Describing them as fans may not be apt – devotees would be more like it. It was an assemblage of aficionados at the Infosys Hall in T. Nagar, Chennai, on Sunday last, where Mudhra presented ‘Mellisai Mannar’ M.S. Viswanathan with the Geethamudhra Award, a citation, a medallion and a purse of Rs.25000. MSV, a picture of humility as always, received the honour amidst standing ovation from the crowd that went into raptures. Very rightly, Mudhra called it ‘Andrum Indrum Endrum MSV.’
Sridhar’s Navaraags came out with scintillating melodies of the music legend -- melodies that have transcended time and scaled the zenith of eternity! Seamlessly melding with the harmony, every MSV song is a scintillating treat that continues to enthral! “Irakkum Manidhargal Irava Paadalgal,” MSV mentioned in typical style, while describing the timelessness of music, in his acceptance speech – the words are apt for his melodies in particular. A host of singers presented the phenomenon’s everlasting compositions and most of the time Navaraags’s effort was commendable. Every offering from singers Kovai Murali, Jayashri, Nataraj, Bala and C.A. Raja was an aural treat. Glitches there were, but the all pervading beauty of the songs made you forget them.
When Dr. S. Jagathrakshagan, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, said, “Kannadasan’s verses and MSV’s songs have always made me emotional. Even the three numbers I listened to now brought tears to my eyes. The impact has been the same all through these years,” he echoed the feelings of many in the hall.
After a recording that went on till the wee hours of the morning, the composer came home and hit the sack to catch some sleep before he left for the next recording at 7. When he woke up and rushed to the studio it was 9. But by then Kannadasan, who was to provide the lyric, had left leaving a sheet of paper behind. On it were the lines to be tuned – ‘Avanukkenna Thoongi Vittaan Agapattavan Naan Allava’ – a dig at the composer for having overslept! This and a couple of other anecdotes from MSV’s life, which Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetti narrated, were enlivening.
But Thenkasi Ganesan, the anchor of the evening, had come armed with a plethora of information about MSV, and as A. Natarajan jokingly said, left little unsaid for other speakers to dwell on. ‘Sangeetha Kaviri’ was how Natarajan referred to the legend.
The hall was dotted with luminaries such as writer Balakumaran and singers P.B. Srinivos and Vani Jairam. Vani is a regular at meets organised in MSV’s honour. “I see to it I’m there. Can’t afford to miss occasions involving him,” she told me. On the dais Vani stood apart when she sang a couple of lines from a few of the songs she had rendered under MSV’s music direction. The magic of the medley will linger in our ears for long!
Speakers at every podium that honours MSV have cried themselves hoarse about the gross injustice of the State and the Centre in not honouring a living legend. It happened at the ‘Andrum Indrum …’ show too. Frankly, the veteran has risen above awards. Even if the Government wakes up to the wrong they have continued to commit for long, and rights it now, it will only be a case of too little too late! “When my music stirs you all till today, what other recognition do I need? Fete young musicians and I’ll bless them with all my heart. I mean it. With a mike in my hands I can never lie,” said MSV. The words show the magnanimity of the genius and the apathy of those in power!