Kerala

The original master of melody

M.K. Arjunan

M.K. Arjunan  

Composer M.K. Arjunan, better known as Arjunan Master, turned 80 yesterday

His compositions were so good, many thought they were not his own.

They thought the songs M.K. Arjunan composed for films were tuned by G. Devarajan, the greatest music director ever in Malayalam cinema, in Indian cinema even.

The lay listener just assumed that all those melodies were created by Devarajan (there were no television channels in the 1970’s to interview composers and music directors).

Some people in cinema suspected Devarajan actually composed those songs in the name of his disciple and harmonist.

The suspicion was so strong that once a producer ensured that nobody visited Arjunan while he composed the songs for his film. He did not complain; he just came up with some evergreen melodies for that film, Pushpanjali .

The fact is, Arjunan’s music is influenced by Devarajan. Some of his songs, such as Chandra rashmithan… ( Anweshanam ) or Sindoora kiranamayi… ( Padmavyooham ), might feel as if they were tuned by the great master, though they do not bear any resemblance to any of the songs composed by Devarajan. For, Arjunan never copied Devarajan or any other composer.

He is an original. In fact, he is the last of our great, original composers.

It is for nothing he is called a master. Now that Devarajan, M.S. Baburaj, V. Dakshinamoorthy, K. Raghavan and M.S. Viswanathan are no longer with us, he is the last of the masters.

No State Award

He has not got as much recognition as he should have; he has not even got one State Film Award, though he has composed close to 700 songs, many of them among the finest ever in Malayalam.

He is not celebrated greatly, but his music is.

If you love melodies, you will love his songs. He is so gifted that he could pack in so many great songs in one film, as he did in films like Rest House ( Yadukula rathidevanevide… , Pournami chandrika …, Paadatha veenayum … and Muthilum muthaya …), Picnic ( Chandrakkala maanathu …, Kasthoori mankkunnallo… , Vaalkkannezhuthi… and Odippokum vasanthakaalame … and Padmavyooham ( Sindoora kiranamay …, Kuyilinte maninadam …, Paalaruvikkarayil … and Aadaminte santhathikal …).

He may have turned 80 on Tuesday, but he continues to create new melodies. He is now composing music for a couple of plays. It was theatre that made him a composer.

He showed that he still could conjure magic in films of recent years such as Nayika ( Nilavu pol …) and Vasanthathinte Kanalvazhikal ( Thennale …).

It is a pleasure listening to those songs at a time when melody has almost disappeared from Malayalam cinema.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 4:14:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/the-original-master-of-melody/article8302523.ece

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