S.V assisted S.M. Subbayya Naidu who was a famous music director in Tamil films in those days. Later he met T.K. Ramamurthy and joined in C.R. Subburaman’s orchestra and used to play harmonium. His first musical score was for the film Jenova in 1954. He composed music for 618 movies in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam and gave music for many devotional songs as well. Viswanathan won many awards including Kalaimamani from Tamilnadu Government.
Trichy based Mr. T.K Ramamurthy is a popular music composer and violinist. He hails from a traditional musician family. His grand father Malaikottai Govindasamy Pillai was a popular violinist. His Father was also a chief violinist at that time. Ramamurthy gave several stage performances along with his father since his childhood days. His father advised Ramamurthy to learn vocal, but he did not take much interest in that. He was very much interested in practicing violin. Once his father took him to HMV. There he met C.R.Subburaman who was also a famous music director in those days in Tamil & Telugu films. He was very much pleased and recommended him to continue as violinist in HMV. He worked in Saraswathi Stores after rendering his service as a violinist in HMV. AVM Chettiar was one of the partners in Saraswathi Stores at that time. C.R.Subbuaraman was very busy in films later and Ramamurthy assisted him as violinist.
In 1952, C.R. Subburaman died unexpectedly while in the midst of completing songs for the films for which he was assigned to compose music. Some stagnant situation prevailed at that time due to his demise. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy took the lead to complete the remaining songs of those affected films such as Devadas and Kathal. At that point of time both M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy were not official partners yet they worked together. At that time Shankar-Jaikishan pair was very popular in the north. Observing the achievements of Shankar-Jaikishan, Viswanathan suggested to Ramamurthy an alliance in the South by both of them teaming up. Ramamurthy disinclined his suggestion at first, but agreed to pair with the persistence of Viswanathan. They started composing film music under the banner of Ramamurthy-Viswanathan. Their first movie ‘Panam’ was a great hit and for the first time their names appeared as Viswanathan-Ramamurthy in titles. N.S.Krishnan was the director of the film and he insisted upon this order. They gave several hit songs together and ruled Tamil film industry with their melodious music. The duo also became famous in Telugu and Malayalam film industries.
In 1963 at a special function the duo were given a title ’Mellisai Mannargal’( The Kings of Light Music).In the year 1965 the duo had to split after release of movie ‘Ayirathil Oruvan’. They draw a line between them for various reasons and started to compose music individually. Hence they are maintaining good relationship till this date. Watch few evergreen melody hits from this duo, they are timeless.
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