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Updated: April 18, 2013 10:26 IST

T. K. Ramamurthy passes away

B. Kolappan
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T.K. Ramamurthy
The Hindu
T.K. Ramamurthy

MSV and he came together in 1952; split up in 1965; scored music for 86 films

T.K. Ramamurthy, the older of the music director duo Viswanathan-Ramamurthi who revolutionised orchestration in Tamil film music and became known as ‘Mellisai Mannargal’, died here on Wednesday.

He was 92 and is survived by wife, seven daughters and four sons.

Ramamurthy was senior to MSV. In the beginning of their career, the duo was called Ramamurthy-Viswanathan and it was the comedian N.S. Krishnan who changed the order while introducing them in his film Panam. N.S. Krishnan had told MSV that as a senior Ramamurthy would always sustain him.

“They came together in 1952 and split up in 1965. They scored music for 86 films. While MSV continued to dominate the film world, Ramamurthy could not replicate the success of his former partner,” said Vamanan, Tamil film music historian and author of the book Thirai Isai Alaigal.

Born in a family of musicians, Ramamurthy was trained in classical music and gained great mastery over the violin even before he was 12. His father Krishnasamy Pillai and grand father Govindasamy Pillai were violinists and his father worked for HMV recording company.

In the book Thirai Isai Alaigal, playback singer T.M. Soundarajan was full of praise for Ramamurthy.

“He could play the 72 melakarta ragas and was an expert in setting appropriate tunes. MSV also gave him adequate space for his creativity,” TMS had said.

Both Ramamurthy and MSV were assistants of C.R. Subbaraman, the music director of HMV. Subbaraman died at the age of 28 and it was left to his assistants to complete music for the films he had agreed to score.

Ranimynthan, the biographer of MSV, said though Ramamurthy just wanted to continue as a violinist in MSV’s troupe, Mr Viswanathan had made it clear that they would together score music for film.

“The title ‘mellisai mannargal’ was conferred on them by thespian Sivaji Ganesan at a function organised by Triplicane Cultural Academy to mobilise funds for the Kasturi Srinivasan Library,” said Ranimynthan.

Mr Vamanan pointed out that the two began their journey at a time when Tamil film music was dominated by G. Ramanathan, K.V. Mahadevan, Subbaiah Naidu, T.G. Lingappa and T.R. Papa.

“They infused the Tamil film music with a whiff of fresh orchestration that immediately caught the attention of the people,” he said.

It was the duo that first set to music the songs of late Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram and their career graph touched new heights when Kannadasan joined hands with them. Yengal Dravida Ponnadey and Senthamizh Theynmozhial loudly announced their arrival in the world of film music.

Difference of opinion led to their separation in 1965 and the last film they scored music together was Aayirathil Oruvan, starring MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa. All the songs in the film were hits.

T.K. Ramamurthy worked for films such as Thaen Mazhai, Marakka Mudiyuma, Sadhu Mirandal, Madras to Pondicherry, Yengalukkum Kaalamvarum, Soapu Cheepu Kannadi, Avalukku Aayiram Kankal and Ival Oru Pournami.

The song Kaakitha Odam Kadal Alai Meethu, penned by DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, became a hit in the music of Ramamurthy.

Three decades after their split, the duo came together in 1995 and scored music for the film Yenkiruntho Vanthan. The film was a flop, while the songs made an impact.

In her condolence message, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said it was an unforgettable experience that she had acted in the film Naan and danced for the song Ammano Samiyo composed by Ramamurthy.

She also said Ramamurthy’s contribution to the song Yengay Nimmathi and his solo violin for the song kan pona pokkiley were invaluable. DMK leader M. Karunanidhi also condoled his death.

T.K.Ramamurthy Viswanathan 60 an great composed music for a few films.
may his soul rest in peace.

Posted on: Apr 17, 2013 at 21:05 IST

The melody kings M.S.Viswanathan and T.K.Ramamurthi, legends in Tamil film music came during the transition period of Tamil cinema, where long, historical and dialogue rich films gave way for social and humorous films. In 1961 when C.V. Sridhar directed and produced "Kathalikka Neramilai" he turned to this composing duo and rest is history. Music tunes were late T.K.R's forte. Although his addiction to liquor was reported to be the main reason for this pair's separation, the duo's contribution to Tamil film music is not only immense and will last for ever. In addition they worked in tandem with lyricist Kannadasan and singers T.M. Soundararajan and Mrs. P. Suseela. May his soul rest in peace.

from:  M.Padmanabhan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2013 at 18:11 IST

May the soul rest in peace. The contributions he had made for Tamil film industry along with MSV is incomparable and everlasting.

from:  K. Natarajan
Posted on: Apr 17, 2013 at 14:06 IST

He is a great legend, may his soul rest in peace.

from:  Mahesh Azhagumuthu
Posted on: Apr 17, 2013 at 11:46 IST

Veteran composer and ace violinist T K Ramamurthy's demise is a great loss to the world of light music. The Viswanathan-Ramamurthy duo were in great demand in the fifties and the sixties and their musical genius was recognised by admirers who relished their tunes for popular films. The title Mellisai Mannargal by which MSV and TKR were known was extremely well deserved.

from:  C V ARAVIND
Posted on: Apr 17, 2013 at 11:44 IST
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