Since a lot has been written on her classical brilliance, I just would like to share some of the wonderful solos and duets MLV exclusively sung for movies. At one point of time, she was considered the voice for Padmini, while for Savithri it was P Leela. Later, P. Susheela replaced all with her dulcet voice as film songs veered more towards lighter side.
Not just neighbours, Padmini and MLV shared a wonderful bonhomie. A movie featuring Padmini almost always had dance. A trained classical dancer, she would dance to songs set to ragas. So we have ‘Aadaatha manamum’ (Mannathi Mannan), ‘Aadal kaneero’ (Madurai Veeran), ‘Parkadal Alai mele’ (Raja Desingh), ‘Aadum Aruljothi’ (Meenda Sorgam), ‘Athisayam ivanathu’ (Vikramathithan) and all those well-known numbes like ‘Ellam Inbamayam’ with P. Leela and ‘Paaviyinum padupavi’ (Manamagal), ‘Varuvai manamohana’ (Inspector), ‘Chinninjiru kiliye’ with V.N. Sundaram, ‘Manjal veyyil malayile’ with C.S. Jayaraman (Kaveri).
MLV’s playback for dance songs featuring others such as T.R. Rajakumari in ‘Thangappadumai’ (Varugiral unnaithedi), ‘Kadhavai saathadi’ (Rathakanneer), ‘Thaye yasoda’ (Kuladeivam) and ‘Anthi mayanguthadi’ (Parthiban Kanavu) for Kamala Laxman and ‘Gopalanodu naan’ (Vazhkai) for Vyjayanthimala are equally classical and popular.
Her duets with MKT were special — ‘Ingumangum Engum’ and ‘Enna aanandam’ in ‘Raja Mukti.’ Among her soul-stirring songs are ‘Kovil muzhudum kanden’, ‘Thiranda koottai,’ ‘Kathayai kelada’ (Thai Ullam and Manamagal). Among her breezy numbers the memorable ones are ‘Ayyasami’ (Or Iravu) and ‘Konjum puravae’ (Thai Ullam), notwithstanding the fact that both tunes were lifted from Hindi (‘Gori gori’ and ‘Tandi hawayen’). ‘Aha ha manaiviyaaven’ (Rajambal) with a Western touch belongs to the rollicking genre.
A miscellany of catchy numbers would be ‘Imayamali charalile’ (Manithanum Mirugamum), ‘Inge iruppatha,’ ‘Kanna va manivanna’ (Maamiyar Mechiya Marumagal), ‘Kulakkodi thazhaikka’ (Raja Mukthi), ‘Vellai thamari poovil’ (Thai Ullam), ‘Kuyile unakkananthakoti’ (Manithan) from different movies.