More than 50 years of Tamil cinema music, affectionately termed as ‘mellisai,' came to life at the Vijay TV Music Awards held here on Wednesday.

It was an evening of contrasts. The first-time music director and the cinematic legend, the rebellious folk number and the mellifluous Carnatic score, first-time award winners and lifetime achievers - all came together, fused by the rhythm of music.

In the 149 films that were released in 2010, 700-odd songs were composed involving more than 500 musicians. Many of them were honoured and recognised over the course of the event.

The evening got off to a moving start with veteran playback singers - P.B. Sreenivas, L.R.Eswari and Vani Jairam - being presented the ‘Isaiah Assangal' award by young, aspiring singers.

Reminiscing her formative years, Eswari said “In our times, there were no awards like this to motivate us. Only the sound of the audience's applause kept us going. The younger generation is both blessed and lucky in that regard.” Other special awards that were given included K.J. Yesudas - Evergreen voice, M.S. Viswanathan - Isai Chakravarthi, A.R.Rahman - Global Indian, and Illayaraja - Lifetime achievement.

‘Kilimanjaro' from Enthiran was adjudged the popular song of the year. Other popular awards that were determined through an audience vote included male and female playback singers, Karthik for ‘Usurae Poguthae' and Chinmayee for ‘Kilimanjaro'.

While popular song of the masses went to ‘Kadhal Vandhale' from Singam composed by Devi Sri Prasad, the popular album of the year was given to A.R. Rahman's musical Vinnaithandi Varuvaya.

Popular duet and melody awards were bagged by songs in the film ‘Paiya'. A number of ‘best in category' awards, selected by a panel of judges, were also presented. The awards included: Best music director - A.R.Rahman, Lyricist with most number of hits - Na.Muthukumar, Best song sung by an actor - Kamal Haassan for Neela Vaanam, Best sound mixing - Resul Pookutty and Co. for Enthiran, Best Male and Female singers - Vijay Prakash and Andrea Jeremiah, and Best folk song - Jilla Vittu from the film Eesan.

The ceremony was interspersed with performances. Singer Hariharan entertained the audience with some soul stirring numbers. A special fusion performance was rendered by the classical music family trio L. Subramaniyam, Kavita Krishnamurthy and their son Ambi Subramaniyam.