An affinity to music, 800+ films, and a career that spans over six decades, Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan or popularly known as MSV was one of the legendary Tamilian music directors, singer, and actor who worked predominantly in the Tamil Film Industry.
Known as the “King Of Light Music”, it felt like MSV waited for the music to pull him in first before he gave it his all. Throughout Tamil music history, there are only a few handfuls of people that are always remembered as one of them is MSV.
Born on the 24th of June 1928, Manayangath Subramanian and Narayani in the village of Elappully, Palakkad, Kerala, India, the life of M. S. Viswanathan would’ve come to an end way sooner than 2015 when according to legend, his mother tried to kill herself and her children by drowning them to escape poverty after his father’s death. They were saves last minute by their grandfather and thereafter he lived a normal childhood. Even as a kid MSV was drawn to music and art, as a child he sold refreshments in a movie theatre to be able to listen to the music and see the acting. The pay was rarely provided but it wasn’t the money he was looking for.
His musical talents were discovered accidentally by his teacher Neelakanta who heard MSV playing the harmonium and singing to himself. He took MSV under his wing and that was just the mere beginning. MSV played his first performance at the age of 13.
As a child, MSV started worked as an office boy for Jupiter Pictures and there he would often clean the instruments. He was paid Rs 3 per month. MSV had more inclination towards acting than music at the time but after being taken into a troupe, he realized his inclination had shifted to music. It was in this troupe only that he met the violinist T. K. Ramamoorthy with whom he later found a musical duo in the Tamil Film Industry.
The duo worked together for over a decade and composed music for over 100 films. After that MSV worked as an independent director and was known to incorporate various music genres of the world into Indian cinema music. And although he was trained in Carnatic music, it did not stop him from venturing into every other genre and most of his compositions were light and romantic. That is where the title “The king of light music” came from.
MSV worked with all the legendary actors like Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth, and music composers like Ilayaraaja and Kannadasan and they all attested to his musical talents of being able to compose and finish a song within a day. Some of MSV’s popular compositions include; ‘Ezhu swarangalukkul, Kadhal Siragai, Malarnthum Malaraatha, Mauname Parvayal, Anbulla Manvizhiye, Sonaadhu Nee Daana, amongst others. He also worked with different film directors like S. S Vasan, C. V. Sridhar, K. Shankar, K. Balachander, K. S Gopalakrishnan, P. Madhavan, N. T. Rama Rao amongst others.
On July 14th, 2015 MSV bid farewell to this world at the age of 87 due to age-related ailments. People from various fields of life paid homage to him.
When it comes to honors and accolades, the list goes on for so long for M. S. Vishwanathan. He was awarded Kerala State Film Awards For Best Music Director in 1974, and Nandi Award For Best Music Director in 1978. He was given the Tamil Nadu State Film Honorary Award in 2002, the Seventh Kumakura Award given by the Tamil Cultural Ministry, Kalaimamani – A jewel for art – from the Government Of Tamil Nadu. He won the Gold Remi Award for Best Music Score, Paramacharya Award (The Ultimate Guru) in 2006, and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Awards – South. And these are just a couple of them we’re talking about.
On the occasion of M. S. Viswanathan’s 93rd birth anniversary, Saregama celebrates his life and his contribution to the Indian Cinema.
Now you can stream and download all your favorite MSV composition songs on Saregama Carvaan Tamil. Saregama Carvaan Tamil is a portal audio speaker that comes with 5000 evergreen Tamil Songs and Hindi songs you can listen to anytime anywhere without ad breaks or internet connection. It also has features like Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity.