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Updated: August 3, 2013 12:30 IST

Man who heard the melody of the divine

K. Santhosh
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V. Dakshinamurthy. Photo: V. Ganesan.
The Hindu
V. Dakshinamurthy. Photo: V. Ganesan.

Few composers have invoked in film songs the beauty of classical ragas as V. Dakshinamurthy did.

For G. Devarajan, using the raga in a film song was just the means and not the end. But for Dakshninamurthy, it was the means and the end. And he did it, with such depth and variety.

Even when he used the same raga in different situations, he explored its various facets. Raga Kharahapriya, for instance, reveals itself with diverse charm in ‘Uttaraswayamvaram’, ‘Ashokapoornima’ and ‘Sandhyakkenthinu’.

All his compositions bear the unmistakeable stamp of classicism. The classical influence is evident in ‘Swapnangal Swapnangale ningal’, ‘Pattu padiyurakkan njan’, Ponveyil manikkacha azhinju veenu’, Ínnale Neeyoru’, ‘Pulayanar Maniyamma’, ‘Kakkakuyile Cholloo’, ‘Harshabashpam Thooki’, ‘Çhitrasilapalikal’, ‘Oonjala’, ‘Çhandrikayil Aliyunnu’, and ‘Kattile pazhmulam’.

Malayalis lapped up the compositions of the Dakshinamurthy-Sreekumaran Thampi duo just as they did those of Vayalar Rama Varma-G. Devarajan or P. Bhaskaran-Baburaj associations. The song, ‘Vaikathashami’, is specially remembered, as both Dakshimurthy and Thampi have a connection with Vaikom.

Though he started composing in the 1950s after training to be an able concert singer, Dakshinamurthy was never shy of experimenting and adapting to changes in the industry.

“Styles, methods, and practices may change. The backing or the orchestral arrangements may change. The tanpura has given way to vibraphone and the guitars. Now, they have the warm pads. But the basics of music never change. A melody is a melody is a melody. Old or new,” he told this writer in an interview.

He was a colossus whose genius brightened up the career of many generations of singers. Dakshinamurthy scored for Augustin Joseph for ‘Nallathanka’, his son K. J. Jesudas for countless films, and Jesudas’ son for the film ‘Poomukhappadiyil Ninneym Kathu’.

Music-lovers always wondered why he bade goodbye to composing for films. Brief was his reply: “Because my inner voice asked me to.” After the film ‘Idanazhiyil Oru Kalocha’, there was a long gap in his career. ‘Vathilpazhuthiloodenmunpil’, a song in the film, had the line, ‘Athilolamen idanaziyil nin kala madhuramam kalocha kettu’. On hearing the words, he felt he was hearing God’s footsteps. He later scored for a film, ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’. Again, the word, ‘Sakshi’, made him feel that the divine was witnessing everything in his life.

The man who witnessed all the major developments in Malayalam film music tuned himself more to the ethereal and started seeing the melody of the divine in everything in life.


Dakshinamurti passes awayAugust 3, 2013

Musical ColossusAugust 1, 2013

More In: Kerala | National

It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Swamy made Malayalam films more celestial with the blend of enchanting music he had composed songs that were at par with masterpiece Keerthanas under the same ragas carried forward from times gone by. Demise of Shri. V. Dakshinamoorthy is a colossal loss to all of us and our cinema field in particular. Let us pray almighty rest in peace for his soul.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 14:21 IST

Probably his influence had rather prevented the invasion of unruly, raucous and rustic music from other parts of the globe in Malayalam films while the rock taps to sub genres Jazzrock and to the latest fusion subgenres like poprock, raprock and rapmetal, garagerocks, postpunk, synthpop revivals are getting impinged into our films to mesmerize youngsters who blindly go behind popular music in the outside world. Fortunately Malayalam film music still upholds the unadulterated and soulful music of our nation with a thrust for notes of carnatic music, the foundation of music of the universe.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 14:20 IST

Swamy was a pioneer in the usage of the unpolluted essence of carnatic music in film songs with its real value of intonation correlating to the scenes picturised in films as per the demanding needs of the script. He could make beautiful songs during the era of composing music based of the lyrics of impulsive poems written by great poets like Vayalar Rama Varma and P. Baskaran. he had set scores for many poetic songs penned by Sreekumaran Thampi, a filmmaker, script writer, lyricist and Director.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 14:20 IST

Dasettan had attributed the triumph of high quality semiclassical and melodious songs rendered by him solely for the dedicated training imparted by Swamy to sing cent percent perfectly and adhering to parameters prescribed under the carnatic music. Swamy had the skill to compose any type of songs enjoyable to audience, whether laymen or buffs of classical music.The legendary Musician and Music Director was in the limelight of the beautiful arena of Malayalam Films and had carved a niche for Shudha Sangeetham with no compromise on required melody and purity that is expected to convey the emotion of the character for whom the song was assimilated in a movie. His departure had made the film industry poorer at this time when pure Indian music had already gone with the wind of western rap music and all wretched music thrown out from East and West!

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 14:19 IST

Dakshinamoorthy, the 'Swamy' for everyone in the film industry and outside world. He could groom into a connoisseur on Carnatic Music at a very young age and did music direction for seven decades in many languages, mainly in Malayalam.He was the Guru for many singers and Music Directors in two generations.from the famous P.Leela to P.Susheela, Kalyani Menon, Illayaraja, R.K.Sekar (Father of A.R.Rahman), K.J.Yesudas etc. He was the then debutant Music Director for the film Nalla Thanga where in the hero Shri. Augustine Joseph, none other than the father of K.J.Yesudas, the Ganagandharvan and beloved Dasettan to one and all who love music, himself had sung for his depicted role. Swamy became the first Music Director to introduce singers of three generation from a same family. This rare treat of achievement relates to introducing the even the grandson of the late Auguestine Bagavathar as he could bring Vijay Yesudas, son of Dasettan to sing for the celluloid.

from:  Madan Menon Thottasseri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 14:18 IST
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