He dominated Malayalam film world and composed a few immortal Tamil melodies
Music director V. Dakshinamurti, who dominated the Malayalam film world and has to his credit a handful of immortal Tamil melodies, died here on Friday. He was 92.
Known as Dakshinamurti Swami in the film world, he had a strong foundation in Carnatic music. Music maestro Ilayaraja, who had assisted Dakshinamurti in many films, is known to refer to him as his guru.
Dakshinamurti’s mastery over the raga structure often found eloquent expression in his songs. Nanda Nee En Nila, a madhuvanthi raga song, exemplifies a typical of his composition.
In Tamil, he scored music for only nine films. The songs such as Aandavan Illa Ulagam Yethu and Nallamanam Vazhga in Oru Oothapu Kan Chimitugirathu and Nanda Nee En Nila and Oru Kathal Samrajyam in Nanda En Nila continue to mesmerise the listeners.
Dakshinamurti’s exposure to music began when he was four. The lullabies his mother Parvathi Ammal used to sing for his younger sister turned out to be his first music lesson. “At the age of six, I was able to sing 27 Thyagaraja kritis,” he had said in the book Thirai Isai Alaigal, penned by Vamanan.
Later, when his father arranged a music teacher for his sister, Dakshinamurti also learnt from him. “At the age of 13, I gave a concert at the Ampalapuzha Krishnan temple,” Dakshinamurti had said.
According to Vamanan, Dakshinamurti’s family had bad times and he was forced to subsist on the offerings from the Vaikom temple. He also made a living by offering music lessons.
“He knew hundreds of kritis. Though well-versed in classical film music, he had a great understanding of the film music world,” said Mr Vamanan.
“He is the definitive patriarch of Malayalam film music,” said Malayalam lyricist Rafeeq Ahmed, who worked with Dakshinamurthi recently for an upcoming movie “Shyamaragam” — that goes into history as the master’s swansong.
For someone who nurtured Malayalam music from its infancy, Dakshinamurthi seemed to be in complete sync with at least four generations of artists. “He was so masterful a composer that he could conjure mellifluous notes from even Sanskrit-heavy verse of the great poets of his time,” said Mr. Rafeeq Ahmed
Jeevitha Nowku was his first Tamil film. It was followed by Amma, Devi, Jeeva Nadi , Oru Oothapu Kan Chimitugirathu, Nanda En Nila, Oru Koil Iru Deepangal and Jagadguru Adishankarar.
Dakshinamurti settled in Chennai in 1948 and could be seen walking on the streets bare-chested with only a towel wrapped around his shoulders.
“He was deeply spiritual and lived a very simple life. Once he told me that he wished to emaciate further and further so that he would less of a burden to his pall bearers,” recalled Vamanan.