In a class of his own


The five-CD packs released by Saregama is a treat for connoisseurs of music.

Legends A. M. Rajah
Saregama India Limited
CD (Price Rs. 1000)A. M. Rajah, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, is yet another singer who left an indelible mark in Tamil film music, with his mellifluous voice and flawless pronunciation. He made it in the 1950s when he was spotted by HMV to do two Telugu songs which were written and composed by him. Listening to them in AIR's late night programmes, S. S. Vasan (of Gemini Pictures) offered him the title song in "Samsaram." That was in 1951 and there was no turning back for A. M. Rajah. Tamil film music saw a new trend in A. M. Rajah with his soft and supple voice. Saregama's release of a five CD pack, under the title `Legends, features 95 songs consisting of solos and duets of A. M. Rajah. Jikki, a senior to A. M. Rajah (She made her debut in `Gnanasoundari.) has been featured in 33 duets in this pack. That she became his life partner during the recording of MGR's "Jenovah" is another story. A. M. Rajah and Jikki were the first South Indian pair to record a song in Mumbai for a Raj Kapoor film under the direct supervision of Raj Kapoor himself with Shanker-Jaikishan as music directors for the film "Avan". Two songs from this film find a place in the CDs.A. M. Rajah's hit songs for MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan and other actors easily earn a place in this offering. What Mukesh was for Raj Kapoor, A. M. Rajah was for Gemini Ganesan. The voice matching of both was impeccable. The strong classical music background, which Rajah acquired during his stay at Vellore, helped him render songs like `Kalaiye En Vazhkaiyin' with consummate ease. Equally well versed was he in fast paced numbers like `Aadaadha Manamum' and `Vaadikkai Marandhathu.' His slow paced duets like "Nilavum Malarum" and "Idhaya Vaanil" kindle nostalgic memories that put you into a romantic mood.

As a music director

P. Suseela's duets with A. M. Rajah are real gems and 36 such numbers have been included in the CD pack. The evergreen `Maasila Unmai Kadhaley' with P. Bhanumathi, which is still a hit in the channels of Radio and Television, is included in this collection. A rare duet with Radha and Jayalakshmi has also been added. When Sivaji Ganesan forayed into film production he cast A. M. Rajah as the music director for "Vidi Velli." A. M. Rajah's tryst with composing includes super duper hit songs from the films "Kalyana Parisu," "Aadi Perukku" and "Then Nilavu."V. BALASUBRAMANIAN