Artists remember TKR’s awesome talent and fine qualities.

Composers and singers paid rich tributes to T.K. Ramamurthi, who passed away on Wednesday last. The famous MSV-TKR combination accounts for 700 songs, each immortal in its own way, favourites of lakhs of fans spread across the globe. C.R. Subbarman’s demise had created a void and MSV suggested to TKR that they join hands a la Shankar-Jaikishen of the North. TKR obliged and how the move worked!

Ganesh of the Shankar-Ganesh duo, who joined the pair in 1962, marvels at the rapport the two shared. “It was uncanny. When MSV played ‘Paal Irukkum’ on his harmonium, TKR would instantly respond with ‘Pazham Irukkum’ on his violin. ‘Naan Pesa Ninaippadhellaam…’ (harmonium) would be followed by ‘Nee Pesa Vendum’ (violin).

“It was a treat to watch them at re-recording too, both sharing the same wavelength, not a note out of place. They created a record of sorts by roping in Tiruchi Loganathan, Sirkazhi Govindarajan, PBS and TMS for the song ‘Aarodum Mannil Engum Neerodum’ (Pazhani) and fielded the same quartet for ‘Mazhai Kodukkum Kodaiyum’ (Karnan). Naushad was so spellbound by their composition that he instantly honoured them.

I still cannot forget the song recording of ‘Andha Naal Mudhal Indha Naal Varai’ (Paava Mannippu). Bombay sound engineer Mukhul Bose was on the job. The recording theatre could not accommodate so many musicians and an entire shooting floor was additionally used to and the song was recorded with parallel cable wire.

“With his majestic bowing style and lightning finger movements, he could play anything – Western, Carnatic, classical or folk – with absolute ease. When other violinists, including myself, would take hours to get the notes perfect, TKR would do it effortlessly. He had such awesome talent,” observes veteran Malayalam music director Shyam, who was second in command to TKR. He joined the duo in 1955 during ‘Pathi Bakthi’s’ re-recording. He played solo for all the ‘PAA’ series and conducted the orchestra in the absence of Clarionet Sriram. He remembers him as a strict disciplinarian and perfectionist. “I also played for all the films for which he composed music. I cannot forget the day he invited me to his house and presented me an imported bow. We met three months ago at the meeting of the Indian Performing Rights Society, of which I’m a director. The annual royalty was handed over to composers and lyricists on the occasion.

L.R. Easwari was in the duo’s chorus since 1958 and the first opportunity to show her individuality came in 1961 in the form of ‘Vaarai En Thozhi Vaarayo,’ (Paasamalar). The playback singer who rendered many hits for the pair and for TKR describes him as a fine human being, who could not think ill of anyone, totally dedicated to his profession. She makes special mention of Naan’s songs that included the famous ‘Ammano Saamiyo’ and ‘Vandhaal Ennodu…’

“It may be a cliché, but for me and I’m sure many will agree with me, he may have gone from our midst but his music is immortal, each song indelible in the history of film music.”

Keywords: T.K. RamamurthiTKR