Music

In nostalgic domain

Sheer passion for M.S. Viswanathan's music has brought fans from all over the world under one umbrella to cherish, preserve and pass on as a legacy. Members of msvtimes.com who got together for the fourth anniversary of the website at the Infosys Hall, in T. Nagar, Chennai, on Saturday last, do just that.

The assemblage once again proved that composers may come and go but the melody maestro will live on forever. Similar thoughts were voiced by Lakshmanan Chettiar of Tamizh Isai Sangam, (Mellisai Mannar's show has been a constant at the annual music festival of the Sangam for several years now.) who shared the dais with MSV, the chief guest, and S. Philip, the ace guitarist in his orchestra in its heyday, who was feted that evening. (The guitar bits that stand out in several of MSV's hits including the memorable ‘Avalukkena …' number in ‘Server Sundaram' are Philip's.)

Besides Philip, R. Govardhanam, MSV's assistant for nearly 150 films, and a composer in his own right, was chosen for a citation, purse and memento. Unfortunately he couldn't make it to the podium that evening and Salem Ganesh, an ardent MSV devotee who interacts with Govardhanam regularly, accepted the felicitation on his behalf. “Theirs is almost a 60-year association,” he said. Govardhanam's individual music forays, such as ‘Kairasi' and ‘Pattanathil Boodham,' also remain evergreen.

“I'm grateful to MSV for the kind of opportunities he gave me,” began Philip with a smile. “I can't get a composer like him,” he added amidst applause. “He gave me freedom to innovate and would appreciate me wholeheartedly.”

Lakshmanan Chettiar's recollections of MSV's struggling days and the diligence with which the wizard worked his way to the top was lapped up by the awe-struck audience. He narrated that when MSV was to make his debut, MGR wasn't too keen about the choice. But when he listened to the numbers he went all the way to Mandaiveli where MSV and four others lived under a thatched roof on a terrace and hugged him for the output!

Lauding his musicians

The composer accepted the eulogy with characteristic humility. And for his part he went back in time to dwell on the impact that songs such as ‘Paalirukkum … Pazhamirukkum' (‘Paava Mannippu') created. “My musicians were an industrious lot. It's because of them that I garnered fame. Remuneration was secondary. My satisfaction about their performance was primary!” MSV said. He recalled the day when shehnai player Sathyam went home one evening without receiving his payment. “His wife called me up in the middle of the night. ‘My husband is visibly upset and refuses to eat or sleep. What happened at the recording studio today,' she asked. I told her to give the receiver to him and pacified him. I hadn't been too happy with his playing and had ticked him off a little that morning,” MSV remembered.

His rapport with singers and musicians was exemplified further when Vani Jairam entered. She had just flown down from Hyderabad and had rushed to the hall for the event. Her 45-minute medley of MSV hits cast a spell on the hall. Vani's blemishless strains will linger in the minds of listeners for years to come! And the best part is that most of the time she didn't need the lyrics. “He shouldn't accept anything less than a Dadasaheb Phalke,” she said, as the crowd nodded in assent.

Kudos to Sreedhar's Navrags, which had chosen some of the best MSV songs rarely heard on the stage circuit, and presented them with aplomb.

“Songs should only be described as good or bad. If they are worthless forget them. Deserving ones will live on. But don't refer to them as old or new,” MSV exhorted. Profound words indeed!

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2020 12:32:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/In-nostalgic-domain/article15517958.ece

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