S.R. Ashok Kumar
"The highest praise for me came from Sivaji Ganesan"
Malaysia Vasudevan has been in the singing profession for over 50 years now; he has worked with most of music directors and sung for several actors in the Tamil film industry. His strength lies in his versatility.
Malaysia Vasudevan talks about his early days and how he would like to encourage youngsters.
I am a soft-spoken person with lots of love. I rarely get angry and I am a contended person.
I was born and brought up in Malaysia. I started singing when I was eight. All my family members, except my mother Ammalu, were singers. But she is a wonderful critic. I first started learning music from my father Chattu and later on, my brother taught me.
After singing on stage, I joined a theatre group to act in plays. This play was made into a film that was shot in India. I came with the group to Chennai and acted in the film `Raththa Paei,' a story based on the film `Horror of Dracula'. I even sang a song for the film.
My first song was for the film `Delhi to Madras' that starred Jaishankar and Srividya. The music director was V. Kumar. This happened because of my friendship with producer Pollachi Rathnam. I joined Pavalar brothers' troupe.
During a stage performance, music director M.S. Viswanathan heard me and stated he would certainly use me for films. He first gave me a small bit in the film `Bharatha Vilas' and then gave me a song in `Thalai Prasavam'. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan made me sing in his composition in the film `Kumasthavin Magal'.
Director A.P.Nagarajan christened me Malaysia Vasudevan and the credit card showed me so.
When Ilaiyaraaja got a break in `Annakili' he wanted me to sing a song. Similarly when Bharathiraaja directed his first film `16 Vayathinile,' I sang `Aattukutti Muttai Ittu'. From then I did not look back.
Till now I have sung nearly 4,000 songs in four south Indian languages and acted in 85 films. Frankly, I never dreamt that I would be singing so many songs such as `Or Thanga rathathil' (Dharma Yudham), `Poongatru Veesuma' (Mudhal Mariyathai) and Vaanmegangale (Puthiya Vaarpugal). I was able to sing in tune with characters and artists.
The highest praise for me came from the peerless Sivaji Ganesan gave some very good remarks about the `Mudhal Mariyathai' song. That was enough for me.
I request music directors to give new young singers opportunities so that they can make good career.
My advice to youngsters: `Do hard work; it will certainly make you big'.